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VR Game Design & Development Class

The Aesthetics of Play Homework

In class, one of your classmates presented a video on the Aesthetics of Play. For each one (listed below) please come up with one game you know that delivers on that aesthetic. Then explain why that game delivers on that aesthetic in 1-3 sentences. Descriptions cannot just be “because it uses X,” explain yourself fully. In the end you should have 9 bullet points with a game and sentences for each bullet point.

If you want more of an explanation on any of them, you can check out the Extra Credits video linked below.

Note: You may not use any of the examples either of the videos use.

Aesthetics of Play

  • Sense pleasure
  • Fantasy
  • Narrative
  • Challenge
  • Fellowship
  • Competition
  • Discovery
  • Expression
  • Abnegation
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VR Game Design & Development Class

Pre-Development Homework

Watch this video and learn about why it’s so important to plan before you begin you start building your game.

Then, think of a game you played that disappointed you in some way:
  • unclear instructions
  • bad pay-off at the end of the story
  • confusing mechanics introduced at the end of the game
Name the game, and talk about what this disappointment was. Then suggest how this could have been fixed in the pre-development phase.
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VR Game Design & Development Class

Remember Last Semester?

(Honors refresher assignment.)

Welcome back! It’s time to see if you guys remember anything you learned from last semester! And the best way to show you know something is to teach it! Right? At least I hope that’s what professional game designers think when they see me…

Anyway, select an intro topic all the students in the regular section of the class will need to know and teach it to them. The topics are:

  • Design
    • Elevator Pitches
    • Aesthetics of play
  •  Development
    • Unreal Basics (moving objects, making blueprints, etc.)
    • Prototyping 3D models in unreal
    • Collisions
    • Intro to AI
  • Visual Art
    • Color Theory
    • 3D modeling in blender

You can lecture, do a power point presentation, make a video/animation, or anything else! Cover the topic at sufficient depth, but don’t take more than 20 minutes.

Rough drafts are due on Tuesday (nothing to submit, but we’ll go over them together) and you’ll start presenting on Thursday (although not all of you will go that day).

And have fun with this!

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VR Game Design & Development Class

Bartle’s Taxonomy Homework

Pick a game you like and classify what type of player you are according to Bartle’s Taxonomy. Explain why in 2-3 sentences.

If you want a more detailed explanation than what we went over in class, please check out the video below.

Branch about Gamers

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A fun chatbot to help you figure out what type of player you are!

Courtesy of Dr. Joanne Barrett.

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VR Game Design & Development Class

Virtual Reality Video Game Design & Development Syllabus (Fall 2020)

V1.1 – 28 August 2020

Time: H-Period
Location: STEM Center
Instructor: Mr. Delgado ([email protected])

Course Description: This course blends computer science and visual art by teaching students how to develop Virtual Reality (VR) video games. The course will be comprised of units focusing on end user experience (what makes games fun and engaging), visual design principles, programming, 3D modeling, and how to effectively use VR technology in a project based environment. Students will gain exposure to adobe photoshop and illustrator, the unreal and unity game engines, the oculus quest, and blender. Through this, students will be able to use the visual arts in conjunction with game design principals to make fun visually appealing video games. Students will then transfer and implement these skills in various VR games and applications they develop over the course of the semester. Students will be required to work collaboratively, and present goals and ideas pertaining to their projects with peers. Students will refine critical thinking skills as they analyze progress and use this knowledge to enhance and improve further iterations of their applications. This non-traditional 21st century course will implement alternative assessment strategies throughout the semester. Making games in VR, a rapidly advancing technology, will require students to be willing to take risks and incorporate feedback as they maneuver in this cutting edge field.

Course Website: The majority of class communication will occur via Canvas. This is also where I will post reference material such as video tutorials. Students will be expected to check canvas daily to ensure they are aware of assignments and due dates. It is highly recommended that students turn on email notifications on Canvas to receive updates when changes are made to the canvas site such as adjusted due dates and new assignments being posted.
I will also be storing many useful resources on my website, johnadelgado.com. Things like tutorial videos and game design discussions will be there for those of you who may find them useful and/or interesting.

Materials: Students are expected to bring their laptops (with the necessary software, Blender, downloaded) to every class along with their laptop chargers. Students must also bring paper and pencils to class as we will be doing a lot of our pre-development and design work on paper.

Class Requirements: The course will be broadly broken down into large topics that will revolve around a game the students will make in small groups (2-3 students). Each topic will typically last a couple weeks.
Students will have small homework assignments to complete. These will primarily revolve around discussions we will have in class about some aspect of game design or the video game industry itself.
There will also be regular small quizzes in class to assess what you’ve learned. Students will not be told when these quizzes will be given. These aren’t meant to be difficult, just to make sure everyone is following along. The lowest 3 quizzes will be dropped, but if you miss class when we have a quiz, you may not take the quiz at a later date. The 3 dropped quizzes are meant to account for these potential missed classes, but students will still be expected to complete work on time even if they have excused absences. Most quizzes will be open-notes so make sure you are taking notes and bringing them with you as reference material for our quizzes and discussions.

Grading:

  • Projects: 65%
  • Class Participation: 15%
  • Quizzes: 10%
  • Homework: 10%

Late Work: All late assignments will be marked down 50%. The lowest three homework assignments will be dropped, but these are to account for illness and emergencies. Do not rely on these and fail to submit homework. Projects will have two due dates: one for the rough draft which will be graded for completion of the necessary elements, and one a few days after for the polished end product which will be graded according to the rubric. It is better to turn whatever you have in on time than turn something perfect in late. The homework assignments will generally not take long to complete, and the projects have a few weeks for you to work on them, so turning in assignments on time should not be an issue. If you are in the habit of turning in work a few minutes before class, unexpected internet issues will not be an acceptable excuse for late work. Don’t wait until the last minute to hit submit!
You may submit assignments as late as you wish after that (within the time I accept late work for that quarter/semester), but you can only earn a maximum of 50%. Students will not be given time to work on late assignments in class. If students need time to finish an assignment beyond what is allotted in class, they are expected to schedule a time with me to come in and use the school’s laptops if those are necessary for their work. I will always prioritize assignments turned in on time, so late assignments may be graded and returned later than work turned in on time.

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VR Game Design & Development Class

Advanced Honors Video Game Design/Development (Online)

Summer 2020
(link to school website)

  • Grade: Entering Grades 10-12
  • One Semester Course – 1/2 credit
  • Cost: $625/class          
  • Dates: Monday, June 15- Friday, July 10
  • Times: 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with individual check-ins scheduled on Tuesday and Thursday.
  • Teacher: Mr. John Delgado
  • Prerequisite: Familiarity with basic programming concepts (such as variables,) OR completion of VR Game Design/Development. Students will need access to a Windows PC/laptop to run Unreal Engine.

This course will teach students advanced computer science and visual art concepts through virtual reality (VR), 2D, and 3D video games. The course will consist of units focusing on iterating to improve the end-user experience, level design, advanced programming concepts such as using interfaces to make writing code easier, sprite animation, and how to work independently on a long term project.

Students will gain experience with Unity, C#, Unreal Engine 4, and blueprint visual scripting. Students will transfer and implement these skills in either a 2D or 3D game they develop over the course of the month. They will be required to work collaboratively, and present goals and ideas pertaining to their projects with peers, refining critical thinking skills as they analyze progress and use this knowledge to enhance and improve their project.

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VR Game Design & Development Class

Game 1: Can’t Touch This (Basic Object Interactions)

14 February 2020 – 6 March 2020

Time: 2 Weeks (5 class periods)

Purpose: To understand the fundamentals of Unreal Engine 4, Blender, and game design.

Skills You Will Build:

  • Writing a game design document
  • Using Unreal Engine 4 to make a basic VR game
  • Using Blueprint scripting
  • Understanding basic color theory
  • Making and exporting 3D models in Blender
  • Applying colors to 3D models in UE4
  • Communication with peers
  • Researching answers to technical questions
  • Time management

Grading Rubric:

  • 20% – Design
    • 10% – Game design document reflects your game as it progresses.
      • Use it as a working technical document.
      • The game in your final game design document must be the same game you built.
    • 5% – Game was designed to implement the development requirements in a meaningful way.
    • 5% – Consider the core play aesthetics of your game when designing the dynamics and mechanics.
  • 30% – Development
    • 2% – Can look around using the VR headset.
    • 2% – Can move virtual hands with controllers.
    • 4% – Include some type of object movement in the game.
    • 7% – Can grab and move an object other than the default Pickup Cube.
    • 10% – Have 2 objects (other than your hands) be able to interact in some meaningful way (collisions). – tutorial
    • 5% – Mechanics of the game reflect the intended design.
  • 30% – Visual Art
    • 10% – Make all the 3D objects in the game (you may use existing basic shapes from within unreal such as boxes and spheres but no using complex assets like pre-made furnished rooms).
    • 10% – Make a color pallet and get it approved.
      • Color choice must be intentional!
      • Do they work well together to set a mood or theme for your game?
      • Do the colors allow the player to see what he/she must interact with?
    • 5% – Apply colors to all the objects.
    • 5% – Demonstrate consideration of color in your game.
      • Ex. Don’t put light yellow text on a white background because that’s very hard to read.
  • 20% – Work Ethic
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VR Game Design & Development Class

Homework 4: Off To The Races!

It’s finally time to start our first project! You were assigned groups today, so talk with your partner this weekend to get 3 unique fleshed out ideas ready for Tuesday. Know what the core play aesthetics each idea will deliver on, and make sure your idea is something you can finish in 2 weeks. No submission needed, but make sure you’re ready to present in class.

Part 2 of your homework is to play a game you’ve never played before! Figure out what core play aesthetics the game tries to delivers on, explain how the game attempts to deliver on those aesthetics, and tell me if you think the game did so effectively (don’t just say it did or didn’t, explain your reasoning). Submissions are due before next class.

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VR Game Design & Development Class

Homework 3: Color Palettes

  1. Make 3 color palettes and submit screenshots of them (with the specific hex value for the color).
    1. Use https://coolors.co/ to make them.
  2. Also include written descriptions of your color pallets to explain their purpose in a game and why they look good together (Are they complementary? Are they similar in tone? Are they all a bit washed out like in hollow knight?). Each one must be made for a specific purpose such as…
    1. Setting moods
      1. gloomy
      2. happy
      3. confused
      4. hungry
    2. Specific environments/scenes
      1. Lava (like in Mario)
      2. Underwater
      3. Forrest
      4. The Moon
    3. You can say “because the colors look good” for only one of your palettes.
      1. If you use this as your justification, you must explain why they look good.
  3. Look up examples for inspiration.
    1. Use those research skills we talked about!
  4. Be creative! I don’t want to see everyone doing a happy color palettes that’s just a bunch of yellows.

Grading Rubric:
– 2 point for each of 3 color palettes (6 points total)
– 2 point for each description (6 points)
– 2 points for not using more than one of my examples (2 points)

*As always, half off for late assignments.

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VR Game Design & Development Class

Homework 2: Aesthetics Of Play

Due 27 January 2020

  1. Watch the video by Extra Credits ‘Aesthetics of Play – Redefining Genres in Gaming’ (linked below).
  2. Think of a game you enjoy (it can’t be one of the ones referenced in the video or from last class).
  3. List the core play aesthetics of that game and describe why the game delivers on each of those aesthetics.
    1. Descriptions cannot just be “because it uses X,” explain yourself fully.
    2. The game you pick must include 2 or more core play aesthetics.

Superstar Submissions:

The main aesthetics of the game “Snipperclips” on the Nintendo Switch is Fellowship and Sense Pleasure. The game requires you to cooperate with a friend or AI, and you must work together in order to form the right shape, or achieve the goal. It plays on a sense of togetherness with a friend, since you have to discuss with that friend while you are playing the game because it is a puzzle game. It also plays on Sense Pleasure, because the graphics of the game are unique in that they are shaped like paper and are cute and have faces on them. The cute expressions on the characters keep you coming back to replay the game because it’s fun making the characters make different faces.

The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild’s core game aesthetics are fantasy, discovery, and narrative. Link is a brave knight trying to rescue Princess Zelda from the great threat known as Calamity Gannon in order to save Hyrule from destruction. That definitely isn’t something that happens in our everyday lives. And with all the amazing races and environments to explore, it makes it feel that much more immersive. That leads to the discovery. I can’t even begin to list the enormous amount of freedom and experimentation in this game. For example, using the boulder damaging mechanic and mixing it with the time freezing mechanic, I was able to launch a boulder at monsters in order to clear a path. And the exploration mechanics also tie into the narrative. Discovering new villages, items, and NPCs help show you a bigger picture of the situation that you are in. You can see how the people of Hyrule feel about the dark presence, and how it now affects their everyday lives. Traveling also allows you to discover secret cutscenes that explain the events that lead to the Calamity Gannon awakening. I felt emotionally invested into this world and story, and it drove me to keep on playing and see what else I could discover in this massive map full of magic and adventure.