Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Committee Member 1
Committee Member 2
From the days of Pong to 100 million dollar projects such as the Grand Theft Auto franchise, video games have evolved significantly over the years. This evolution has also changed the way game development is viewed as a career. Today, video games are one of the most profitable forms of entertainment, and game development courses are appearing at universities around the world. Even with this growth, a degree from a university has yet to be an important factor in finding a job in game development (Owen, 2013). This thesis examines a method of creating and implementing an introductory gaming course and recommends ways to improve the curriculum. ^ The main focus of the course was to introduce game development to the students. Each week, they were given an exercise that covered a different topic. Students also took part in a team project in which they were tasked with creating a complete game. The goal of the team projects was to expand the student's basic knowledge given to them from the exercises. Data was gathered on the students' subjective experiences with the class. This data and the class's overall performance were compared with past iterations of the course. New to the course was the Unreal Engine. Students used the latest version of the engine, Unreal Engine 4, to complete exercises. Not all students chose to use this engine for the team project. Instructor and students experiences with the engine were also recorded. While there were some problems implementing the engine within our lab environment, we were still able to execute the overall lesson plan. Even with the engine issues, the course had overall good performance. CGT 241, Introduction to 3D Animation, was shown to help the students to complete the course while CGT 215, Computer Graphics Programming I, did not provide enough information on game programming. Exercises were found to be helpful but students wanted a better understanding of how these skills can be applied to game development. Team projects also went well with most teams creating a functional project. Students wanted more time to complete projects along with a structured approach to the project. Confidence in game development and the Unreal Engine were not high but students were enthusiastic in continuing in the field of game development.Recommendations were made to the curriculum in order to fix some of the issues with the introductory course and help students find a career. In order to fix the gap between the programming course and the introductory game course, a video game programming course was recommended that focused on teaching students how code works with video game engines. An option to specialize was also recommended in order to see a higher level of understanding on game concepts and a higher level of quality of game projects. Changes to the higher courses were also made for a yearlong course where students would focus on a single project to publish. This would expand on the introductory course while also replicating the game development process.
Head, Nicholas A., "Teaching introductory game development with unreal engine: Challenges, strategies, and experiences" (2015). Open Access Theses. 506.