This is a tentative schedule and subject to change.

Note: Some of the class readings and tutorials below have been gleaned from a variety of gaming and gaming-related courses, most notably CMU's ETC Game Design course, UCSC's gaming track courses, Brown's Computer Animation course, Jason Leigh’s and Mark Tulewicz’s Videogame course etc.

Please check the table below well in advance to keep track of due readings, assignments etc.

In the table below:

* assignments: reading comments need to be entered before 11:59pm the day before class

Please access all readings and assignments through your UIC google account, due to distribution restrictions.

Discussion Leading schedule




Assignments (due)

Additional Materials





Class Mechanics

Intro to Game Design 

Unity3D and Blender intro

Spriter Tutorial

Assignment 1 out (Intro to Unity)


Grading Rubrics

Install Unity3D, Blender and (optional) Spriter on your machine


Game Ideas: Techniques for the IDEABASE

The Game Idea: Brainstorming Exercise

Formal Elements I (Players, Objectives)

Exercise 1: Identify Players and Objectives

Exercise 2: List your favorite 10 games, and write down the main objective; count the top objective and meet the other folks with similar interests

Assignment 2 out (Idea Tree and Idea Base)

Hendrick: Hiring Game Designers

Birdwell: The Cabal

reading comments due


Demo Assignment 1 (portfolio)

Formal Elements II (Procedures, Rules, Resources, Conflict)

In class exercise E02

Take-home E03 and E04 (see slides and Piazza)

Exercise 05: Brainstorm for a single-player, single-level, simple mechanics game. Plan a pitch for next class, where you’ll spell out the full mechanics.


Luban: Turning a linear story into a game

(make sure you read all three pages)

Shigeru Miyamoto: look him up in the textbook index and read the excerpts related to him.

Reading comments due

Asgn 1 due

Personal background (due on Piazza coming Mon@11:59pm)

Assignment 2 part 1 due 09/17


Dramatic Elements

Warm-up Game Pitches: Deliver a 5-minute pitch for the simple mechanics, single-player, single-level game you brainstormed as a group last week. The pitch needs to spell out, fully, the game mechanics.

Assignment 3 out

Mechner: Story-based Games

Jonathan Blow on The Witness

Will Wright: look him up in the textbook index and read the excerpts related to him.

Reading comments due

Asgn 2 due

E03 Outcomes exercise due

E04 Papers, Please exercise due

Class pitch for simple game due



Prototyping Games

Assignment 3 presentations

Assignment 4 out 

How to Prototype a Game in 7 Days

Designing Myst

Sid Meier: look him up in the textbook index and read the excerpts related to him.

Reading comments due

Asgn 3 due


CAVE2 and VIVE tour (Prof. Marai out for professional duty)

Unity3D in the CAVE 

In class exercise: port your Asgn 3 to the CAVE2 and demo

read the Project checkpoints (no comments due)

Git pages for CAVE2 Unity





Game Pitches (prototype and idea)

Vote and make teams

Assignment 5 (Team Pitches) out


Asgn 4 due; send slides to i426@cs before class.


Assignment 5: Team game pitches due

Team structure and dynamics; The design document; Project Management 

Colors Exercise

Assignment 6 (Design Document, Tools and Sw Prototype) out

Geek Communication Styles

Joel Spolsky: Painless Bug Tracking

The Joel Test

Reading comments due

Asgn 5 Group pitch due in class; send slides to i426@cs before class.

Git tutorial beginners

Critique Form

Style under stress test


Level Design and Puzzles

AI for games

Assignment 7: Level Design and AI out

Luban: Puzzles in

Action-Adventure Games

Kim: What Is a Puzzle?

De Jong: The Whys and Hows of Level Design

Reading comments due

Assignment 6 due in class





Assignment 7 (and implicitly Project Checkpoint) due in class

Intro CG: Geometry, Scenegraphs 

Game Physics

Assignment 8: Physics out

Adams: The Role of Architecture in Videogames

Machinarium Design interview

Gary Gygax: look him up in the textbook index and read the excerpts related to him.

Reading comments due

Assignment 7 due in class (please remember to post the sketch, explanation and bullet list of elements as well)

Unity 3D Physics Tutorial

Unity3D Mecanim Tutorials



Assignment 8 demos

Intro CG II: Camera, Lights, Textures, Billboards

Networking for games

Playtesting; Let’s Hire a Writer

Assignment 9: Networking, Lights and Writers out

Dalmau: Learn Faster to Play Better

Magic The Gathering: Playtesting (focus on pages 8-9 and on)

Machinarium Sound Interview

Reading comments due

Assignment 8 due in class


Alpha release

Playtesting (cont’d)

Shaders; Lighting

Assignment 10: Shaders, Sound and Beta Release out

Ambinder: Playtesting at Valve

Adams: The Fundamentals of Game Design Ch.11(pdf) 

Reading comments due

Assignment 9 due in class


No class (Thxgv)


Beta release

Gaming Industry; Getting a job;

Assignment 11: Feedback out 

Gamasutra Salary Survey

IGDA Demographics Report

Thomson: The Minecraft Generation (it’s reasonably uplifting and a good capstone)

Assignment 10 due

Beta review form


Public demos

Assignment 11 due

Public release due in class (see 11/30 slides)

Completed Design Document and Personal evaluation due by 12/07 11:59pm

Exam week

Study for your other exams! :-)