Art 4020 | Video Game Prototyping

In Fall 2016 we are offering Art 4240 Video Game Prototyping for those interested in developing light weight video game prototypes. Learn industry tips and techniques in creating compelling and original video game sketches.

Great video games usually start with a series of very simple prototypes. Maybe it is a new art and animation technique, maybe it is a new AI system or maybe it is a new core game mechanic. Since games are poorly described by words alone, prototypes act as powerful examples of expressing an interactive idea. As a team leader on multiple AAA Video Games we would never move forward without a convincing prototype.

No prior game development or programming experience is required for the class.

Video game prototyping is a combination of interactive design, scripting, audio design and animation. It requires a strong combination of narrative and interactive creativity.

In the class we use GameMaker as it allows us to quickly develop prototypes with minimal scripting. Game Maker Language (GML) is a c based language. Even though GameMaker is a 2-D Software Development Environment; most 3-D game mechanics can be simulated. An idea could then be taken to Unreal or to Unity to develop in 3-D later on.

The class is split into two parts:

Part 1

  1. Cover common design patterns in game development including movement, path finding, targeting, game managers, state machines and basic AI systems

  2. We will learn these through developing classic 2-D genres such as shooters, adventure and platform games

  3. We will look at techniques for stitching animations, developing repeatable tiles and basic level design strategies

  4. Students will extend these in class exercises by adding features to these in class prototypes

Adventure game screenshot for game prototyping class at Lousiana State University (LSU)
Space rock shooter game screenshot for game prototyping class at Lousiana State University (LSU)
Top down shooter screenshot for game prototyping class at Lousiana State University (LSU)

Part 2

Students will work in teams and/or by themselves to develop 4 fully original video game prototypes. Themes will be assigned - and students will need to find the best way of representing the concept in an interactive prototype. Class time will focus on helping students achieve their creative vision.

Student projects in Video Game Prototyping Class screenshot  at Lousiana State University (LSU)
Student projects in Video Game Prototyping Class screenshot  at Lousiana State University (LSU)
Student projects in Video Game Prototyping Class screenshot  at Lousiana State University (LSU)

Class Philosophy

This class is practice based and requires a commitment of both time and effort. Learning any new language requires a lot of practice and application. All class scripting sessions will also be included on-line for future reference. Creativity is rewarded - the key to a successful prototype is to work outside your comfort zone and take creative risks.