COM 472: Digital Storytelling
////// spring 2017 //////
////// instructor information //////
Dr. Steven Hammer
301 Bronstein Hall
office hours: 1-3pm, Monday-Wednesday, or by appointment
for appointments: hammer.youcanbook.me
////// course information && policies //////
In this course, students will:
- Learn the theory and practice of digital storytelling via game design;
- Develop working knowledge of Unity3d;
- Work collaboratively to conceptualize, build, and revise a game that intersects with social justice issues.
Students in this course will critique and create a variety of digital stories through multiple lenses. Topics include 1) the lens of craft (narrative paths, spectatorship, structure); 2) the lens of convergence (trans-media storytelling, immersion, and storytelling via games); and 3) the lens of social change (first-person narratives, documentaries, and social justice), 4) the lens of aesthetics (style, time, and space).
Please familiarize yourself with the University’s Academic Honesty Policy.
Accessibility and Disability Support:
If you have any concerns as we begin–or throughout–the semester in regard to the accessibility of course materials or presentation, please contact me as soon as possible.
In accordance with state and federal laws, the University will make reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities. For those who have or think that you may have a disability requiring an accommodation (learning, physical, psychological) should contact Services for Students with Disabilities, Room G10, Bellarmine, 610-660-1774 (voice) or 610-660-1620 (TTY) as early as possible in the semester for additional information and so that an accommodation, if appropriate, can be made in a timely manner. You will be required to provide current (within 3 years) documentation of the disability.
For a more detailed explanation of the University’s accommodation process, as well as the programs and services offered to students with disabilities, please see the Student Resources Page. If you have any difficulty accessing the information on-line, please contact Services for Students with Disabilities at the telephone numbers above.
Attendance (being in class, on time) and participation (engaging with us while you’re in class) are vital to your success in this course. You are allowed two for the semester without penalty, so use them wisely. If you miss three to four classes, your final grade will be lowered by 10%. If you miss five classes, 15%. If you miss six, you will automatically fail the course. If you do miss class, you are responsible for the content you’ve missed (please don’t email to ask me if we did anything in class on the day you missed). If you miss days in which your group requires you, your grade for that project will likely suffer.
Revision, in most cases, is vital to both producing quality work and engaging in the process of learning new practices. Expect to revise your work, and know that I am nearly always open to considering multiple drafts of a project prior to assigning your final grade.
////// required materials //////
////// course requirements //////
(click HERE for requirements/rubrics)
- WEEKLY ASSIGNMENTS: 40%
- CAPSTONE PROJECT
- PROPOSAL: 20%
- GAME DESIGN DOCUMENT: 20%
- GAME: 20%
////// schedule //////
the typical week in this course will consist of assigned readings due the first meeting of the week, in which i will lead a discussion or activity. the second meeting of the week, you will work in small groups to complete small weekly assignments.
WEEK ONE: DIGITAL STORYTELLING & GAMES
day one: introductions. what is storytelling? games we play.
prepare: game ideas for analog game design assignment
day two: (W)= analog game design assignment
WEEK TWO: INTRO TO GAME DESIGN
prepare: download and install Unity Personal: https://store.unity.com/products/unity-personal
day one: the Unity interface & editor
day two: (W)=Candy Crush Contemporary Game Assignment; Journal Entry 1
WEEK THREE: CRITICAL THINKING IN GAME DESIGN
-Play/practice in Unity3D enough to get comfortable with the interface
-Find a free game made in Unity3D and play it
day one: game objects in Unity
day two: (W)= Unity Contemporary Game Assignment; Journal Entry 2
WEEK FOUR: GAME DESIGN THEORY
-An exhaustive list of game genres and sub-genres: http://www.allgame.com/genres.php
-The Strategy Game Designer’s Constitution: http://www.gamedev.net/page/resources/_/ creative/game-design/the-strategy-game-designers-constitution-r2758.
day one: Unity editor
day two: (W)= Group/idea formation & GameSketch, One Button Game Assignment
WEEK FIVE: STORY AND GAME CREATION
-The 7 keys of storytelling https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVcg9L6FLPA
-Guide for Creating a Work Breakdown Structure: https://www.workbreakdownstructure.com/
day one: terrain sculpting
day two: (W)= “consider this image” exercise; Game Design Document Entry
WEEK SIX: SYSTEM DYNAMICS & SCRIPTING FUNDAMENTALS
day one: basic scripting skills, characters, navigating environments
day two: (W)= Capstone Proposal Workshop
WEEK SEVEN: GAME DEVELOPMENT
prepare: Capstone Proposal Due in Class on Day 2
day one: No class, work on CapstoneProposals in teams.
day two: (W)= Project Roll a Ball: https://unity3d.com/learn/tutorials/projects/roll-ball-tutorial
WEEK EIGHT: INTERFACES, ENVIRONMENTS, ASSETS, ANIMATION
day one: Integration of counting game into capstone build.
day two: (W)= Resubmit Proposals, Build Scenes
// SPRING BREAK, NO CLASSES //
WEEK TEN: Lighting, Sound, Emotion
day one: lighting, sound, and emotion
day two: (W)= “Evoking Emotions” activity, Journal Entry
WEEK ELEVEN: BUILDING
day one: controllers
day two: (W)= capstone work
WEEK TWELVE: TITLE SCREENS
day one: title screens
day two: (W)= capstone work
WEEK THIRTEEN: TRANSITIONING AND LEVEL LINKING
day one: Transitions, Multi-level building
day two: NO CLASS
WEEK FOURTEEN: OCULUS/VR
day one: NO CLASS
day two: Capstone Work
WEEK FIFTEEN: STUDIO
day one: Capstone Work
day two: Capstone Work
WEEK SIXTEEN: STUDIO
day one: BetaTesting