Semester(s) Offered: Spring
Credits: 4
Course Call Number: GAMES-UT 325
Prerequisite(s): Intermediate Game Development & Intermediate Programming for Games

Professional game development frequently involves a ‘rapid prototyping’ phase, wherein developers work feverishly to implement a large number of small ideas to test their potential before embarking on the more rigid and costly processes involved in full production. Many or most of the most famous games in history began with a minimalistic prototype created in less than a week. Pixel Prototype Studio is an intensive course which aims to build up a student’s repertoire of fast-prototyping skills and provide the student with invaluable experience in starting and finishing games. The course consists almost entirely in the creation of playable prototype games, one per week.

All development for this class take place on a single current game development platform (hereafter: ‘the platform’) that is oriented toward the development of technically simple pixel-art games, such as PICO-8, LOVE2D or Game Maker Studio. All art, sound and code for each project, will be produced from within the platform software. The reasons for using a pixel-art oriented platform are as follows:
1) It provides an opportunity to learn a development language and platform other than Unity/C#. The platform used for the semester will use a high-level language like Lua, GML or Python, similar to what is used by professional game designers in commercial studios.
2) It constrains the technical scope of projects so that students can focus on rapidly iterating design ideas, and avoid getting mired in technical problems.
3) It allows for a free-spirited, fun form of development.

Upon completion of this course, the student will:
1) Learn to use a game development platform other than Unity.
2) Deliver a playable prototype on short deadline that explores a given concept
3) Engage in truly ‘agile’ development by testing a wide range of ideas in a practical, hands-on way, with minimal resource overhead.
4) Constrain the scope of a project under extreme thematic, time and resource constraints.
5) Bring additional speed and efficiency to their regular practice as game creators when making finished, non-prototype games.
6) Learn to distinguish failed concepts from successful ones (before it’s too late!)