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SPSU Gaming
Southern Polytechnic State University
1100 South Marietta Pkwy
Marietta, GA 30060

SPSU Home >> Games >> Curriculum >> Curriculum

Curriculum

BS in Computer Game Design and Development

For more information or to be added to our email notification list, please contact the CSE department at SPSU.

To apply for admission, please visit the Admissions Page.

SPSU also offers a Minor in Computer Game Design and Development.

The Bachelors of Science in Computer Game Design and Development equips students and graduates with the skills and knowledge to apply computing and software engineering techniques to the design and production of digital media for entertainment, research, and education.  As a specialization within the field of computing, game design and development builds on and applies expertise in computing hardware and software to create engaging and immersive multimedia systems.

The program exposes students to the breadth of the field in the areas of digital media, human-computer interaction, the history and theory of gaming, game design, 2D and 3D graphics, simulation, modeling, software engineering, artificial intelligence, data structures, and algorithms.  Current and emerging domains including online games (and massively multiplayer games or MMOG), casual games, mobile games, and serious/educational games are explored.  Students are also required to select an upper-level concentration within the program to ensure depth in their program of study.  While these concentrations will change as the field evolves, current offerings include media-production, distributed-mobile, education-serious, planning-management, and simulation-informatics.

One of the more innovative aspects of the program is the inclusion of a significant studio experience for students in their senior year.  This two-course sequence provides an opportunity for students to be mentored by faculty and their peers in the first semester and in turn mentor fellow students in the second semester.  The year-long capstone project developed in these courses is a vital component in graduates’ portfolios and will be showcased on the program’s Web site.  Moreover, giving the recruitment and hiring practices in the digital entertainment and computer gaming industry, portfolios are crucial in helping graduates secure employment in the industry.

The program places significant importance on developing students’ communication, team, critical thinking, and problem solving skills, skills that were identified as vital by industrial partners and employers.  Courses integrate written and oral presentations as well as team-based design and development projects to ensure students build these skills.

Program Objectives

  1. Computer Game Design and Development graduates will be successful professionals in the field with solid fundamental knowledge of gaming and computing, making valuable technical contributions to the design, development, and production of computer game systems and related applications.

  2. Graduates utilize and exhibit strong communication and interpersonal skills, as well as professional and ethical principles when functioning as members and leaders of multi-disciplinary teams.

  3. Graduates are sufficiently prepared for their first and subsequent positions, as they are independent learners, including learning new, rapidly-changing technologies and applying them in their game systems development.

  4. The CGDD program will maintain a challenging curriculum that is consistent with international recommended standards (IGDA) and regional industrial needs (GGDA) and maintain an up-to-date curriculum by taking into account significant changes within the discipline and regional industrial needs.

Program Student Outcomes

Upon graduation, students will be able to:

  • Decompose and solve complex problems through artifacts of computing such as hardware, software specifications, code and other written documents
  • Demonstrate an understanding of computing principles in the areas of programming, data structures, architecture, systems, graphics, and artificial intelligence and how they relate to computer game design and development
  • Utilize mathematics and science in game design and development
  • Apply principles of game design and development to generate a portfolio showcasing their successful industrial experience, research, and/or creative works
  • Demonstrate a breadth of knowledge in historic and emerging domains and genres of computer gaming and interaction
  • Demonstrate an understanding of social, professional, global, and ethical issues related to computing
  • Work effectively in teams on system development projects
  • Demonstrate effective oral and written communication skills

Course Requirements

Areas A-E are consistent with the USG Board of Regents guidelines and existing guidelines and standards of Southern Polytechnic State University; these are also similar to existing computing degrees at SPSU.

Area F consists of CSE1301 and CSE1302, math courses (Statistics and Discrete mathematics), and program specific electives (carry-over credits from Calculus 1 and Calculus 2 and Fundamentals of Game Design) consistent with the USG Board of Regents guidelines, the computer science standards of ABET, and the model curriculum of the ACM.

In completing the CGDD major, you almost complete all requirements for minor degrees in CS and SWE, so if you choose your two electives wisely (taking one upper-division CS and one upper-division SWE), you will get the CGDD major and minors in CS and SWE.

You must have a C or better to earn credit for all CSE, CGDD, CS, SWE, IT classes.

Degree Completion Guide (PDF)

Here is a more detailed completion guide (which shows the same info but just in a different way) that shows the core areas A-F with choices explicitly listed.

Detailed Completion Guide (PDF)

Course

Title Credit

ENGL

1101

Composition 1

3

ENGL

1102

Composition 2

3

MATH

2253

Calculus 1

4

MATH

2254

Calculus 2

4

MATH

2260

Probability and Statistics 1

3

MATH

2345

Discrete Mathematics

3

COMM

2400

Public Speaking

2

STS

2400

Science, Technology, and Society

2

Area C

Group 1

One Course from the Literature Group

3

Area C

Group 2

One Course from the Art and Culture Group

3

Area D

Science

Consult with your advisor before taking 2 courses

8

Area E

Group 1

American Context

3

Area E

Group 2

World History

3

Area E

Group 3

Behavioral Science

3

Area E

Group 4

Cultures and Societies

3

CSE

1002

Introduction to the Computing Disciplines

2

CSE

1301

Programming and Problem Solving 1

4

CSE

1302

Programming and Problem Solving 2

4

CSE

3642

Professional Practices and Ethics

2

CS

3224

Computer Organization and Architecture

4

CS

3424

Data Structures

4

CS

4523

Artificial Intelligence

3

CS

4363

Computer Graphics and Multimedia

3

SWE

2313

Introduction to Software Engineering

3

SWE

3643

Software Testing and Quality Assurance

3

SWE

4324

User-Centered Design

4

CGDD

2002

Fundamentals of Game Design

2

CGDD

3103

Application Extensions and Scripting

3

CGDD

4003

Digital Media and Interaction

3

CGDD

4203

Mobile & Casual Game Development

3

CGDD

4303

Educational & Serious Game Design

3

CGDD

4803

Studio

3

CGDD

4814

Capstone

4

Upper-level Concentration (see below for options or as approved)

9

Free Electives

6

Degree Program Total

122

Concentrations

While the required courses in the degree ensure students are exposed to the breadth of the field of computer game design and development, it is also imperative that students are given flexibility to customize their experience and apply the knowledge gained in their required courses.  To this end, the degree requires students to select a concentration.

The following are suggested concentrations, but students may select a customized plan of study and set of courses under with their advisor’s approval.

Upper-level Concentrations

Media-Production

MATH3312 - Linear Algebra
CGDD4113 – Modeling and Animation
CGDD4603 – Production Pipeline and Rendering

Distributed-Mobile

SWE3683 – Embedded Systems Analysis & Design
CS4253 – Distributed Computing
CS4263 – Computer Networks

Educational-Serious *

6 hours of approved TCOM courses
CGDD4313 – Designing Online Learning Content and Environments

Planning-Management
(pick 3 of 4)

MGNT3105 – Management and Organizational Behavior
MGNT4185 – Technology Management
SWE4663 – Software Project Management
SWE3623 – Software Systems Requirements

Simulation-Informatics

CSE3153 – Database Systems
CS4253 – Distributed Computing
CGDD4703 – Data Modeling and Simulation

Note that students choosing the Educational-Serious concentration must consult their advisors on how to incorporate these courses and any pre-requisites into their schedules.

Course Descriptions

CGDD2002 – Fundamentals of Game Design
Prerequisite: None
2-0-2

This course presents an overview of the history of computer games and the theory of gaming.  Topics include game genres, content, patterns, playability, suspension of disbelief and immersion, storytelling, and game balance and fairness.  Students are required to analyze historic and current games and must also develop a prototype of an original game.

CGDD3103 – Application Extensions and Scripting
Prerequisite: CGDD2002 or CSE1302 or IT1324 or (ARTS2010 and ARTS2020)
3-0-3

This course provides an introduction to the use and extension of applications for content creation and management.  Both the theoretical as well as applied aspects of extensible application architectures and plug-ins are covered.  Existing and emerging scripting languages will also be discussed extensively, and programming in these scripting languages is covered.  Students will explore and utilize current applications and must create extensions to these applications.

CGDD4003 – Digital Media and Interaction
Prerequisite: CGDD2002 or CS3424 or (ARTS2010 and ARTS2020)
2-2-3

This course explores how digital media is created and utilized within computer games and simulations.  Topics include sound, video, text, images, character modeling, animation, game world and level generation (2D and 3D), and current and emerging interaction techniques.  Students are required to work in teams to produce a multimedia term project.

CGDD4113 – 3D Modeling and Animation
Prerequisite: CGDD3103 and CS4363
3-0-3

This course explores the theory and application of 3D geometric model generation and animation.  Topics include mesh and Non-uniform Rational B-Spline (NURB) modeling, textures, subdivision and levels of model detail, rigid/constrained body dynamics, and non-rigid/fluid dynamics.  Students will be required to develop and animate a complex model, and a significant project is required.

CGDD4203 – Mobile and Casual Game Development
Prerequisite: CGDD4003
3-0-3

This course explores the segments of mobile (handheld, PDA and cell-phone) and casual gaming.  Aspects of mobile hardware resources such as smaller memory, limited processor capabilities, and smaller displays are discussed; implications of such limitations to design and playability are also presented.  Patterns of casual game development and emerging markets for casual games are also explored.  A term project exploring mobile and/or casual game development is required.

CGDD4303 – Educational and Serious Game Design
Prerequisite: CGDD4003
3-0-3

This course presents the history, theory, and current best practices of serious gaming and the use of serious games to educate and train.  This course focuses on how to engage and entertain while presenting informative interfaces to the user.  Topics include motivation, designing engaging learning interfaces, knowledge transfer from the game environment to the real world, assessment of learning, and instructional value.  A design/prototype project is required.

CGDD4313 – Designing Online Learning Content and Environments
Prerequisite: TCOM3030
2-2-3

This course explores the use of online environments to present educational content for users.  Topics include: interaction patterns in online learning environments, providing accessible and intuitive materials, multi-modal presentations of content, and the benefits and limitations of online learning environments.  This course requires a critique of existing online environments and the development of a new learning environment, and human-computer interaction issues are an important consideration for this course.

CGDD4603 – Production Pipeline and Asset Management
Prerequisite: CGDD4003 and SWE3643
2-3-3

This course provides an in-depth exploration of the production of media content.  This course covers elements of the production pipeline from concept to content generation to post production and quality assurance.  Topics include asset creation and management, cost-quality tradeoffs, and phases of production.  Current and emerging models of the production pipeline such as user-generated content and participation will also be discussed.  A significant, team-based project is required.

CGDD4703 – Data Modeling and Simulation
Prerequisite: MATH2260
3-0-3

This course provides an introduction to modeling and simulation.  Both the theoretical as well as applied aspects of simulation are covered.  Topics include discrete-event simulation, states, transitions, model definition, model quality, input and output analysis, input distributions, experimental design, optimizing models, levels of model detail, cost-quality tradeoffs, verification, and validation.   Students will be required to simulate a complex system which necessitates the creation of models.  Students will explore and utilize a simulation API.

CGDD4803 – Studio
Prerequisite: CGDD4003
1-6-3

This course begins the studio experience and explores the application of game design and development in a structured environment; teams build applications utilizing best practices in software engineering including asset, project, configuration, and requirements management.  Students in this Studio course will assume an apprentice position within their teams and learn from more senior students taking the Capstone course.  This course involves weekly status, design, and development meetings.

CGDD4804 – Capstone
Prerequisite: CGDD4803
1-9-4

This course continues the studio experience from CGDD4803 and further explores the application of game design and development in a structured environment; teams build applications utilizing best practices in software engineering including asset, project, configuration, and requirements management.  Students taking this Capstone course will assume a senior position within their teams and provide mentoring to students taking the Studio course.  This course involves weekly status, design, and development meetings.

CGDD490x – Special Topics in Game Design and Development
Prerequisite: Senior standing
Variable credit (1-4 credit hours)

Special topics selected by the department.  Offered on a demand basis.