San Francisco State University

Application for Bachelor of Arts Degree, Special Major

 

San Francisco State University. 1

Application for Bachelor of Arts Degree, Special Major 1

Proposed Program Information. 1

Proposed Program for Bachelor of Arts Degree. 2

Special Major Statement: Computer Game Design. 2

Introduction. 3

Justification. 3

Department #1: Mathematics. 3

Department #2: Computer Science. 3

Department #3: Design and Industry. 3

Department #4: Cinema. 3

Conclusion. 3

Further Reading. 6

Magazine. 6

Online. 6

Books. 6

Education Institutions. 6

Example Game Designers’ Education. 7

 

 

Proposed Program Information

A. Proposed Title of Major

Computer Game Design

 

B. Abstract of Theme

Mathematical analysis, pre-production, illustration, and prototyping of interactive entertainment software.

 

C. Special Major Statement

(See attached).

 


Proposed Program for Bachelor of Arts Degree

Name: David Ethan Kennerly

Special Major Title: Computer Game Design

 

Dept/Course No.        Course Title                                       Units   School Grade/IP/TD

 

 

 

Mechanics

14

 

 

MATH

226

 

Calculus I

4

 

SFSU

MATH

227

 

Calculus II

4

 

SFSU

MATH

324

 

Probability and Statistics with Computing

3

 

SFSU

MATH

325

 

Linear Algebra

3

 

SFSU

 

 

 

Programming

21

 

 

CS

140

 

Introduction to Programming using C/C++

3

 

UMD

CIS

32

 

Advanced Unix Shell Programming

3.3

 

DA

CSC

301

 

Fundamentals of Computer Science

3

 

SFSU

CSC

330

 

Discrete Mathematical Structures for Computer Science

3

 

SFSU

CSC

313

 

Data Structures

3

 

SFSU

CSC

510

 

Analysis of Algorithm I

3

 

SFSU

CSC

630

 

Computer Graphics Systems Design

3

 

SFSU

 

 

 

Computer Graphic Design

9

 

 

DAI

327

 

Digital Media I

3

 

SFSU

DAI

575.04

 

Design Computer Graphics

3

 

SFSU

DAI

575.05

 

Design of Virtual Worlds

3

 

SFSU

 

 

 

Cinematic Pre-production

12

 

 

ELIT

1

 

Introduction to Film

2.7

 

DA

CINE

202

 

Introduction to Filmmaking

3

 

SFSU

CINE

355

 

Screenwriting I

3

 

SFSU

CINE

455

 

Screenwriting II

3

 

SFSU

 

 

 

Electives

9

 

 

ART

130A

 

Basic Drawing

3

 

CCSF

ART

130B

 

Intermediate Drawing

3

 

CCSF

ART

132A

 

Beginning Figure Drawing

3

 

CCSF

 

Total units in degree program (includes transfer): 65

Proposal Submitted by: ____________________ (Student)                 Date: _____________

 

 

 

Special Major Statement: Computer Game Design

David Ethan Kennerly. 3 April 2003.

 

 

Introduction

I have worked for about five years as a computer game designer.  During that time I eagerly learned.  But after five years I was beginning to exhaust the potential for growth.  During this time I have witnessed firsthand that this relatively new role combines departments of applied mathematics, computer science, art, design, and cinema.  Now it’s important to increase my academic education in all these departments of computer game design so that I may continue to improve at a reasonable rate.

 

Justification

Computer game design is necessarily interdisciplinary.  The computer game designer must mediate the software project between artists and programmers.  The game designer must understand the mathematical, programming, design, and cinematic elements of the computer game.  The game designer connects each of these special fields to the game user.  He interfaces to maximize potential of each specialization. 

 

This major is offered by a few institutions, such as DigiPen in Vancouver (B.S. in Real-Time Interactive Systems http://www.digipen.edu/programs/rtis/rtis_bs.shtml) and FullSail in Florida (A.S. in Game Design http://www.fullsail.com/fs1/gd/main.html).  More are appearing each year (for details please see Appendix: Further Reading). 

 

I cannot accomplish my educational objective with one of SFSU’s existing undergraduate majors.  Even existing SFSU interdisciplinary degrees, such as liberal studies, do not permit this particular interdisciplinary study.  Yet some departments individually cover part of this subject.  The mathematics department offers analytic techniques to evaluate and balance strategies in a symbolic game; however, I need techniques to pre-produce a product in terms of its entertainment value.  The computer science department offers theoretical and applicable techniques to create any software; however, I need entertainment techniques, such as techniques to sustain the player's interest, design empathic characters, and plan visual stories.  The design department offers hands-on techniques to create characters, use industry tools, and pre-produce digital entertainment; however, I need a rudimentary understanding of the behind-the-scenes game mechanics.  The cinema department offers visual narration and entertainment pre-production; however, as stated above, I also need mathematical, computer, and design components to meet my educational objective. 

 

Individually my education would be incomplete, yet together it is complete. I can achieve my educational objective by studying applicable courses from each of these departments.  Perhaps a generation from now computer game education will become as established as cinema has become over the years since its maturation, yet for now this special major is warranted. 

 

Department #1: Mathematics

The mathematics department teaches the mechanics of a symbolic game.  It teaches necessary quantitative analytical skills necessary to evaluate a proposal, test a hypothesis, and establish new knowledge.  This department specifically teaches practical techniques of probability distributions, matrix algebra, differentiation and integration.  These are prerequisites to understand game theory, a branch of mathematics dedicated to analyzing games. 

 

Department #2: Computer Science

The computer science department teaches an introductory understanding to facilitate communication and cooperation with programmers.  This includes design of algorithms and specific theories and algorithms for programming computer graphic systems.  It also includes a study of computer logic: set algebra, discrete functions, and prepositional logic. 

 

Department #3: Design and Industry

Design and Industry department teaches how to design computer graphics, which computer games employ.  This department teaches tools and techniques for interactive multimedia presentations.  This department also teaches 3D computer graphic design tools and techniques, such as lighting, modeling, textures, and animation.  This department teaches how to combine all these techniques to design an interactive 3D experience.

 

Department #4: Cinema

The cinema department teaches how to combine image, sound, dialogue, and motion to entertain an audience.  This department teaches how to write characters, dialogue, and use image and sound to tell a story, elicit an emotional reaction, and set a mood.  This department also teaches the fundamentals of writing for entertainment pre-production. 

 

Conclusion

Twenty-First Century computer game design requires an interdisciplinary education.  The computer game designer must design a product that passes professional standards of sound mathematics, programming, design, and visual storytelling.  The professional game designer cooperates with a team of specialists in art or programming, so he must have a balanced foundation in the artistic and engineering sides of entertainment software to maximize his contribution to the team.  On graduation I will re-enter the computer game industry with this academic foundation to establish a professional career in this role of computer game design.  


 

 

 

 


Further Reading

Magazine

Game Developer is the industry’s leading magazine on the art and science of game development.  For example, November 2002 issue includes articles whose subjects directly apply to the courses in this Special Major:

 

Game Developer. November 2002

 

 

Page

 

Article

 

Course ID

 

Course Title

8

 

Famous3D ProFace Complete

DAI

575-04

Design Computer Graphics

16

 

Toward Better Scripting: Part 2

CSC

313

Data Structures

 

 

 

 

MATH

226

Calculus I

20

 

Time for a Change

 

ART

231

Drawing I

 

 

 

 

DAI

327

Digital Media I

24

 

You Write "Tymghte," I Say ‘To-mah-toe

CINE

355

Screenwriting I

28

 

The Godfather Paradox

 

CINE

200

Introduction to Cinema Studies

30

 

Modular Level and Component Design

DAI

575-05

Design of Virtual Worlds

36

 

Creating an Event-Driven Cinematic Camera: Part 2

CINE

202

Introduction to Filmmaking

 

 

 

 

CSC

301

Fundamentals of Computer Science

 

 

 

 

MATH

227

Calculus II

 

Online

Gamasutra.com <http://www.gamasutra.com> “The Art and Science of Game Development”.  This includes several online articles <http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/article_display.php> available for free discussing the theory and practice of game design, especially in the “game design” feature section <http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/article_display.php?category=4>.  And the Game Developers Convention contains a archives of lectures in game design <http://www.gdconf.com/archive>. 

 

Books

Here is information on game design:

Here is information on formal game theory:

 

Education Institutions

These courses concur with the leading edge in computer game design degrees of other institutions.  These courses share courses with DigiPen, Full Sail, and Academy of Arts course lists.  These courses also correlate with the industry's legendary professionals' education. 

 

Game design is a fast-growing field of serious education.  Over one hundred universities or schools worldwide offer game industry degrees.  Here are computer game design education examples:

 

Example Game Designers’ Education

Here are famous industry computer game designers with educations related to this major: