Introduction to Computer Games Design


Set Books

Picture_4.png
If you have never programmed before in a high-level computer language,and you have little or no experience of using MIT's Scratch programming language, then the set book is: "Scratch Programming for Teens" available from Amazon here from £12.70 (+£2.75 delivery). Warning: never buy a book in a hurry from a non-UK supplier as they can take 5 weeks to arrive!. You will also need to download Scratch from MIT here (http://scratch.mit.edu/ ).

Picture_1.png
If you have programming experience then the set book will be "Hello World! Computer Programming for Kids and Other Beginners" available from Amazon here from £14.42 (plus £2.75 delivery). You will also need to download Python v2.5.x and PyGame from here (http://www.python.org/download/ ) and here (http://www.pygame.org/download.shtml ).


Your Portfolio


The studio sessions are all about creating an on-line portfolio of games-related work to show to a future employer. This should link ion with your work on The Computing Profession module. Everything you create during your time on your degree should be recorded and presented as well as possible in a portfolio that will build over the next four years. You will periodically tidy it up, tart it up, restructure it, etc. But, it is almost as important - even perhaps more so - than your final degree certificate. This is the proof to your future employer that you are a games creating god.

Picture_9.png
Build your portfolio using such freebie sites as http://www.wikispaces.com (such as this one!), http://www.yola.com or http://www.joomla.com. You do eventually want to get your own URL/domain name. Choose a name that means much to you and is memorable; silly names are best (e.g. eatjoespies.com is available!)

Picture_8.png
Did you know that you can create an impressive personal page on http://www.wikipedia.org? by creating your own login, then editing your personal space into a wikipedia page. For example login to wikipedia as the user 'eatjoespies' password 'videogames'. Then click eatjoespies on the top line. This page is held at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Eatjoespies. Now, create your own page, linking it to your portfolio site, and you can have a wikipedia page with a url like en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:JohnXavierSmith. The easiest way to go about it is to edit-select the joespies page, copy the entire code, logout, then login into your own page and paste the eatjoespies code. This can then be edited to create your own personal page.

Picture_10.png
You must also register at http://wosgamers.ning.com . This is our primary communication tool for staff, students, friends, alumni, etc. in games at UWS. You should be able simply to register directly. Do use a good photo and not the PONG! default. This is where most of what happens games-wise at UWS happens and where you can talk to everyone who is anyone. I will post extra material there as and when you need it ...


Other Materials


You should get a bound notebook, A5 or A4, to keep notes of your work in. Start each day on a new page. Enter the date. Then take notes of what you are doing each day. This helps you to systematically control your development work for each module from work session to work session. If you can, get a bound notebook with several sections so you can use one for each subject, but still only have one notebook.

The lectures will all be available online before the class in PDF format. They are not detailed, as most of the information you need to know is related directly from my brain to yours, plus lots of other class buzz as required. So, you may wish to print the notes and annotate them during classes too.

You don't need to bring a computer into classes, but feel free to do so. We do not advise on any particular hardware or software, but you may note that many staff members use Apple Macbook computers as they are virus-free and can run three operating systems simultaneously: Apple OSX, Linux and MS Windows (four from November when Google Chrome is launched.) Please do take care with security; don't get your laptop nicked.

I will assume you read Edge Magazine (available from WHSmith), MCV (available via Dr John) and Develop (available online from http://www.develop-online.net ). We will also assume you have played many, many games for many, many years in order to contextualise the teaching you receive from the aged but very games-wise lecturer.