Intro to Unity GUI

This post contains an solutions  to my Unity programming exercises and classes I showed at the lectures. This post cover coding some basic things about using Unity GUI system.

StartScreenGUI (C#)

This class creates simple re-sizable and skinnable start screen for a game with main screen, credits screen, and confirm screen for quitting. The main screen is show in the Figure (with the textures and skin setup).

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Notes on Aalto Game Design Courses

Now the first year (of two year MA degree programme) of the Game Design and Production at the School of Art and Design at the Aalto University is over (and I am at the Södertörn University), I thought to write notes about the courses.
Game Design:

  • Gameplay Design Workshop (5 days) by Petri Ikonen (Digital Chocolate) & me. (my slides: 1, 2)
  • Lecture 1: Game Design by me
  • Lecture 2: Narrative Design 1/2 by Mikko Rautalahti (Remedy)
  • Lecture 3: Narrative Design 2/2 by Mikko Rautalahti (Remedy)
  • Lecture 4: Level Design for Casual Games by Petri Ikonen (Digital Chocolate)
  • Lecture 5: Gameplay Design Patterns by Jussi Holopainen (NRC)
  • Lecture 6: Level Design by Jarkko Kainulainen (Tribe Studios)

Game Analysis

  • Four mornings with lectures and analytical exercises by me (my slides)
  • Analysis on game reported as an essay

Game Project

  • Two groups of students designed and developed fully playable murder mystery games with great visuals and potential to be polished great games. Tutored and taught by me.

Understanding Games

  • Lectures on Roleplaying Games by Jaakko Stenros (University of Tampere) & Markus Montola (Gray Area)
  • Exam on Tavinor, The art of videogames
  • (alternative for this was a book exam)

Playability Evaluation

  • Workshop (1 day) by Elina Ollila (NRC)
  • Workshop (4 days) by Juha Huhtakallio (Kuuasema)

Some Refelections on the Game Project Course

In the Game Project course students design and develop a game from a scratch to (at least) beta level. It is obvious that current version of the game project course has some flaws. Currently the structure suffers issues of the big-design-first model. The course milestones set does not require prototyping and iteration. This has worked somewhat, and it seems that groups are creating interesting games. However, the last deadline is looming and they have a lot of to do to get their games ready.

To improve the course in the future, I searched alternative approaches to game development process for the Game Project course and found Clinton Keith’s (2010) book Agile Game Development with Scrum.

The overall structure of project in Scrum is show the figure below.

The overall structure of the Scrum project (Keith 2010)

Roughly, a Scrum project consist of sprints that last two to four weeks and have a clear target. Each sprint starts with planning meeting in which the target of the sprint is set. The target is a  feature list that should be developed by the end of the sprint. The initial list of the features are features (and each feature have a priority) are set in the concept sprint. Each sprint contains design, asset creation, coding, and testing. After each  sprint, the team should have a working game build. (Keith 2010.)

I am yet not exactly sure how to adapt Scrum for the course, as there are some roles (such as Scrum master) that might need rethinking for the course context.

However, I like the idea of sprints. Students would set targets for each sprint  with the teacher. Two to four weeks sprint in the course lasting almost the whole academic year means 7 to 14 sprints. That would split the goals to more manageable smaller sub-goals, as each sprint has its own feature list that should be ready at the end of the sprint. The Scrum process has natural checkpoints (at the end of each sprint) where we can check how the project progress.

References

Keith. C. 2010.  Agile Game Development with Scrum. Addison Wesley.

Brathwaite Rants about Game Education

The main message is that game designers should be able to code. Code is the tool of the trade. (http://bbrathwaite.wordpress.com/2011/03/01/built-on-a-foundation-of-code-game-edu-rant/)

I agree that one should be able to design dynamics for games. Designing dynamic is to design code. Understanding algorithms, state machines, behavior trees can be extremely helpful for game design. This said, knowing rudimentary coding can be helpful, knowing more software design can be more helpful. How much one should know about software design to be able to design games?

But would math and excel skills also be used for this?