Game Industry Development Processes
Fall 20111 Course Syllabus

The information presented in this syllabus is subject to expansion, change, or adjustment during the quarter.


Name: Christopher A. Egert
Office: Bldg. 70, Room 2005
475 - 4873
caeics (*at*) rit.edu

Office Hours:

Office hours are by appointment

Course Text and Materials

Required Texts

    • Secrets of the Game Business, 2nd Ed., Francois Dominic Laramee, ISBN: 1584503998, Charles River Media (Amazon link)
    • Game Development Essentials: Game Project Management, John Hight and Jeannie Novak, ISBN: 1418015415, Cengage Inc. (Amazon link)
    • Game Architecture and Design, Andrew Rollings and Dave Morris, ISBN: 0735713634, New Riders (Amazon link)

Optional Texts

    • Game Design: Theory and Practice, 2nd Ed., Richard Rouse, ISBN: 1556229127, Wordware Publishing, Inc. (Amazon link)
    • Game Level Design, Ed Byrne, ISBN: 1584503696, Charles River Media (Amazon Link)

Additional Materials

    • Readings as assigned (provided as handouts or URLs).

Important RIT Deadlines

Last day of add/drop is Sunday, September 11, 2011. Last day to withdraw with a grade of "W" is Friday, October 28, 2011. The deadline for withdrawing from a course with a W grade is the end of the 8th week of the quarter. The withdraw process must be completed online before the deadline.

NOTE: IGM school policy states that a student has one quarter to challenge any grade. After that, grades cannot be challenged.

Course Description

This course examines the individual and group roles of the development process model within game design and development industry. Students will transform design document specifications into software and hardware needs for developers, testers, and end users. Students will examine team dynamics and processes for programming, content development, testing, deployment, and maintenance. Students will explore design process through the deconstruction of the game industry's software cycle mode.

Prerequisite Courses

Graduate standing in Interactive Games and Media and enrollment in the Game Design and Development MS degree.

Course Goals and Objectives

General Course Goals
The primary goal of this course is to familiarize students with the development processes used by the gaming industry when developing a leading entertainment title. Students will examine all phases of the development pipeline, using as a basis the industry standard design document. Students will translate user needs to both software and hardware requirements and will examine the cadre of software packages and hardware systems needed for design, development, testing, and maintenance of game systems. Furthermore, students will examine the process models employed by the game industry for developing game engines, tools, and content. Students will also explore the team process, examining different ways in which diverse groups work together to create game technologies. By the end of the course, students will also be able to analyze and determine potential roles in the game development life-cycle employed throughout the industry.

Specific Objectives (Learning Outcomes)
By the end of the course, students should be able to:

Describe individual and group roles in the game development process model.

Describe the software lifecycle and software design options for video game development

Design and implement modular, reusable, game components using scalable, object-oriented strategies.

Perform video game conceptualization resulting in an elevator pitch and game concept one sheet.

Refine a game concept into a game treatment document and create a greenlight pitch for the game.

Review a game treatment document and extract software and hardware requirements.

Based on a game treatment document, begin building a game design document (GDD).

Develop a functional specification and technical design document that implement an existing GDD.

Create a test plan to assess the success of the development process.

Create a development plan based on the GDD and TDD for a gray box prototype of gameplay.

Develop a demo or gray box prototype of gameplay based on the GDD and TDD.

Write documentation that articulates the goals and justifies the design decisions made in the development of the gray box prototype.

All items assessed through written documentation, discussion, and presentations throughout the quarter.

Prerequisite Skills
1. Design and implement object-oriented programs at a graduate skill level.
2. Understand and describe potential game components and evaluate them in light of a coherent game design.
3. Utilize digital imaging software (e.g. Photoshop, etc.) to create programmer art for a gray box prototype.
4. Identify and implement basic principles of game design and software design.
5. Understanding of basic software test planning and quality assurance.
6. Have the desire to do something innovative and creative.

Role of this course in the Game Design and Development curriculum

• This course is part of the common seminar series in the Game Design and Development Master’s degree program and is required for all students in the program.

Course Organization

This course requires a single major project that will be broken across several milestones. The project will begin with an individually assigned game concept pitch and one-sheet, and will culminate with game design document, a technical design document, and a gray box prototype. You will be responsible for planning, requirements analysis, test planning and implementation of all phases of the prototype. Your gray box prototype will be graded on its technical, creative and entertainment merits as it would be reviewed in the game industry.

The review of this project sets a very high bar for success, therefore, the project will be very effort-intensive and time-consuming, so plan to get started early and work long hours!

In-class Presentations
You will be given several tasks that culminate in in-class presentations. Topics will be determined in class, and may include technical design, software engineering, process oriented topics, game design, test planning, leadership, team building, etc., but will be relevant to your assigned project.

Two exams will be given in which you may demonstrate your mastery of the course material. Both exams will be cumulative, and both exams may include short answer with a couple of "application" questions and/or may include take-home questions that will represent a significant time requirement.

Participation & Creativity
As graduate students, you are expected to participate and to be creative in the classroom and on assignments. Your creativity will be assessed on all grade measures and your participation in rounds and in the classroom will impact your grades.

Late Assignment Policy
Due dates and times will be clearly marked on each assignment and late assignments will not be accepted.


The grading scale used along with the grading criteria is as follows:

Component Weight
Projects 60
Exams 30
Participation and Creativity 10
Range Grade
>= 90.0% A
>= 80.0% & < 90% B
>= 70.0 % & < 80.0% C
>= 60.0 % & < 70.0% D
< 60.0% F

Course Schedule (Approximate - will change throughout the quarter!)
  1. Week 1
    1. Introduction to course
    2. Instinct
    3. Rose colored glasses need not apply
    4. The real secrets of the game industry
    5. Game development review
    6. Brainstorming review
    7. Game design review
    8. Game concept one sheet and elevator pitch assigned
    9. Reading Assigned: SGB 1.1, 1.3, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 4.3; GAD 1, 2, 3, 9, 10; GPM 2
  2. Week 2
    1. Elevator pitches (one sheets due night before class at 11:59pm)
    2. Greenlight teams established
    3. How to pitch review
    4. How to sell your ideas
    5. How to win friends and influence people
    6. Vick's Interaction Hierarchy
    7. Game development teams
    8. Game treatment document (GTD) and greenlight pitch assigned
    9. Reading Assigned: SGB 3.1, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.7; GAD 4, 5, 6, 7; GPM 3, 7
  3. Week 3
    1. Greenlight pitch (GTDs due night before class at 11:59pm)
    2. Game Design Document (GDD) team(s) selected
    3. Gameplay review
    4. Game development lifecycle
    5. Production pipeline
    6. Managing teams
    7. GDD assigned
    8. Reading Assigned: GAD 11, 12, 13; GPM 6
  4. Week 4
    1. Managing development
    2. Scheduling
    3. Requirements analysis
    4. Budgeting
  5. Week 5
    1. EXAM 1 WEEK (if take home, will be due on day of class at 11:59pm)
    2. Reading Assigned: GAD 16, 17, 18, 19, 20
  6. Week 6
    1. GDD draft 1 due night before class at 11:59pm
    2. Development processes
    3. High Level Architecture (HLA)
    4. Technical design vs. Game design
    5. Game architectures (technology) and components
    6. HLA assigned
    7. Reading Assigned: GAD 21, 22, 23; GPM 9
  7. Week 7
    1. HLA due night before class at 11:59pm
    2. TDD and Graybox prototype (GBP) assigned
    3. FREE SKATE!
  8. Week 8
    1. TDD draft 1 due night before class at 11:59pm
    2. GBP project plan due night before class at 11:59pm
    3. GBP iteration 1 assigned
    4. FREE SKATE!
  9. Week 9
    1. Iteration 1 of GBP demo in class (package submission due at end of class)
    2. Final GBP iteration assigned
  10. Week 10
    1. EXAM 2 WEEK (if take home will be due on the day of class at 11:59pm)
  11. Week 11
    1. Final iteration of GBP demo
    2. Updated GDD, TDD and project plan due

Academic dishonesty is misrepresenting someone else's work as your own. Academic dishonesty is a serious matter, and can result in an automatic F for the course. Please review the IGM school policy on cheating. If, during the quarter, you ever have any questions about what does or does not constitute academic dishonesty, please come and talk to me.


Any or all of the previous information is subject to change or adjustment during the quarter.

bunny by Asa Tse turtle by Asa Tse flowers by Asa Tse psp guy by Asa Tse blow fish by Asa Tse shapes to cat by Asa Tse dinosaur by Asa Tse cute girl by Asa Tse bee by Asa Tse frog by Asa Tse dog by Asa Tse cat by Asa Tse canvas face by Asa Tse duck face by Asa Tse