Overview of Computer Gaming

Spring 2006

Wednesday 9:00AM 11:50AM

Prof. Paul Diefenbach pjdief@drexel.edu

TA: Patrick Kemp pjk27@drexel.edu

Office Hours: TBA

Emergency Phone : 215.514.1386



Course Description


This course will present an overview of computer gaming including the history of computer games, their foundation in traditional games and game theory, and their practice in the modern digital game.  The relation of gaming genres, platforms, and audience will be examined. The class will teach critical evaluation skills required for
being a functioning member in a game development team.



Classes will be a combination of instruction and tutorial, class discussions, individual and group assignments, lab and presentation period, and team building exercises.  Class participation is an important part of your evaluation and grade.  In addition, students will be required to work in teams outside of class in the computer labs, doing research online and in books and journals, and hands-on exposure to various video games.  The library will maintain a collection of various games and hardware in a game room that students will have access to.  In addition, a second game room will be established in a room yet to be determined.


Every week, students will be expected to play a new game, and an assignment  will be presented about that game.  In addition, each student will also be required to give a 10 minute presentation on a video game of their choice as it relates to various class topics.


Students will have various opportunities to give feedback on the class as well as their concerns and comments throughout the term.


Special guest lecturers from industry may also give presentations during the term.


You are expected to attend all classes.  Class participation is an important part of your grade.  If a student must miss class, it is the student's responsibility to contact me by phone the day prior to the missed class.  Students will also be responsible for getting missed notes from the other students.  


Course Requirements

Grading Policy/Rubrics

Grades will be based on several criteria:


Class participation will be graded on how well the student contributes to class discussions, contributes his or her own ideas and thoughts, and demonstrates keeping up with the assigned material.  A student that demonstrates an eagerness to participate and shows some thought and preparation behind their comments will have no trouble achieving an A for this part of their grade.  A student who only occasionally contributes and often rehashes ideas or shows a general lack of understanding of the homework topics can hope for a C.





Copying text, artwork, models, or animations without credit, whether copyrighted or made freely available on the web, is considered plagiarism for the purposes of this class (as it is in industry) and is forbidden.  One illegal asset can open an employer up to litigation.


Having another student perform your tasks for you is considered cheating.  Group evaluations, class participation, and project debriefings are a very effective means of determining this type of cheating, so do not cheat. 


Cheating will result in at minimum a failing of the assignment and an automatic decrease of one letter grade for your final grade, and may result in your failing the course.  Cheating and plagiarism are often done not due to sinister intentions, but because of laziness, fear, lack of preparation, overloaded schedule, or other reasons.  If you are having a problem in class and are fearful that your grade may suffer, please, please come talk to me about it rather than attempting some shortcut.  I am always eager to try to help, and I do not want to have to fail anyone.




Class Topic


Intro to gaming. Genres. History of Games


Game Theory: Traditional Games to Video Games to Other Application


History of Games Part 2


Gaming Hardware

Assignment: Comparing Games


Game Engine Graphics


Game Structure

Assignment: Character Images


Gaming applications and issues:

 Military, medical, educational.

Assignment: Questions on Educational Game


Social, Moral issues of Gaming

Assignment: Controversial Gaming Essay


Networked gaming:

  •  Security, bandwidth, cheating, wireless, etc.

Assignment: Play Assassin


Future of Gaming:

  • Arcade, handheld

  • New paradigms, new hardware


Exam Week