ART 488 / CMSC 493: Senior Game Project

MW 10:00-11:15, ENG 005

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

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

Formal Description

This is a capstone class, intended for graduating seniors (& occasionally juniors) 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 undergraduates, 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 canceled, 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: Do not present someone else's work as your own.

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

Tentative Schedule

Class time will consist of an amorphous mix of things I think will help you succeed: lectures on game development topics, guest appearances by people from the games industry, time to work on your games, and milestone presentations. The in-class work days are so I can observe your team at work; you will definitely need to plan to work and meet outside of class. Also, the mapping of topics to weeks will certainly change depending on guest lecturer schedules. I'll update the online version of this schedule as we go. Check there for updates.

Date Monday Wednesday
Jan 26/28 Overview
Pitching your game
What is URCAD

History background
Theater background
Pitch Slides (Fri Midnight)

Feb 2/4 Game pitches Prototypes teams announced
Feb 9/11 Graphics Research

Revision Control

Feb 16/18 Scrum Prototype Demos
URCAD Paragraphs
Feb 23/25 Semester games announced
Team selection
Role assignment
URCAD submission
Mar 2/4 *snow* Industry experience (guest lecture)
Mar 9/11 Sprint 1 Art lead (guest lecture)
Mar 23/25 Budgets / Monetization Sprint 2
Mar 30/Apr 1 Lighting physics & perception Physically-based Light models
Apr 6/8 QA and testing Sprint 3
Apr 13/15 Resumes & Web Sites Scrum meetings
Apr 20/22 URCAD prep Alpha
Apr 27/29 URCAD round-up Scrum meetings
Draft resumes & sites
May 4/6 Guest speaker Beta
May 11 Presenting
May ?? Final Demos


Grades will be given the following weights:

What Who Percent
Pitch Individual 10
Prototype Group 10
URCAD submission Group 5
Sprint 1 Group 5
Sprint 2 Group 5
Sprint 3 Group 5
Alpha Group 10
Beta Group 10
Final Demos Group 10
Attendance & personal performance Individual 20
Personal portfolio site & resume Individual 10