* formerly known as Game design for artists, mavericks and troublemakers

A hands-on game design and development course focused on innovative and expressive forms of gameplay. The class is structured around two main assignment, a non-digital game (or game-like work) and a digital game/installation. The emphasis is on the relational potential of games: multi player games, play as performance, location-based games and games for social criticism. The class involves frontal lectures, several design exercises and the radical transformation of "standard" games into meaningful / original / impossible / playable artworks. Or beautiful failures. Groups are allowed but all students will be required into some extents to produce graphics and code. Previous programming experience is appreciated but not required if you commit to develop the needed skills independently.

Term: Fall 2011
Course number: 60424
Classroom: CFA 303 or CFA 317 (PC Lab)
Time: 08:30PM - 11:20PM
Professor: Paolo Pedercini
Office: CFA 419A - 4th Floor
Office hours: By appointment
Email address: paolop [at] andrew [dot] cmu [dot] edu
* Being passionate about game might help but please keep in mind this is not a class for sharing our love for video games or video game culture. We'll try to approach the subject critically and focus on cutting-edge developments at the margins of the mainstream game industry.

* This is an art course and CMU School of Art is focused on conceptual practice, it means that your primary goal will be to create meaningful works (read: video games as new media) - not necessarily elegant, balanced, well designed, entertaining products. A more straightforward (read: games-as-systems-of-rules) and industry-oriented class is provided by Jesse Shell at the ETC.

* Making games can be a great and fun way to learn programming, but if you never wrote code before I strongly suggest to invest some time this Summer to test your tolerance. For my experience you'll realize pretty soon if you love it or hate it. There's no way you'll get it away without writing code.
Upon completion of the course students will (hopefully) be able to:

* Create playable games or prototypes with innovative gameplays or expressive/political value.

* Critically analyze the mechanics of games including its ideological and cultural underpinnings.

* Discuss their interactive works in the context of new media art and/or in relation with mainstream cultural production.

The first half of the semester will be focused on analog games and game-like art. You'll be required to conceptualize three projects, one of which will become the mid-semester assignment.

.Introduction: games, fun, play

.A social history of boardgames
Screening: Brenda Brathwaite - prototyping for tragedy (excerpt)

Play session: Boardgames

Boardgame concept. You have two options:
. Start from the general mechanic of a classic game and change its rules in a meaningful way.
Suggested games are: Chess (territorial acquisition), the Game of Life (roll and move), Rock
paper scissors (chance and pattern recognition).
. Design a simple print-and-play game about an socially relevant issue.
1 Week

.Rule-based art: Fluxus games and algorithmic performances. Performance art inspired by video games

.Synthetic performances: interventions in online worlds and experimental machinima.

Tutorial: Garry's Mod, screen recording tools.

Performance concept. You have two options:
- Devise a set of rules for multiple performers. Try to explore a theme like emergence, intimacy, trust etc.
- Create a proof of concept for a synthetic performance/non-narrative machinima.
1 Week

. In and out of the magic circle: overview of locative Games and ARG
Guest lecture: TBA

. Beyond orcs and dragons: the Scandinavian LARPing scene
Screening: Darkon

Produce a detailed concept for a location-based game, possibly for the campus area, that can be implemented with the set of tools discussed in class (txt messages, standard smartphone applications, QRcodes, GPS, AR…)
1 Weeks

Mid semester project.
Production and playtest. Groups of two can be formed.
3 Weeks


The second half of the semester will be focused on digital games. You'll be required to conceptualize three projects, one of which will be expanded into a final product for the exhibition. Frontal lectures will be integrated with technical tutorials.

. Radical interfaces: when artists design controllers

Design an alternative interface for an existing game.

. Mechanics, Dynamics and Aesthetics in video game design.
Play sessions: Indie games

Conceptualize a game starting from a visual or auditory inspiration. Produce a screenshot mockup that can convey the "mood" of the game. The possible mechanics will be discussed in class.

. New arcade: games for galleries and parties
Play sessions: experimental two player games

. Game luddites: artists messing with code

. Games for the masses: MMORPG and the rise of "social" games
Screening: Second Skin

Modify the (provided) source code of a game archetype and turn it into a multiplayer prototype.

. Playing with reality: activism, news and documentary games

. Joystick envy: women in games

. The military-entertainment complex: a brief history of war and games.

Final project
Production and playtest. Groups of two can be formed.


* Attendance: three or more unexcused absences result in the drop of a letter grade.

* Absences: you are responsible for what happens in class whether you're here or not. Organize with your classmates to get class information and material that you have missed.

* Participation: you are invited, encouraged, and expected to engage actively in discussion, reflection and activities.

* Net addiction: you can exist for few hours without tweettering, facebooking, chatting, texting or emailing. Any device for mediated communication is banned during theory classes, crits and discussions. A 1% grade reduction will result from being found using them.
During the lab hours you will be allowed to network as long as your behaviour is not disruptive.

* Assignments: late assignments are only accepted with permission of instructor. You lose 10% of your points per day late up to a max of 7 days late.

Tardiness: 1st tardy = free.
Less than 10 minutes late = 1% grade reduction.
Over 20 minutes late = absence (unless justified).


20% Assignments
30% Mid semester project
30% Final project
20% Class participation

Grading sucks but someone has to do the dirty job. Assignments and final project are graded according to these criteria:

E. The student failed to deliver the assignment.
D. The game/prototype doesn't work, has major bugs or is incomplete to a point that is impossible to get a clear idea of the user experience.
C. The game/prototype is functional and complete in all of its parts. Both the technical execution and the concept are sufficient but not outstanding.
B. Good concept and excellent technical execution. Or, vice versa, excellent idea and good technical execution.
A. Outstanding concept and implementation. Seriously, this is reserved to the top 10%.


As a reference here's a list of most of the games and works presented during the course. Some of them will be assigned as homeplay: play at home or during lab time and present it to your classmates in 5 minutes.
The classification is quite arbitrary, most games belong to more than one category.
The focus is on small independent games rather than big-budget AAA title because they are closer to what you can realistically accomplish during this course.

Wall Drawings by Sol LeWitt 196-
Open Score by Robert Rauschenberg (1966)
Motor Vehicle Sundown by George Brecht (1960)
Variations V, John Cage, Merce Cunningham Dance Company (1965)
Walking in an Exaggerated Manner Around the Perimeter of a Square by Bruce Nauman (1967-68)
Relation Work by Abramovic Ulay (1976-1979)
Fluxus Olympiads George Maciunas / Institute of aesthletics (196? / 2008)
The liminal surface by Ali Momeni & David Bithell (2008)

How to win "super mario bros" by Radical Software Group (2004)
You're dead Yan Duyvendak (2005)
Domestic tension by Wafaa Bilal (2007)
Inverse forensics by John Paul Bichard (2007)
Avatar Machine by Marc Owens (2008)
Show me how [not] to fight - Riley Harmon (2011)
F**K You Buddy by Recoil Performance (2010)
Humanoid Asteroid by Nick Fortugno and Samuel Strick (2010)

Velvet Strike by Anne-Marie Schleiner (2002)
My Trip to Liberty City by Jim Munroe (2003)
Suicide Solution by Brody Condon (2004)
Dead in iraq by Joseph Delappe (2006)
Come to Heaven intel - The artist painted in the space at 900 km-h by Gazira Babeli (2006)
Eva and Franco Mattes aka 0100101110101101.ORG - synthetic performances (2007)
[borders] by Mary Flanagan (2010)

Machinima and self-playing games
Exit by Magnus Wallin (1997)
Limbo by Magnus Wallin (1999)
Super Mario Movie by Cory Archangel & Paper Rad (2005)
Karma Physics < Elvis by Brody Condon (2004)
The 1k Project II - BlackShark (2008)
Sony bravia ad spoof battlefield 2 by snoken productions (2006)
Another Nekropolis by Foke (2011)
Here's my gift by Foke (2011)
Reverse by Foke (2010)

Art mods / hack
Ars doom by Orhan Kipcak (1995)
Museum Meltdown by Tobias Bernstrup & Palle Tornsson (1996)
SimCopter hack by Jacques Servin (1996)
retroYou R/C by retroYou (2000)
nostalG by retroYou (1999)
SOD by Jodi (1999)
Quilted Thought Organ ('QTHOTH') by Julian Oliver (1999)
Untitled Game by Jodi (2001)
Adam Killer by Brody Condon (1999)
Super Mario Clouds by Cory Archangel (2002)
q3apd by Julian Oliver (2002)

Examples from Nordic Larp by Jaakko Stenros and Markus Montola
Best Flamewar Ever by Eddo Stern (2007
Death Animations by Brody Condon (2007-2008)
Synergon by Dan Hope (2010)

Radical interfaces
PainStation by //////////fur//// (2001)
Tekken torture tournament by Eddo Stern (2001)
Flaming Simon by Lemur (2001)
Run motherfucker run by Marnix de Nijs (2001-2004)
Brainball by Smart Studio (2003)
Dance Dance Immolation by Interpretive Arson (2005)
Cockfight Arena by Eddo Stern/C-LEVEL (2001)
Sweetpads by France Cadet (2004)
Giant Joystick by Flanagan (2006)
Intimate controllers by JennyLC Chowdhury (2007)
Massage me by Mika Satomi and Hannah Perner-Wilson (2007)
Kiss Controller by Hye Yeon Nam (2011)
The Colour Game by Joe McKay (2003)
DarkGame by Eddo Stern (2007)
Feng Mengbo Long March: Restart (2008)
B.U.T.T.O.N. by CPH Game Collective (2010)
Johann Sebastian Joust by CPH Game Collective (2011)
Pong Prom by Dept. of Covert Athletics (2009)

Indie games - single player
Crayon Physics Deluxe by kloonigames (2009)
Everyday Shooter by Jonathan Mak (2007)
FlOw by ThatGameCompany (2006-2007)
FlOwer by ThatGameCompany (2009)
Flywrench by messhoff (2007)
The Graveyard by Tale of tales (2008)
Braid by Jonathan Blow (2008)
Enviro bear 2000 by Justin Smith (2009)
Limbo by Playdead (2010)
Trauma by Krystian Majewski (2010)
Windosill by Patrick Smith (2009)
ROM CHECK FAIL by farbs (2008)
The Sense of Connectedness by Michael Brough (2010)
Mondo Medicals by Cactus (2007)

New Arcade / multiplayer
Cowboyana by messhof (2008)
The Thrill of Combat by messhof (2009)
Nidhogg by messhof (2010)
Sleep is death by Jason Roher (2010)
At a distance by Terry Cavanagh (2011)
Spy Party by Chris Hecker (-)
Between by Jason Roher (2008)
Octopounce Anna Anthropy (2008)
Ping Pong by Cactus (2009)
Where I go at night by Pat Kemp (2011)
Finger battle by Rafaël Rozendaal & Dirk van Oosterbosch (2011)

Online / MMOG / Social
SiSSYFiGHT 2000 by Word Magazine (2000)
MS paint adventures by Andrew Hussie
The Endless forest by Tale of Tales (2008)
PlayPen by Farbs (2010)
Defcon by Introversion software (2007)
Cow Clicker by Ian Bogost (2010)
Minecraft by Markus "Notch" Persson (2010)
Love by Eskil Steenberg (2010)
Journey by thatgamecompany (2011?)
Swarmation by A game by Stefano J. Attardi, Zach Bialecki & David Miranda (2010)
4 Minutes and 33 Seconds of Uniqueness by kloonigames (2009)
Chain world by Jason Rorher (2011)
We the giants by Peter Groeneweg (2009)

Activist / Serious / documentary / advocacy video games
Hidden Agenda by Jim Gasperini (1988)
Vigilance 1.0 by Martin Le Chevallier (2000)
The Antiwargame by Josh On/Futurefarmers (2001)
Escape From Woomera by VVAA (2003)
September 12th by Newsgames (2003)
The redistricting game by USC Game Innovation Lab (2007)
Airport insecurity by Persuasive games (2006)
Climate challenge by Red redemption (2007)
Ayiti: The Cost of Life by GameLab (2007)
Global Conflicts: Palestine by Serious Games Interactive (2007)
Fate of the world by Red Redemption (2011)
Super Columbine Massacre RPG! by Danny Ledonne (2005)
Waco Resurrection by C-Level (2003)
JFK reloaded by Traffic software (2004)
Soviet Unterzoegersdorf by Monochrom (2005)

Graphics by Sebastien Feraut aka Niark1