The First Graduates…

The first students in bachelors programs Computer Game Programme: Game Design and Production and Computer Game Programme: Game Graphics. A group of graduating students also just got their first game A Story About My Uncle released on Steam.

In addition, the first students are graduating from the  Game design and production masters program at Aalto University (was establishing that program and teaching there during the first year of the program). The first students get their masters degree this spring.

A Story About My Uncle Launch trailer by the Gone North Games.

Curriculumn: Game Design and Production

This info will be available on the page.

MA in New Media is a 2-year degree programme focusing on design for interactive digital media. From the fall2010 on we will offer two specialisation areas: New Media Design and Game Design and Production. The education is project-oriented, combining practice with theory, hands-on with minds-on. The project modules emphasise interdisciplinary and collaborative work, while individual skills are studied in the tools & skills modules, in workshops and through tutored studio work.

This two-year programme provides unique possibility for building game design skills while building theoretical and conceptual undertanding on games. The education is project-oriented, combining practice with theory Student will deepen their existing skills in the areas of game design and productions based on a personal study plan. In addition to game design and production courses, the studies can be complemented with courses from related fields such as 3d animation, interactive storytelling, and interaction design.

The structure of MA degree studies, Game Design and Production specialization area, 2009-11

Studies begin with an orientative starting block entitled Understanding Media and Design. After completing that, through tutoring students choose their focus areas and start to participate in courses, seminars, workshops and study projects. Individual study planning for new students is tutored by a teacher one-on-one, in great detail.

Obligatory Studies Advanced Studies Optional studies BA level language studies
20 ECTS 60-100 ECTS 0 – 40 ECTS 6 or 12 ECTS
Understanding Media and Design 5 ECTS

New Media Exam 1 ECTS

Personal Study Plan (HOPS) 1 ECTS

Software Studies for Media Designers 3 ECTS

Media Art and Culture 3 ECTS

Media Design Research 1 3 ECTS

Master’s Thesis Seminar 4 ECTS

The obligatory Ability to conduct research (tutkimusvalmiudet) 5 ECTS is included into the Media Design Reserach and Master’s Thesis Seminar.

The Advanced Studies in Game Design and Production include the courses:

  • Game Design 5 ECTS
  • Game Analysis 5 ECTS
  • Game Project 6-15 ECTS

at least 2 courses selected from the following list:

  • Advanced Topics in Game Design 6 ECTS
  • Understanding Games 6 ECTS
  • Game Research Project 6 ECTS
  • Playability Evaluation 3 ECTS

Advanced Studies from MA New Media, New Media, Curriculumn

Courses from the School of Economics, the department of Information System Science, and from School of Science and Technology, the department of Media Technology as agreed in the study plan.

Master’s Thesis (40 ECTS) The master’s thesis in Game Design and Production should be a game and written pattern.

Studies from other universities or institutions

Individually specified according to the personal study plan (HOPS)

The BA level language studies are compulsory if they are not included in earlier studies. The credits of the language courses cannot be included in the MA degree.

For Finnish students:

  • Mother tongue (Finnish/Swedish) 3 ECTS
  • Second domestic language (Swedish/Finnish) 3 ECTS
  • Other language 6 ECTS

For international students:

  • Language studies 6 ECTS (check the details from study office)

More information about studies can be found at Oodi from Game Design and Production and New Media curricula as well as from the book Degree Requirements 2009-2011.

Game Design Education Starts

I am very excited: the new game MA students  starts at next Monday at our department. At spring we selected five students from 24 applicants. In addition, we will have five students from the School of Technology taking part to the selected courses.

I have been busy to take care of various things such as booking teachers, designing courses and so. And I have still loads of things to do, but things start to take shape.

Our first game specific course is Game Design. The course will start with workshop focusing to gameplay design. Petri Ikonen from Digital Chocolate and I will be teaching. After that the course continues with lectures. Mikko Rautalahti (Remedy) will talk about narrative design, Petri Ikonen about level design for casual games, Jussi Holopainen (NRC, co-author of the book Patterns in Game Design) about game design & design patterns. I will probably talk about some general thing about game design and possibly about character-driven game design (if I am not able to get a level designer to talk about level design from some other angle than Petri Ikonen).

We continue with  the Game Analysis and Game Project at the autumn (Game Projects ends at the end of spring). At the spring we have planned lectures about role-playing games by Markus Montola and Jaakko Stenros (if we have money for this) that would be a part of the course Understanding Games (an exam or lectures about role-playing and exam). The spring ends with workshop Gameplay Evaluation.

The course Game Analysis consist of small analysis exercises in which we look at board and classic arcade games using different conceptual (and theoretical) tools and try to understand how the games work. In addition, participants write an essay about a game using these tools introduced during the course. The materials of this course include chapter 4 from Järvinen (2008) Games without Frontiers. I have earlier used also chapter about cybernetic system from Salen & Zimmerman’s Rules of Play and my essay Goals, Affects, and Empathy, but I might choose some other texts instead.

The exam Understanding Games include the book Tavinor (2009) The Art of Video Games. 2009 and two books from the following list (the lectures on rpgs can be taken instead of a book):
•    Juul (2005) Half-Real
•    King & Krzywinska (2006) Tomb Raiders & Space Invaders
•    Perron (ed. 2009) Horror Video Games
•    Perron & Wolf (eds. 2009) The Video Game Theory Reader 2
•    Sigart (2009) The Ethics of Computer Games.

The second year continues with the game courses Advanced Topics in Game Design, Game Research Project, and MA Thesis Seminar as well as with MA Thesis.

In parallel within these two years, there will be obligatory courses of MA in new Media. These courses include Understanding Media and Design (5 ECTS), New Media Exam (1 ECTS), Software Studies for Media Designers (3 ECTS), Media Art and Culture (3 ECTS) as well as possibility to take other new media courses or complement the studies at the department of Media Technology etc

Game Design and Production

There are still some things to be taken care before the game design and production curriculum is officially published on Aalto Oodi. The teaching schedule  is available on media lab courses page along with New Media specialization area courses.

Meanwhile, you can read the degree requirements for Game Design and Production below. The official requirements can be found at the Oodi later.

(The linked course pages are still rather empty; the course descriptions are not yet public, only the course headings.) Edit 22.6.2010

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