Program Menu

Video Game Development

Course Descriptions

- Production-

The Role:
A producer is one of the most sought after positions in the game industry, period. Producers don't need to be programmers, artists, or designers but yet the producer will gain valuable knowledge in each of these key areas. Producers are basically the head of the entire game development team, with each key position (Lead Programmer, Art Director, and Design teams) reporting directly to the producer. Producers are not born overnight and this production track will give you all the key elements you need to start your career in the right direction. Graduates from this program should not expect to be a producer on a game immediately but rather start as either a Production Coordinator or Assistant Producer until he/she gains the experience it takes to lead a team from concept submission to gold master. It is definitely one of the most important areas of game development but at the same time will require a dedication and passion unparalleled with any other job function. This position will also interface with the sales, marketing, finance, and Quality Assurance teams to get their input on the final game while at the same time buffering the game team members from those departments. A working knowledge of Word, Excel, PPT, Outlook, MS Project, and a drive to succeed are prerequisites to become a Producer on a AAA title. In terms of advancement purposes, Producers become Executive Producers, Directors of Production, VP of Production, CTOs, and other key positions.
 
Note: To view a course syllabus, click on any course that has a red, bold title.
 
Step by step through all the stages. Game development and publishing are complex collaborative efforts. Issues of design documentation, content creation, team roles, group dynamics, risk assessment, people management and process management are addressed in this course to begin to understand video game product development. Five phases of product development management are covered: requirements synthesis to technical definition, development plan construction, plan management, problem management, process assessment and improvement and QA/Test. Show the differences in developing for PC versus console or wireless. The console portion focuses on why you need to and how to get approval from a hardware manufacturer, the steps to manufacture, and the importance of a bug-free release.
Prerequisites: None
Required Textbook (Available at the ACC Bookstore): The Game Producer's Handbook by Dan Irish, Course Technology PTR, ISBN: 1-59200-617-5; The One Minute Manager Anniversary Ed : The World's Most Popular Management Method by Kenneth H. Blanchard & Spencer Johnson, William Morrow Publisher, ISBN: 0688014291; Leadership and the One Minute Manager : Increasing Effectiveness Through Situational Leadership by Ken Blanchard & Patricia Zigarmi, William Morrow Publisher, ISBN: 0688039693; Recommended: Game Design, Bob Bates, Thomson Course Technology ISBN 1-59200-493-8
 
How producers can treat people like human beings and create a culture of trust, honesty, and security. The only way we can create games is with teams, and there needs to be a complete environment of openness to bring synergy to the production of your games. Topics include: workflow, workspace, the furniture police, brain time versus body time, and the telephone (or ICQ, AIM, and IM).
Prerequisites: None
Required Textbook (Available at the ACC Bookstore): Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams, 2nd Ed. by Tom Demarco, Timothy Lister , Dorset House, ISBN: 0932633439
 
 
This course provides an overview of the game development process with an emphasis on the beginning concept stages. One of the more popularly recommended first steps is to start with a good idea. Everyone has one. The articulation and the presentation of your idea can dramatically affect product acceptance or product rejection. The course will examine the creative process from the initial inception and the preliminary, pre-production stages to the requisite final presentation levels and production kick-off. A Product concept proposal and a preliminary design document will be students' final result of this class.
Prerequisites: Video Game Production (or approval of the course director)
Required Textbook (Available at the ACC Bookstore): Teaching and Learning through Multiple Intelligences Third Edition-Linda Campbell- Allyn and Bacon; A Viacom Company. ISBN 0-205-36390-3; The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers -Christopher Volgler
Michael Wiese Productions 2nd Edition- ISBN 094 1188 701; Game Design, Bob Bates, Thomson Course Technology ISBN 1-59200-493-8
 
 
GAME 1016 Development II (Second Third of Development - "Building")
This covers pre-production through production of the entire game up until Alpha (Feature Complete). Discussion points: "it's a marathon; not a sprint," how to set achieveable milestones, techniques to stay organized when deadlines near and pressure rises, ways to manage cost and deadlines, balancing publisher, studio and team needs, and production complexity and team interdependence.
Prerequisites: Development I (or approval of the course director)
Required Textbook (Available at the ACC Bookstore): The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering, 20th Anniversary Edition (2nd Edition) by Frederick P. Brooks, Addison-Wesley Pub Co, 1st edition, ISBN: 0201835959 ; Software Project Survival Guide by Steve C McConnell, Microsoft Press, ISBN: 1572316217 ; Rapid Development by Steve McConnell, Microsoft Press, 1st edition, ISBN: 1556159005
 
 
GAME 1017 Development III (Final Third of Development - Getting it done)
This covers the final stretch of the game: QA through gold master. Discussion points: bringing in a QA member early in the development process, bug tracking, communicating with QA, playtesting documentation, bug systems, killing bugs, manufacturing processes and timelines of different systems (console or wireless versus PC), cost of goods, packaging and marketing, post production, post mortem and closeout.
Prerequisites: Development II (or approval of the course director)
Required Textbook (Available at the ACC Bookstore): The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering, 20th Anniversary Edition (2nd Edition) by Frederick P. Brooks, Addison-Wesley Pub Co, 1st edition, ISBN: 0201835959 ; Software Project Survival Guide by Steve C McConnell, Microsoft Press, ISBN: 1572316217 ; Rapid Development by Steve McConnell, Microsoft Press, 1st edition, ISBN: 1556159005
 
 
GAME 1007 Quality Assurance
Discussion of the different testing methodologies, review of test plans and test documents, role of professional testers and players, and review of the kinds of documents they produce. Other topics include risk analysis strategies, and failure and regression techniques. These techniques are useful at any size shop, so some attention is paid to what it actually takes to get a job as a tester, as well as effective communication with test organizations. Producers and team leaders must effectively communicate with the QA department. If this is meant to be a track that leads to 'producing' video games, QA members should understand that they are most effective as a manager on a team if they have a particular skill, either design, art, or programming and that they need to get experience on the Product Development team before leading those teams as a producer.
Prerequisites: Video Game Production (or approval of the course director)
Required Textbook (Available at the ACC Bookstore): Customer Oriented Software Quality Assurance by Frank P. Ginac, Pearson Education, 1st edition, ISBN: 0135714648
 
GAME 1008 Publisher Relations
Topics covered in this course include: dealing with external producers, being an internal producer and dealing with external developers, being an internal producer and keeping your own company excited about the product (video game), internal and external marketing, public relations, market analysis, market surveys, product positioning, competitive analysis, product forecasts, market trends, and viral marketing. Also discussed is the concept of the self-fulfilling prophecy of the sales group (if they think it will sell 10,000 copies, that's all the money they put behind marketing the product).
Prerequisites: Video Game Production (or approval of the course director)
Required Textbook (Available at the ACC Bookstore): The Product Manager's Handbook : The Complete Product Management Resource by Linda Gorchels, McGraw-Hill Trade, 2 edition,
ISBN: 0658001353
 
 
GAME 1055 Game Document Management
Topics covered in this course include: documentation from start to finish. This includes: concept documents to get a publisher interested, internal marketing documentation, game design documents from start to finish, QA plans from start to finish, keeping all documentation ready for the cluebook writers, and more. Also covered: keeping track of who 'owns' which document and why. Both sample design documents and templates are provided to the students.
Prerequisites: Video Game Production (or approval of the course director)
Required Textbook (Available at the ACC Bookstore): Game Design, Bob Bates, Thomson Course Technology ISBN 1-59200-493-8
 
 
GAME 1012 Creative Collaboration
Company structure / team structure - several game companies are using matrix structures, and the industry in general is flatter than other corporations of similar sizes. - This course talks about tools that people use to communicate, and either does case studies or has successful developers lecture about management structure of different size and shape. A series of speakers giving their techniques and approach are invited to the class over the course of the semester.
Prerequisite: Video Game Production & People and Culture (or approval of the course director)
Required Textbook (Available at the ACC Bookstore): tbd
 
 
GAME 1045 Localization
This course covers the process of altering software products and web services (including embedded systems) for marketing to people who speak languages other than English. Localization requires strategic planning, proper project management, adherence to code writing guidelines, translation, and use of unique software tools. It also includes translation, computer code design, managing projects across different time zones and cultures, using industry-specific software tools, and all the items and processes necessary to transition a product from US-specific to the target market. ACC offers eleven 8-hour online courses in localization. Students can select any five of these to satisify the requirement for a Localization elective.
Prerequisites: None
Required Textbook (Available at the ACC Bookstore): A Practical Guide to Localization (Language International World Directory) by Bert Esselink, John Benjamins Publishing Co; Revised edition, ISBN: 1588110060