Computer Games Development (Winter 2017/18)

The course gives a complex overview of computer games development. It covers programming (middleware for games, scripting languages, etc.), game design, project management, game marketing and also briefly touches basics of computer graphics for non-programmers. This is a joint course for students from multiple faculties and universities. In the course, the students create their own small game in small teams of 3-4 students. Every team is given own exclusive mentor who is a professional game developer. Lectures are led by game development professionals and a mini game development conference is organized as part of the course. The lectures will likely be given in English.

Main parts of the course are led by Otakar Nieder (Bohemia Interactive Simulations)Martin Klíma (Warhorse Studios), TODO-ZZ? (??)Jakub Gemrot and Cyril Brom (CUNI).

This year, lectures will be given in blocks. Every block will run at MFF UK (Malostranské nám. 25) in the room S1 every Friday since 2017/10/06 till TODO 2017/11/25 (except holidays). The lectures start typically at 9:00 AM and end typically between 12:00 AM and late evening (see Schedule below). Note that the room can change during September 2016.

ORGANIZATION

  1. First of all, be sure to have fun!
  2. The Fun starts at 2017/10/06 at 9:00 AM, MFF UK (Malostanské nám. 25) room S1. Mark this in your calendar. YOU MUST ATTEND THIS INTRODUCTORY LECTURE. We are going to tell you EXTREMELY IMPORTANT organization information, which WILL NOT BE REPEATED AGAIN, plus we will be signing up you to the mailing conference.
  3. Read about the Grading (the scoring system), Team rules, the Experiment and Mini-grant applications at the second half of this page.
  4. Subscribe to the lecture’s mailing conference. (Deadline: 2017/10/13)
  5. If you have Facebook, stay connected with our FB page (we really appreciate your like ;-).
  6. If you use Twitter, follow our Twitter account.
  7. TODO[Cy] Sign-up for the experiment, see information at the bottom of this page. (Deadline: 2017/10/15)
  8. Attend a networking event that is organized during the evenings 2017/10/20.
  9. Decide on a game you want to make and as a team give a pitch presentation about your idea. Pitch presentation session is organized TODO 2017/11/02
  10. Join or form a team. Mind the Team rules at the bottom of this page. (Deadline: 2017/11/01). You can use this shared spreadsheet to track who is available (who does not have a team yet) for that.
  11. Decide whether your team needs some mini-grant money for SW or HW or assets. (Mini-grant application deadline: TODO[Cy] 2017/11/10)
  12. If you received a mini-grant, submit invoices to Cyril Brom. (VERY hard deadline: TODO[Cy] 2017/11/26)
  13. Meet all deadlines, attend to all mandatory events.
  14. Create a magnificent game prototype!
  15. You will pass the course with A if you manages to collect at least 89 points AND you will participate on the experiment. See bottom of the page for grading details.

SCHEDULE

Note that end-times can vary.

 Legend Lectures / Blocks Deadlines / Mandatory events Optional events Experiment
Date Entry Place Notes
2017/10/06

(9:00-11:00)

Introductory lecture

(for everybody, mandatory)

MFF UK, S1 Led by Otakar Nieder, Martin Klíma and Jakub Gemrot.

Handouts for the experiments.

Announcement of the theme for this year.

2017/10/06

(15:00-20:00)

Networking: Primer
(for everybody, optional)
VR gaming house at Hradčanská (map) We invite you to VR gaming house to experience the latest and greatest VR equipment – HTC Vive and Oculus Rift! Come and see (for free) what VR is about and meet your colleagues in informal and highly inspiring setting!.

Unfortunately we will have to split into two groups as the capacity of the gaming house is rather limited (15 people).

Beer will conquer the night then!

2017/10/13

(9:00-15:00)

Block: Design

(for everybody, mandatory)

MFF UK, S1 Led by TODO (slides, example GDDs:  2016).

Special talk: TODO Pavel Barák on GameDev Community in CZE and GDS, Lukáš Kolek on Indie game fonds.

TODO Prepare a short oral presentation about yourself (1 minute max): who you are, what kind of game you would like to make, what are your experiences and proficiency, what role would you like to have in the team and what you would like to learn during the course.

2017/10/13

(19:00-22:00?)

Networking

(for everybody, optional but highly recommended)

Some pub near Malostranské náměstí or Anděl Let’s meet together and talk about games and stuff in the informal atmosphere of warm pub and cold beer / cola / juice / water / pizza.
2017/10/13 Deadline: Sign-up to the conference

(for everybody)

Sign-up to the mailing conference, see information below.
TODO[Cy]

2017/10/13

Deadline: Sign-up for the experiment

(for everybody)

Sign-up to the experiment, see information at the bottom of this page.
2017/10/20

(9:00-12:20)

Block: Production

(for everybody, mandatory)

MFF UK, S1 Led by Martin Klíma.
2017/10/20

(19:00-22:00?)

Networking:

(for everybody, optional)

Some pub near Malostranské náměstí or Anděl Let’s meet together and talk about games and stuff in the informal atmosphere of warm pub and cold beer / cola / juice / water / pizza. Ideal opportunity to join some team or form new one!
2017/10/27

(18:30-20:30)

Pitch Session

(for everybody, mandatory)

MFF UK, S1 Pitch Session where your team will be presenting an idea for a game you would like to make in front of your future mentors. Prepared to be asked tough questions about your idea!

In your team, prepare a pitch presentation according to guidelines TODO.

2017/10/27

(20:30-23:00)

Meet your mentors!

(for everybody, mandatory)

Some pub near Malostranské náměstí or Anděl We will all conclude the day with a drink talking with your mentors about project management and game development.
2017/11/03

(9:00-10:30)

Block: Graphics

(for everybody, mandatory)

MFF, UK, S1  9:00-10:30
2017/11/10

(9:00-13:30)

Block: Programming

(mandatory for programmers only)

MFF UK, S1 Led by Otakar Nieder. Will be a bit longer, about 13:30
2016/11/02 Deadline: Team Registration

(for everybody)

Register your team; one team member has to send us an email on behalf of the whole team. State: name of the team, name of the game, all team members (their names, emails and what faculty are they from).

Submit the registration through mailing conference: SWI115@braille.mff.cuni.cz

2016/11/17-18 Game Developers Session

(for everybody, optional)

National House of Vinohrady, Prague Czech traditional gamedev conference, opportunity to get in touch with everyone who is doing gamedev professionally in Czech Republic. A place to be for everyone interested in game development. This year there are going to be talks focusing on gamedev indie funding!
2017/11/09 Deadline: GDD

(for everybody)

Every team has to submit a GDD for their game. You have to follow given template.

Submit them to (both via CC): otakar.nieder@gmail.com and jakub.gemrot@gmail.com

TODO[Cy]

2017/11/09

Deadline: Minigrant Applications

(for every team that is interested in getting a mini-grant)

You can ask for a small amount of money on gamedev SW & HW; this is a deadline for applications.
2017/11/10

(30 minutes per team)

Consultations: First round

(for everybody, mandatory, whole team must attend)

MFF UK, S1 Led by Otakar Nieder and Jakub Gemrot.
2017/10/21

(14:00-15:30)

GitHub: Gentle Introduction

(for everybody but primarily non-programmers, optional)

 MFF UK, SW1 Led by Jakub Gemrot.

As you are required to use GitHub as SCM for your project, we encourage everybody to attend this hands-on experience workshop with GitHub.

2017/11/25 Cyberspace 2017

(for everybody, optional)

Video Games and Society conference track.
TODO[Cy]

2017/11/25

(9:00-10:30)

Experiment 1st Part

(especially appropriate for students from Pilsen)

2017/11/24

(10:40-12:10
13:50-17:20)

Block: GameDev Talks #4

(for everybody, mandatory)

One-day mini gamedev conference. Czech game developers are invited to talk about their professional experiences.
TODO[Cy]

2017/11/24

Deadline: Mini-grant Invoices

(for all teams that received a minigrant)

Mini-grants — invoices etc. all given to Jakub Gemrot. If your team received a minigrant, you have to submit any invoices or bills to Jakub Gemrot (jakub.gemrot@gmail.com); otherwise, they will not be refund. Period.
2017/12/14 Deadline: Game Prototype Alpha Submit us you game prototype alpha version.

Use a service like uschovna.cz or wetransfer.com to submit your prototypes to (both via CC): otakar.nieder@gmail.com and jakub.gemrot@gmail.com

2017/12/15

(30 minutes per team)

Consultations: Second round

(for everybody, whole team must attend)

MFF UK, S1 Led by Otakar Nieder, Jakub Gemrot.
TODO[Cy]

2017/12/16

(9:00-10:30)

Experiment 2nd Part

(Only for those who attended the first part 2017/11/25)

 
2017/12/01-04

(48+ hours)

Ludum Dare 40

(for everybody, optional, open-event, invite even your friends!)

MFF UK, S8-11 The best worldwide game jam! Thousands of developers and games created in 72 hours.

Real-life site will be organized at MFF UK. You can come with your team and focus on coding your game prototype for 48+ hours! Or just work on some fun/ny small game. Extremely useful experience, highly recommended.

MFF UK students may even score extra credits for doing the game jam via course SWI159 (but only if they create a different game that they are woring on for GameDev Course).

2018/01/09 Deadline: Game Prototype Beta

(for everybody)

Submit us your game prototype beta version.

Use a service like uschovna.cz or wetransfer.com to submit your beta to all following emails: otakar.nieder@gmail.com, jakub.gemrot@gmail.com, martin.klima@warhorsestudios.cz, [TODO] milena.koljensic@gmail.com, zc.inuc.ffm.ivsk reverse-it morb

2018/01/12

(30 minutes per team)

Presentation Day!

(for everybody, mandatory)

MFF UK, S4 Present your game prototype final version.

Assessed by Otakar Nieder, Martin Klíma, Milena Koljenšič, Jakub Gemrot and Cyril Brom.

2018/02/??

(18:00-20:00)

GameDev Area Meetup Presentations

(for everybody, optional but highly recommended)

Prague Startup Center Meet local professional developers and present yourself, your team and your project publicly!
TODO[Cy]

2018/04/?

Lecture: Educational games and experiment debriefing

(for everybody, optional)

Extra post-course lecture regarding educational (aka serious) games including debriefing of the experiment you participated on.

Teams

Each team should game 3 – 4 people, 4 is an ideal number, 5 is a bit too many, you will have problem with management. Members of the team must be from at least two different faculties. Ideally, every team should have at least one creative guy/gal and a programmer. There can be at max 1 person from FF UK in each team. (Students from FF UK should not flock together!)

In case

Deadline for forming teams is: TODO 2017/11/04 !

We advise you to write your name into this spreadsheet that can be used to quickly check who still does not have a team…

Team Name
Members Game Title
Mentor Awards
1 Game

Repository

 

2
3
4
5

Deadlines

All deadlines are here to be met!

As in game industry itself, all deadlines are strict. If not stated otherwise, deadline TODO 2016/10/14 means the very day till 23:59:59 GMT+1. If you are unable to deliver, you have to mail us in advance explaining your problems. If you mail us after the deadline, you’re doomed (well not literally, you will not receive points, but that may ultimately lead to failing the course). Piece of advice to teams (and their “managers”), make sure all your team members is committing to deadlines, otherwise they might lose motivation working on the project if they found out they will not be able to receive A…

Project

In this year, your goal will be to develop a small casual game on a given theme (to be announced during introductory lecture TODO  2016/10/07) that can compete with other existing games on an international competition. Creating such game is a question of good game design and 15-20 days of programming and graphics making. You can check on projects from previous year. We will require you to form a team, write a Game Design Document (the link contains a template with instructions) and implement the game according to it. Finally, you will have to present and defend your game during presentation day.

Student teams are interdisciplinary as gamedev teams usually are. We aim at having a distinctive person for roles: programmer, designer, artist at each team. But it is up to you to form teams. Deadline for forming a team is TODO  2016/11/07. We require that all members creatively contribute to the project. No team member should be “hiree-to-do-some-dull-stuff”.

You can use our Facebook page or email conference to promote yourself or propose your projects. We are going to organize two informal networking events in some pub (TODO  2016/10/14, TODO  2016/10/21). You should also read “Teams Rules” section down above first (if you haven’t already)!

We are trying to find external mentors who have a lot of experiences with game development and team management. Each team should get one and you will have to report to them regularly; take this opportunity to learn from them!

You will have to pitch your project to mentors first (TODO 2016/10/27) as if they are investors (which they truly are, they will be investing their own time to you!).

You are also required to use Git as SCM (namely GitHub); if you do not know that is, ask your MFF colleagues ;-). GitHub provides you with many usefull stuff, namely it allows you to have a project’s front page, wiki, forum, etc.

As a part of the project we will require you to create a webpage that describes your game (example pages from 2016: Spring, 2015: Time Lapsus, Swappie).

Experiment TODO[Cy]

You have to attend an experiment related to educational games development. (Note for non-Czech/Slovak speaking students: This experiment is unfortunately held only in Czech, please, email zc.inuc.ffm.ivsk reverse-it morb for an alternative experiment, deadline 2016/10/15.) The experiment has two parts roughly three weeks apart and you have to attend both. The first one is around 90 min long, the second one up to 60 min long. There will be many dates during the term offered you for participation in the experiment, but no date after the term ends! For the first part you must sign up via Orsee registration system (deadline 2016/10/15). For the second one, you will receive special dates via email. When registering, check “experimenty v laboratoři”. After that you will start receiving weekly invitations via e-mail and you will sign up for a particular date via the link in the invitation.

You will see the dates scheduled in calender (Orsee, via link in e-mail) in more colours. The colours are not relevant for attending the experiment. You can choose any date.

There are two dates that are especially tailored for non-Prague people (2016/11/11 and 2016/11/25) as they run in parallel with consultations. So you do not have to commute to Prague just to attend the experiment’s first part. The second part for the latter date will be probably 2016/16/12 (for the former date, the second part is to be announced). If you have any questions, email zc.inuc.ffm.ivsk reverse-it morb.

Grading

You final grade depends on your team performance throughout the whole semester. Points are collected both by teams and individual members. Every team member can gain up-to 128 points in total. We will be sending a link to the scoring sheet through mailing conference, if you miss it, mail to jakub.gemrot@gmail.com who will resend the link to you.

Grade Point range
A (128-)99-89
B 88-79
C 78-69
Fail 68-0

You can receive points for various meetings / events / consultations / awards, 10 points == grade difference:

Opportunity Points TODO Event / Deadline
Signing-up to the mailing conference.

You are accredited with those points if you meet the deadline.

2 2016/10/15
Signing-up to the Orsee system for the experiment.

You are accredited with those points if you meet the deadline.

3 2016/10/15
Giving a pitch presentation

Whole team will show up and at least one member will give a presentation.
Every member is accredited with the points.

5 2016/11/02
Award: Best pitch

GameDev professionals will decide on the best pitch presentation.
Every member is accredited with the points if you meet the deadline.

5 2016/11/02
Forming a team

Team will send us an email with team registration information.
Every member is accredited with the points if you meet the deadline.

5 2016/11/07
Submitting GDD

Team will send us an email with GDD.
Every member is accredited with the points if you meet the deadline.

5 2016/11/10
Award: Best GDD

Lecturers will decide on the best GDD.
Every member of awarded team is accredited with the points.

5 2016/11/10
Attending first round of consultations

Whole team will attend the first round of consultations.
Every member who shows up before the consultation with their teams starts is accredited with the points.

3 2016/11/11
Submitting Game Prototype Alpha version

Team will submit Game Prototype Alpha version to lecturers.
Every member is accredited with the points if you meet the deadline.

5 2016/12/11
Attending second round of consultations

Whole team will attend the second round of consultations.
Every member who shows up before the consultation with their teams starts is accredited with the points.

6 2016/12/16
Extra: Finishing both parts of the experiment no later than 2016/12/20.

You (as a student) will be awarded with extra points for attending both parts of the experiment in time.

5 2016/12/20
Submitting Game Prototype Beta version

Team will submit Game Prototype Beta version to lecturers.
Every member is accredited with the points if you meet the deadline.

10 2017/01/09
Game Prototype Presentation

Whole team will attend a presentation day. You will present us your game, its gameplay
and every member will point out what they have been working on during a development. You will also appoint The Most Valuable Player of the team.

Lecturers will have a time to play your game as well as ask questions.

Every member is accredited with the points if you meet the deadline and give a presentation. Lecturers may decide to award each member of a team differently if they found out delivered prototype or given presentation to be lacking.

Note that you do not have to present Game Prototype Beta version you submit on 2017/01/06. You can still work on and polish your Beta between 2017/01/06 and 2017/01/13, just be sure not to drag new bugs in your game.

50 2017/01/13
Sticking to the game theme of the year

If you manage to convince judges that your game prototype is theme based (theme is to be announced), every member of the team will score extra points.

Theme of 2016 is: Feeling X (substitute X with a feeling you would like to evoke with your game)

4 2017/01/13
Award: Best Game Prototype

Lecturers will decide on Best game prototype.
Every member of awarded team is accredited with the points.

10 2017/01/13
Award: The Most Valuable Player in the Team

Every team will vote on the best team member, who will be awarded with extra points.

5 2017/01/13
Sum (maximum number of points you can score) 128

Mini-grant Application Instructions TODO[Cy]

  1. Application text must be submitted (that is delivered!) together with design documents till 2016/11/10 midnight (i.e., 11:59.59 PM GMT+1)
  2. There must be at least 1 CUNI MFF member within the team applying for a mini-grant.
  3. Application must include:
    1. Name of the team (together with names and affiliations of its members) and name of the project
    2. Concrete description what do you apply for.
    3. Concrete description how are you going to obtain it.
    4. Price including VAT (round up to 500 CZK).
    5. Reason, why do you want the “thing” and how are you going to use it within the scope of the project.
    6. How will your situation change, if you do not get the mini-grant.
  4. You can apply only for things that can be bought against a receipt (a bill for hardware or an invoice for services). If you cannot comply with this condition (you need real money), you might try to apply nevertheless, but it will lower your chances for getting the money.
  5. Everything you buy must “exist” and it will remain the property of Charles University. This applies to hardware as well as sounds, graphics, etc. (but that does not mean you will have to remove the graphics or sounds from your game at the end of the term). You must return the “thing” after you finish the project (subject for discussion, state your reason why you will need to keep the “thing”).
  6. Altogether, we can split up to 10.000 CZK. You may ask for any amount up to 10.000 CZK you consider appropriate, but in case of multiple high-quality applications we will split 10.000 CZK among the applicants.
  7. Evaluation criteria:
    1. Formal compliance of the application with the rules above
    2. Meaningfulness
    3. Game design document quality and quality of your project in general
  8. You have to buy the “thing” no later than 2016/11/25, bills must be handed to Cyril Brom no later than 2016/11/26. We will not refund bills after 2016/11/26. Period.

ČVUT Students

Please note that if you are ČVUT student, you have to write to Cyril Brom (zc.inuc.ffm.ivsk reverse-it morb) that you wish to attend the course. Send the email no later than 2016/09/29.

ZČU Students

Please note that if your of age 15-26 you are eligible for getting a “Žákovské jízdné” discount from ČD on trips between Pilsen and Prague.

Step-by-step guide (kudos to Olga Tesliuk, who has punched this through!):

  1. Buy a Žákovské jízdné card for 2 CZK at train station (they should have it available both in ČD and Regiojet desks).
  2. Fill in your name, surname, birthdate and towns you going to commute between (Pilsen – Prague); of course write this in Czech 😉
  3. Go to your student affairs at ZČU and have it signed (let tem fill “date from-to” for you).
  4. Go back to the train station and have it signed by ČD (you will need that card, your identity card – občanka, and 50 CZK).
  5. PROFIT!

Another generic step-by-step guide available here (in Czech only).