DIGM/CS 671&672: Graduate Gaming I & 2


Monday 12:00PM Ė 2:50PM

Prof. Paul Diefenbach

Office Hours: TBD

Emergency Phone : 215.514.1386



Course Description


This two-course sequence investigates research issues in gaming including modeling, animation, storytelling, programming, and user interface design for various markets, devices, and purposes. Students will work in teams to research, plan, and implement an area of gaming that contributes to expanding the knowledge-base of the field. Students will learn how the individual skills of modeling, animation, storytelling, programming, user interface design, etc. are coordinated to produce interactive media experiences for various markets, devices, and purposes.This course will teach the role of the executive producer and the development team in taking a game from concept to design document to production.Students will work in small teams to research, plan, and implement a pre-production effort which will be go into production in the follow-on course.



Classes will be a combination of presentations, class discussions, individual and group assignments, and lab. Class participation is an important part of your evaluation and
grade. In addition, students will be required to work in teams outside of class in the computer labs, doing research online and in books and journals, and hands-on exposure
to various video games. Students will chose a research topic, and develop a proof-of-concept game in this area. Students will also investigate public submission of this research area through either publication or display or contest. A research paper on the project is a required submission at the end of Gaming II. Students will work in groups throughout the term. Team members will alternate with the presentations, and each team member will present twice during the term. Students will have various opportunities to give feedback on the class as well as their concerns and comments throughout the term. Students will have various opportunities to give feedback on the class as well as their concerns and comments throughout the term.


Special guest lecturers from industry may also give presentations during the term.


You are expected to attend all classes.Class participation is an important part of your grade.  Missing 3 classes results in automatic failure.  If a student must miss class, it is the student's responsibility to contact me by phone the day prior to the missed class.  Students will also be responsible for getting missed notes from the other students.  


Course Requirements

Grading Policy/Rubrics

Grades will be based on several criteria detailed in the weekly adgenda.


Class participation will be graded on how well the student contributes to class discussions, contributes his or her own ideas and thoughts, and demonstrates keeping up with the assigned material.A student that demonstrates an eagerness to participate and shows some thought and preparation behind their comments will have no trouble achieving an A for this part of their grade.A student who only occasionally contributes and often rehashes ideas or shows a general lack of understanding of the homework topics can hope for a C. Unexcused absences lower your grade. Three absences results in failure.


The Design Documents and Demo will be judged as an External Producer would judge it: based on its salability for moving into production.For this, the more features, assets, look and feel, story and backstory, and gameplay aspects that can be demonstrated in a cohesive manner, the better the grade.A team which supplies these components yet does not generate a clear picture of what the production game would entail can only hope for a B or C.A team which gives a clear picture of what the final game would be and has added originality in concept, assets, or implementation will receive an A grade.Students can not simply rely on an existing gameís level builder features and expect to receive a good grade.


You get grades each week, therefore you must not try to cram the bulk of the work in at the end of the term.



Copying text, artwork, models, or animations without credit, whether copyrighted or made freely available on the web, is considered plagiarism for the purposes of this class (as it is in industry) and is forbidden.One illegal asset can open an employer up to litigation.


Having another student perform your tasks for you is considered cheating.Group evaluations, class participation, and project debriefings are a very effective means of determining this type of cheating, so do not cheat.


Cheating will result in at minimum a failing of the assignment and an automatic decrease of one letter grade for your final grade, and may result in your failing the course.Cheating and plagiarism are often done not due to sinister intentions, but because of laziness, fear, lack of preparation, overloaded schedule, or other reasons.If you are having a problem in class and are fearful that your grade may suffer, please, please come talk to me about it rather than attempting some shortcut.I am always eager to try to help, and I do not want to have to fail anyone.



Week (%Grade)





  • Introduction [15 min]
  • What is a game?
  • Research Topics



  • What makes a bad game?




  • Expanded Elevator pitch [2 min x 2] (2%)
  • 1st Scrum presentation [5 min x 2] (2%)]

  • Parameter setting/gameplay testing [20 min]
  • Software release life cycle [10 min]
  • Lab


  • 1st GDD draft (5%)
    • Concept Artwork
    • Initial Primary Artwork template (2 characters, 1 environment)
    • Gantt chart
    • Team organization/roles
  • 1st Sell presentation [15 min x 2) (5%)
  • Play testing [15 min]
  • Reporting [10 min]
  • Review [15 min x 2)



  • TBA
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  • Final presentation – [15 min x 2] [10 min]
  • TBA




  • Gold packaging/DVD (5%)
  • Final presentation (5%)
  • Final GDD (5%)
  • TBA


Perforce Links:

P4V Perforce Client

Perforce + Unity Tutorial


Unity Links:

Unity Documentation

Unity Answers


Unreal Links:

UDK Docs

Unreal Tutorials Created by Drexel MS graduate David Lally:

Unreal Wiki