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Digital Game Studies Minor

The Digital Game Studies Minor is a series of courses on digital game design, analysis, and application, presenting a collaboration between the Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media Studies, the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Fine Arts, the School of Education, Health, and Society and the University Libraries. This minor introduces students to the foundations of game design and implementation, the design of art assets for digital games, developing critical and cultural understandings of digital games, and the relationship of digital games to important trends in learning and literacy.

All students enrolled in the minor are required to take the category 1 courses (IMS211 and IMS212), then may choose a track in Game Art and Design, Game Studies or Game Development (category 2). All students within the minor are then required to enroll in IMS455 Game Design (category 3). Apply to the Game Studies Minor.

Program Requirements (18 hr. minimum)



Cat 1: All students take the following sequence (6 hours)

IMS211 Intro to Game Studies (3): Students are introduced to key historical and contemporary research in Game Studies, design and production.  The course functions as a survey for Game Studies, introducing the sues for game technology, current research in game studies, and the essential relationship of varied game industries.

IMS212 The Design of Play (3): Students are introduced to the many philosophies of ludology, the study and design of play. Students are provided a contemporary and historical lens through which to examine various designed experiences in play.  The course is provided as a foundation for critical examination and construction of effective game design, incorporating analog game design with technological solutions.


Cat 2: Student chooses a single track and takes three courses in their chosen track.  With the exception of CSE386, track courses can be taken in any order within their track. (9 hours total)

1. Game Art and Design Track:
IMS319 Foundations in 3D and Animation (3): Provides both knowledge in the underlying concepts and practical skills in the design and development of computer generated 3D imagery.
ART/IMS359 Art & Digital Tools II (3): This class dives a little deeper below the surface of IMS/ART 259, getting more rigorously into both the aesthetics and technical skills of creative work employing technology. We’ll talk about the feelings that technology often brings to creative work, and how we can work with those elements. Opportunities to hybridize techniques with other artistic processes will be presented. Projects will involve Adobe CreativeSuite, animation, photo/video, computer controlled fabrication, computer programming and/or physical computing. –Prerequisite: IMS/ART 259 or Permission of Instructor – interested students with some experience in art OR technology who have not taken IMS/ART 259 should contact Jacob Tonski [tonskij@muohio.edu] to determine if this course is a good fit.
IMS487 Game Prototyping, Pipeline and Production (3): this class students will learn how to create a contemporary computer game, applying standard techniques for creating art assets, communicating design and developing a playable demo. Students are expected to combine the knowledge and experience they have gained in preceding game courses to design and develop an engaging play experience from concept to completion.

2. Game Studies Track:
EDP/IMS225 Games and Learning (3): This course surveys and assesses the role of gaming within educational research.  Topics covered include: games and literacy, designing games for schools, and the learning implications of gaming culture.
ENG/IMS238 Narrative Digital Technology (3): Applies to digital games those notions about narrative structure and character development that have evolved in literature. Students will explore digital art as literary critics, asking whether games are art and analyzing how postmodern literary/digital art participates in globalization. Students compose narratives in writing as well as 3D graphics.
IMS487 Game Prototyping, Pipeline and Production (3): this class students will learn how to create a contemporary computer game, applying standard techniques for creating art assets, communicating design and developing a playable demo. Students are expected to combine the knowledge and experience they have gained in preceding game courses to design and develop an engaging play experience from concept to completion.

3a. Game Development Track (non Computer Science majors):
ART/IMS259 Aesthetics and Computation (3): Explores computation as aesthetic medium, examining subject matter from historical, conceptual and technical perspectives. Utilizing the Processing programming environment, students develop basic programming literacy. Processing language semantics and syntax, and graphics programming are covered. Prerequisite: Working knowledge of either the Macintosh or PC computer or some exposure to any desktop publishing or computer graphics software. Cross-listed with ART.
CSE251 Introduction to Game Programming (3): Introduction to computer programming techniques used in games and visual simulations. Simple data and control structures, mathematical foundations, transformations, rendering algorithms and interfaces. This course is designed for non Computer Science majors.
IMS487 Game Prototyping, Pipeline and Production (3): this class students will learn how to create a contemporary computer game, applying standard techniques for creating art assets, communicating design and developing a playable demo. Students are expected to combine the knowledge and experience they have gained in preceding game courses to design and develop an engaging play experience from concept to completion.

3b. Game Development Track (Computer Science majors):
MPT274 Data Abstraction and Data Structures (3): Abstract data types and their implementation as data structures using object-oriented programming. Use of object-oriented principles in the selection and analysis of various ADT implementations. Sequential and linked storage representations: lists, stacks, queues, and tables. Nonlinear data structures: trees and graphs. Recursion, sorting, searching, and algorithm complexity. Prerequisite: CSA 271 with a grade of C- or better and MTH 231 or CSA 271 with a grade of C- or better and MTH 222MTH 251 and ECE 287.
CSE386 Introduction to Computer Graphics (3): Introduction to techniques to create images on the computer. Covers graphics hardware and software, animation, mathematical theory behind 2- and 3-dimensional translation, rotation, and scaling, and areas of graphics application such as computer-aided design. Programming required. Prerequisite: CSA 274 and MTH 231
CSE487 Game Design and Implementation (3): Study of architectures, algorithms, and software design patterns used in computer games. Students work with a game engine to design and implement several kinds of games. Topics include animation techniques, physics simulation, user controls, graphical methods, and intelligent behaviors. Prerequisite: CSA 386


Cat 3:  All students take the following course (3 hours)

IMS445 Game Design (3): Develops theoretical foundations, methods and skills in building 3D gaming environments.