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FIT2073 Game design and narrative - Semester 1, 2012

This unit provides a foundation in the theoretical and practical principles of game design and game narrative structures in the games development process. Utilising the principles taught in this unit, students will be given the opportunity to consider innovative games design applications together with a narrative structure and implement the consequences of their decisions as working game prototypes.

The combination of theory and practice in this unit is geared to equip students with analytical skills to assess the future capabilities of the computer game industry both commercially and for wider research purposes. The unit provides knowledge and skills which students can apply within their game development projects in the third year studio project/s (FIT3039 and FIT3040) and across all subsequent units.

Mode of Delivery

Caulfield (Day)

Contact Hours

2 hrs lectures/wk, 2 hrs tutorials/wk

Workload

This will include:

  • Lectures: 2 hours per week
  • Tutorials/Lab Sessions: 2 hours per week per tutorial

Additionally, each student should spend a minimum of 8 to 12 hours for personal study every week and should allocate up to 5 hours per week in some weeks for use of a computer, including time for newsgroups and discussion groups.

Unit Relationships

Prohibitions

FIT2048

Prerequisites

Completion of 24 points of FIT units

Chief Examiner

Campus Lecturer

Caulfield

Mr. Derrick Martin, Consultation hours: Monday 2pm - 4pm, Tuesday 1pm - 3pm

Dr. Thomas Chandler

Tutors

Caulfield

Mr. Ruben Hopmans

Dr. Tom Chandler

Academic Overview

Outcomes

At the completion of this unit students will have:
  • an understanding of the key principles of game design;
  • an understanding of critical factors that serve to balance game design and playability;
  • an understanding of implementation techniques for narrative structures in interactive environments;
  • developed attitudes that enable them to be aware of the ethical issues involved with games development;
  • developed attitudes that enable them to appreciate effective forms of narrative construction employed in a game environment, such as embedded and emergent game narratives and the mapping of plotlines and interactive story structures;
  • developed attitudes that enable them to explore new directions in the rapidly emerging discipline of game creation;
  • developed the skills to prototype a game level and implement balancing techniques to eliminate design flaws and improve player experience;
  • developed the skills to analyse, identify and implement key elements in game design and narrative structures;
  • demonstrated the teamwork skills necessary to develop group working skills as a member of a project team.

Graduate Attributes

Monash prepares its graduates to be:
  1. responsible and effective global citizens who:
    1. engage in an internationalised world
    2. exhibit cross-cultural competence
    3. demonstrate ethical values
  2. critical and creative scholars who:
    1. produce innovative solutions to problems
    2. apply research skills to a range of challenges
    3. communicate perceptively and effectively

Assessment Summary

Examination (2 hours): 40%; In-semester assessment: 60%

Assessment Task Value Due Date
Interactive Game Map 30% Progressively in Week 2, Week 5, Week 6
Game Level Design 30% Progressively in Week 7, Week 10, Week 12
Examination 1 40% To be advised

Teaching Approach

Lecture and tutorials or problem classes
This teaching and learning approach provides facilitated learning, practical exploration and peer learning.

Feedback

Our feedback to You

Types of feedback you can expect to receive in this unit are:
  • Informal feedback on progress in labs/tutes
  • Graded assignments with comments

Your feedback to Us

Monash is committed to excellence in education and regularly seeks feedback from students, employers and staff. One of the key formal ways students have to provide feedback is through SETU, Student Evaluation of Teacher and Unit. The University's student evaluation policy requires that every unit is evaluated each year. Students are strongly encouraged to complete the surveys. The feedback is anonymous and provides the Faculty with evidence of aspects that students are satisfied and areas for improvement.

For more information on Monash's educational strategy, and on student evaluations, see:
http://www.monash.edu.au/about/monash-directions/directions.html
http://www.policy.monash.edu/policy-bank/academic/education/quality/student-evaluation-policy.html

Previous Student Evaluations of this unit

Based on student evaluation and feedback the technical aspects of this subject (as evaluated through group submission of a level created in the Unreal Engine) have been removed in order to facilitate a improved focus on the key elements of this subject, being the theoretical and design considerations behind game creation, narrative design and structure and evaluation/critical review and improvements of these core learning outcomes by students.

If you wish to view how previous students rated this unit, please go to
https://emuapps.monash.edu.au/unitevaluations/index.jsp

Recommended Resources

There are no recommended texts for this unit, though links to online
publications and PDFs and books relating to weekly material will be
provided in the lecture notes.

Unit Schedule

Week Activities Assessment
0   No formal assessment or activities are undertaken in week 0
1 Introduction to Game Design and Narrative  
2 Game World Settings and Genre Game Map Concept (5%)
3 Designing Narrative through Myths, Legends and Archetypes  
4 Game Design Structures  
5 Game Narrative Structures Game Map Presentation (5%)
6 Interactivity and Immersion Game Map Submission (20%)
7 Online Games and Level Design Game Level Concept (5%)
8 Gameplay  
9 Ethics of Gaming  
10 Cinema in Games and Physics Game Level Presentation (5%)
11 Mod Development and AI  
12 Exam Revision Game Level Treatment Document (20%)
  SWOT VAC No formal assessment is undertaken SWOT VAC
  Examination period LINK to Assessment Policy: http://policy.monash.edu.au/policy-bank/
academic/education/assessment/
assessment-in-coursework-policy.html

*Unit Schedule details will be maintained and communicated to you via your MUSO (Blackboard or Moodle) learning system.

Assessment Requirements

Assessment Policy

Faculty Policy - Unit Assessment Hurdles (http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/resources/staff/edgov/policies/assessment-examinations/unit-assessment-hurdles.html)

Assessment Tasks

Participation

  • Assessment task 1
    Title:
    Interactive Game Map
    Description:
    This assignment requires you to visualise the universe of your game through the creation and annotation of an original, interactive game world map (please note, this is not a level map). You may use any software you like to create a map with basic interactive features (rollovers, highlights, scrolling). The assessment for this project is divided into three parts: (a) a one page proposal of your concept (b) a presentation of your work in progress and references and (c) your submitted game map.

    Game Map Concept (5%)

    Your game concept should be limited to one page and outline your concept, approach, research and references. Due in Week 2 tutorial

    Game Map Presentation (5%)


    Your presentation should be a PowerPoint file with between 10-20 slides and timed to around five minutes which explain your production, design, approach and process. Your submission may not be entirely complete at this stage, but it should be complete enough so that you can communicate it. Due in Week 5 tutorial

    Game Map Submission (20%)

    Your game map submission should be easy to load and, once opened, self-explanatory. It should include images and text in an interactive format. Due end of Week 6
    Weighting:
    30%
    Criteria for assessment:

    Game Map Concept: Communication of Concept, Research and References

    Game Map Presentation: Evidence of Preparation, Organisation of Slides, Communication of Process and Progress and Design Decisions

    Game Map Submission: Map Detailing and Interactivity, Communication of Game Genre/Game World/Game Dynamics, Map Annotations

    Due date:
    Progressively in Week 2, Week 5, Week 6
  • Assessment task 2
    Title:
    Game Level Design
    Description:
    This assignment requires you to create a Game Level Treatment Document that details the characters, narrative, challenges and environment of a game level, using research from specified themes based on one of three supplied historical cultures.

    Once you have chosen one of these cultures as the setting/environment/genre for your game, you will create a Game Level Treatment Document, outlining the characters, expected story, example gameplay, environment and challenges that a typical player (or group of players) will encounter in the game level. You are encouraged to use original maps, photos and images to illustrate your design.

    As in Assignment 1 the assessment for this project is divided into three parts: (a) a one page proposal of your concept (b) a tutorial presentation of your work in progress and references and (c) your final game treatment document. Though your game level may share similarities with well-known game designs your submission is a new conception and an original creation.

    Game Level Concept (5%)

    Your game level concept should be limited to one page and outline your concept, approach, research and references. Due in Week 7 Tutorial

    Game Level Presentation (5%)


    Your presentation should be a PowerPoint file with between 10-20 slides and timed to around five minutes which explains your conceptualisation, design, approach and reasoning behind your choices. Your submission may not be entirely complete at this stage, but it should be complete enough so that you can communicate it. Due in Week 10 Tutorial

    Game Level Treatment Document (20%)

    Your game document should be in either PDF, doc or docx format and be between 10-20 pages Due end of Week 12
    Weighting:
    30%
    Criteria for assessment:

    Game Level Concept: Communication of Concept, Research and References

    Game Level Presentation: Evidence of Preparation, Organisation of Slides, Communication of Process, Progress and Design Decisions

    Game Level Treatment Document: Design of: Environment; Narrative; Level Challenges.  Overall Originality and Creativity

    Due date:
    Progressively in Week 7, Week 10, Week 12

Examinations

  • Examination 1
    Weighting:
    40%
    Length:
    2 hours
    Type (open/closed book):
    Closed book
    Electronic devices allowed in the exam:
    None

Assignment submission

It is a University requirement (http://www.policy.monash.edu/policy-bank/academic/education/conduct/plagiarism-procedures.html) for students to submit an assignment coversheet for each assessment item. Faculty Assignment coversheets can be found at http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/resources/student/forms/. Please check with your Lecturer on the submission method for your assignment coversheet (e.g. attach a file to the online assignment submission, hand-in a hard copy, or use an online quiz).

Online submission

If Electronic Submission has been approved for your unit, please submit your work via the VLE site for this unit, which you can access via links in the my.monash portal.

Extensions and penalties

Returning assignments

Other Information

Policies

Student services

The University provides many different kinds of support services for you. Contact your tutor if you need advice and see the range of services available at www.monash.edu.au/students. For Sunway see http://www.monash.edu.my/Student-services, and for South Africa see http://www.monash.ac.za/current/

The Monash University Library provides a range of services and resources that enable you to save time and be more effective in your learning and research. Go to http://www.lib.monash.edu.au or the library tab in my.monash portal for more information. At Sunway, visit the Library and Learning Commons at http://www.lib.monash.edu.my/. At South Africa visit http://www.lib.monash.ac.za/.

Academic support services may be available for students who have a disability or medical condition. Registration with the Disability Liaison Unit is required. Further information is available as follows:

  • Website: http://monash.edu/equity-diversity/disability/index.html;
  • Email: dlu@monash.edu
  • Drop In: Equity and Diversity Centre, Level 1 Gallery Building (Building 55), Monash University, Clayton Campus, or Student Community Services Department, Level 2, Building 2, Monash University, Sunway Campus
  • Telephone: 03 9905 5704, or contact the Student Advisor, Student Commuity Services at 03 55146018 at Sunway

Other

Students may use the facilities available in the computing labs. Information about computer use for students is available from the ITS Student Resource Guide in the Monash University Handbook.