ART 488 / CMSC 493: Senior Game Project

Tu Th 1:00-2:15, ENG 005A

Instructor: Dr. Marc Olano (
Office/lab hours: ITE 354; TuTh 2:30-3:30

Prerequisite: CMSC 435/634 or consent of instructor

Text: Agile Game Development with Scrum, Clinton Keith, Addison-Wesley

Formal Description

This is a capstone class, intended for graduating seniors in the GAIM specializations. In it, students will propose game development projects, plan them, form groups, and implement their plans. The goal is to have interdisciplinary teams, using a broad spectrum of what they have learned as undergraudates, collaborating to build interactive computer games.

Less Formal Description

Welcome to GAIM studios! I am Marc Olano, your studio executive. In the coming months, we will be developing some awesome games. First, you will pitch your game ideas. Some of those will be green lit for prototype development, and I will form you into prototype teams. In about a month, you'll need to show those prototypes. Some will be cancelled, and some will be green-lit for further development with a larger team. About a month after that, you'll have your alpha release and demo. By May, your games will be polished works of art bringing you fame and/or fortune.

Academic Honesty

By enrolling in this course, each student assumes the responsibilities of an active participant in UMBC's scholarly community in which everyone's academic work and behavior are held to the highest standards of honesty. Cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, and helping others to commit these acts are all forms of academic dishonesty, and they are wrong. Academic misconduct could result in disciplinary action that may include, but is not limited to, a reduced or zero grade, course failure, suspension or dismissal. To read the full Student Academic Conduct Policy, consult the UMBC Student Handbook, the Faculty Handbook, or the UMBC Policies section of the UMBC Directory [or for graduate courses, the Graduate School web site].

Plagiarism is the presenting of others’ ideas as if they were your own. When you write an essay, create a project, do a project, or create anything original, it is assumed that all the work, except for that which is attributed to another author or creator is your own work. Word-for-word copying is not the only form of plagiarism.

Plagiarism is considered a serious academic offense and may take the following forms:

Bottom Line: If you wish to use work that it not your own, give attribution.

[Adapted by Neal McDonald from the Modern Language Association’s MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. New York: MLA, 1995: 26.]

Tentative Schedule and Grading

Class time will consist of an amorphous mix of things I think will help you succeed, guest appearances by people from the games industry, time to work on your games, and milestone presentations. I'll fill in the online verision of this schedule as we go. Check there for updates.

Date Topic/Deadline
Jan 27 Overview; Pitching your game
Feb 1/3 Game Pitches (10%)
Feb 8/10 Prototyping, Revision Control
Feb 15/17  
Feb 22/24 Prototype (15%)
Mar 1/3 Scrum basics / Music Students
Mar 8/10  
Mar 15/17 Sprint 1
Mar 29/31  
Apr 5/8 Sprint 2
Apr 12/14  
Apr 19/21 Alpha (15%)
Apr 26/28  
May 3/5 Beta (15%)
May 10/12  
May 17 Final Demos (15%)

Game milestones make up 70% of the grade (weighted as indicated above). A grading rubric for each will be provided before the deadline date.

10% of the grade is for attendance and meeting your personal schedule goals. You are a member of the team, and your teammates are relying on you, not just to complete your tasks, but to be here when the rest of the group is. If you will not be able to make class, email me by at least noon (an hour before class).

A maximum of 20% of your grade is for social and marketing activities: up to 0.5% each for up to 20 game reviews (see rubric); 5% for an attractive, enticing web site for your game; and 5% per national game contest entered.