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RIT School of Interactive Games & Media Spring 2018, Dubrovnik, Croatia Professor Elizabeth Lawley

IGME-220 Game Design & Development I

Instructor and Class Details

Course Catalog Description

This course examines the core process of game design, from ideation and structured brainstorming in an entertainment technology context through the examination of industry standard processes and techniques for documenting and managing the design process. This course specifically examines techniques for assessing and quantifying the validity of a given design, for managing innovation and creativity in a game development-specific context, and for world and character design. Specific emphasis is placed on both the examination and deconstruction of historical successes and failures, along with presentation of ethical and cultural issues related to the design and development of interactive software and the role of individuals in a team-oriented design methodology. Students in this class are expected to actively participate and engage in the culture of design and critique as it relates to the field.

Course Materials and Communication

Required Text: Tracy Fullerton’s Game Design Workshop, 3rd Edition (ebook requires RIT login).

In addition to the required text, there will be a number of online readings linked from the weekly topic schedule.

MyCourses will only be used for grading (and the occasional copyrighted reading), not for distribution of materials or communication. There will be links in myCourses pointing you to this Github repository and to our class Slack.

Course Organization

Listening to a lecture is seldom the best way to learn to create things. As a result, when new topics are introduced I will expect you to complete the assigned readings before the class where we discuss that topic. In most of our class meetings, I will give a short lecture providing context and additional information about the assigned materials, and then we'll do a short in-class exercise to get hands-on experience with the concepts being discussed.

Course Topics & Schedule

The schedule of topics, readings, and exercises can be found in the file. Materials for in-class exercises can be found in the Github folder for that week's class, and will be linked from the schedule. It is your responsibility to check the schedule for each week's readings. You will find the in-class exercises very challenging if you do not complete the readings and/or tutorials for that week.


Because much of the class revolves around in-class activities, attendance is critical. If you miss a class, you should check Github and/or Slack for information on what was done, and contact me about options for making up the in-class work. If you know you'll be missing a class due to illness or a conflict, please let me know before class starts.


Your final grade will be based on your individual exercises and assignments (60%) and on your group's game prototype development (40%).

I accept late work, but there is a grade deduction of 10% of the grade per day.

I give only three possible final grades in this class. You'll receive a grade of A ("good work!"), C ("you passed, but your work was unimpressive"), or F ("you have not mastered this material"), based on your overall average for the class. Here's the breakdown:

Class Average Grade
83%-100% A
65%-82.9% C
0-64.9% F

Individual Assignments (60% of total grade)

In-Class Exercises & Homework Assignments (20%)

I will regularly assign in-class activities and short homework assignments. I may also give quizzes on the readings. I will not offer opportunities to make up in-class work or quizzes, but I will drop the lowest five grades in this category. Grades for exercises and homework will be assessed as Excellent (100%), Good (85%), Fair (70%), Poor (50%), or Unacceptable (0%)

Game Idea Proposal & Pitch (5%)

Part 1: Post a short game idea proposal for the group project to the specified forum. Evaluation will be based on quality of idea and of the writing. Part 2: Give a 30-60 second pitch for your game idea to the class. At the end, the class will vote on which ideas to adopt for development. Evaluation based on quality of idea and presentation of pitch.

Analog Game Analysis Paper (15%)

Short paper using an analytic framework to discuss a non-digital game.

Digital Game Analysis Paper (15%)

Short paper using an analytic framework to discuss a digital game.

Class Participation (5%)

Participation in activities and discussions--in class and/or in Slack--is a critical part of the class.

Group Game Project (40% of total grade)

Design Document (10%)

A full design document for your group’s game. This will be written over the course of the semester, with separate deliverables.

Group Game Prototype (10%)

A prototype of your game, suitable for playtesting by other groups.

Group Peer Evaluation (10%)

You will have an opportunity twice during the semester to evaluate your group members.

Group Final Presentations (10%)

Presentation of game concept to me and possibly some outside experts. Evaluation based on quality of idea, comprehensiveness of treatment, and quality of presentation.

Additional Policies

Important RIT Deadlines

  • Last day of add/drop is 22 January 2018.
  • Last day to withdraw with a grade of “W” is 6 April 2018.
  • You have one semester after the class has ended to challenge your grade.


Any updates to assignments or the syllabus will be posted in Github and automatically announced in Slack. Major announcements (such as class cancellations) will be posted in the general channel in Slack. This means you should regularly check the class Slack, and consider setting up notifications for the #announcements channel and the #igme220 channel. I check both email and Slack frequently, and will try to always respond within 24 hours (the exception to this is when I’m traveling, for which I’ll give you advance notice). You will get a faster response using Slack, with the bonus that other people in the class can help answer questions, as well. If you want to send me email, please make sure you send it from your RIT account to my primary RIT email: Elizabeth dot Lawley at rit dot edu.

Late Policy

If you are having problems with an assignment or have an emergency that may make you late in submitting your work, please contact me before the due date. Late assignments that have not been cleared with me before the due date may not be accepted, or may incur a grade penalty.

Missed Classes

If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to check with classmates for notes to supplement the materials I've already provided online. I will not recap classes for you.

Office Hours

I will have a minimum of four office hours per week. This is an excellent time to come in with questions on the course material, homework, or in class work. I am always happy to help you understand the course material or assignments—or just to chat about whatever topic you’d like. Take advantage of this time, since few students bother to talk with their professors outside of class. If for some reason I’m called away during office hours, there will be a note on the door.

Mobile Phones

Please turn off sounds on your phone, so that you don’t disturb the people around you with notification noises. If you must take a call, please leave the room to do so.

Notices of Accommodation

If you have a “Notice of Accommodation”, I should have received a copy electronically. Please discuss this with me after class or during my office hours, so that I can make sure all of your accommodations are met.

Social Networks

I don’t initiate friend requests on Facebook, because I don’t want you to feel obligated to accept. However, I do generally accept friend requests from students. I have a private Twitter account that I seldom use, and don’t accept follower requests on it. I maintain a LinkedIn account, and am happy to connect with students there in order to help them find job-related connections. Links to my various social media accounts can be found on my website (

Policy on Incomplete Grades

Incomplete grades will be given only in the most exceptional circumstances, and then only by prior arrangement with me. Note that I only give incompletes in the event of: 1) military deployment or 2) documented and verifiable family or personal illness/emergency. Being overcommitted, overwhelmed, and/or not having enough time to complete your coursework does not fall into either of those two categories. Please come see me ASAP if you’re having difficulty so we can find a solution together.

Academic Dishonesty

My policy on academic dishonesty is simple: If you get caught cheating or plagiarizing, you get an “F” as a grade for the course, a letter detailing the incident goes into your records folder, and you are immediately removed from the class. (If this is a second occurrence during your career at RIT, the penalties are harsher.)

Please review RIT’s policy on academic integrity:

Discrimination and Harassment

RIT is committed to providing a safe learning environment, free of harassment and discrimination as articulated in our university policies located on our governance website. RIT’s policies require faculty to share information about incidents of gender based discrimination and harassment with RIT’s Title IX coordinator or deputy coordinators, regardless whether the incidents are stated to them in person or shared by students as part of their coursework.

If you have a concern related to gender-based discrimination and/or harassment and prefer to have a confidential discussion, assistance is available from one of RIT’s confidential resources on campus (listed below).

  1. The Center for Women & Gender: Campus Center Room 1760 +1-585-475-7464; CARES (available 24 hours/7 days a week) Call or text 585-295-3533.
  2. RIT Counseling Center - August Health Center /2nd floor – 2100 +1-585-475-2261.
  3. The Ombuds Office – Student Auxiliary Union/Room 1114 +1-585-475-7200 or 585-475-2876.
  4. The Center for Religious Life – Schmitt Interfaith Center/Rm1400 +1-585-475-2137.


Any or all of the previous information is subject to change or modification during the semester. Any changes to the syllabus will be published here on GitHub, and will be announced in Slack.