Saturday, November 28, 2009

Game Certificate offerings


Click here for information on enrolling for CCSF Game Certificate classes in 2010.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Film for 10/30/09

"The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters"

The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
is an American documentary film that follows Steve Wiebe as he tries to take the world high score for the arcade game Donkey Kong from reigning champion Billy Mitchell. The film premiered January 22, 2007, at the 2007 Slamdance Film Festival[1] and has been shown at the Newport Beach Film Festival, the Seattle International Film Festival, the SXSW Film Festival, the TriBeCa Film Festival, the True/False Film Festival, the Aspen Comedy Festival, and the Fantasia Festival. The film opened in limited release in the United States on August 17, 2007, in 5 theaters, and by September 9, 2007, the film had expanded to 39 theaters in the U.S.[2] Later in 2007, it appeared on the cable network G4.

Friday, October 23, 2009

David Cox's gmail address for class items


Please use the below address to send me Game 100 related items:



Lecture: Urban Planning, Architecture and Video Game Space

This week & next week:

D.Cox will discuss basic spatial theory lecture comparing classic film texts such as Hitchcock's "Rear Window", "Dial M for Murder" as well as films such as "Dark Passage", "Sunset Boulevard" and "Blue Velvet" to video-games which rely for their effectiveness upon the user 'knowing their way around' the game environment as if it were actual space.
How cues such as sound, shadow, and other elements reinforce a player's sense of
"being somewhere" in “HALO“, “FAR CRY“, SILENT HILL, RESIDENT EVIL, "Myst", "Freak Show", "Bad Day on the Midway" and "Cosmology of Kyoto".

YouTube - David Perry: Will videogames become better than life? Game designer David Perry says tomorrow's videogames will be more than mere fun to the next generation of gamers. They'll be lush, complex...
YouTube - Rear Window (1954) pt.1/11
part one
YouTube - Sunset Boulevard (Wilder, 1950)
dir. Billy Wildermusic from Salome by Richard Strauss
YouTube - Dark Passage (1947) Trailer

Dark Passage (1947) Director: Delmer DavesStarring: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Agnes MooreheadComments: One of the first uses of POV in film. The first ...
YouTube - Dark Passage (1947)
. . . just a scene.
YouTube - Blue Velvet Part 1

YouTube - Rollercoaster tycoon 2 coaster design Please, visid my site! =DThis is my first video I made with Windows movie maker. Now my vidieos have sound.This song is called: Club...
YouTube - A Hearts Desire- Using The Movies Lionhead Studios
Before any of you ask, no this is not a sims 2 game :P This short flick was made using the PC game The Movies. But I must admitt, this movie looks like it co...
YouTube - (Lionhead Studios The Movies) The RueBS Chronicles: Attack of the Clones
Rubeus Eden is at it again. And this time, he thinks I have a bunch of clones and kill his civilians.Done with Lionhead Studio's "The Movies." Th...

Bookmarks Toolbar


In 2 weeks on Friday, Nov 6, 2009

Completed Item 2 Projects due - remainder of time between the start of Nov
and the end of the course will be troubleshooting main assignments.

Also - Written "Cultural Issues" Essay Due

In Class exercises for today

Pick up where we left off last week where students take an image from fine art, film or photography history and use it as the basis for an idea for a videogame.

In class exercise 2:

Think of an idea for a game that permits the player to construct something you have not seen in commercial games (no cities, buildings or vehicles). Assume that you will constrain the players abilities via an economy but allow him to earn new tools and features for his construction over time.

Design a set of elementary parts from which the item may be constructed and specify a price for each part.

Include a number of upgrades - more expensive parts that replace cheaper versions.


Write a short paper (2 paragraphs) explaining the domain in which the player will be creating and supply your list of parts, given them in the order in which the player will earn the ability to buy them (cheapest to most expensive).

Also indicate in a general way how the player can use the item he constructs to earn money.

Friday, October 16, 2009

In Class Assignment 10/15 GAME WORLD DESIGN

1) Imagine that you could use any content you liked in a game without regard for copyright. Choose one of hte following game genres and then select a famous painter,photographer, or film maker, and a famour composer or musician, whose work you would like to use to create the appropriate emotional tone for your game.

Create a short presentation (e.g. use Powerpoint or similar) that shows how the images and the music work together for your purposes. The genres are:

ACTION (survival horror sub-genre)

REAL-TIME STRATEGY (modern warfare)


Feel free to use google to search for images from fine art history, photography, painting. You can use the sites of the major galleries around the world - e.g. Tate gallery, museum of modern art, Guggenheim Gallery, or wikipedia - assemble a number of images and put together a presentation on a game based on one or more of these images.

This link has links to the major Art Galleries of the world

Post your finished presentation to your blog using google docs 'share' function (it gives you a URL when you have uploaded your file; - post this URL to your presentation on your blog.

Email me the blog address -

1) Complete the rule set for your group's "Us VS It" game

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday, October 2, 2009

Next week's class - on 10/9/09

Next week lecture – GAME CONCEPTS

Presentations –

In-class exercise “Us vs It” board game – collaborative game design assignment

Homework – each team to assign a member to put game elements on cardboard & cut out ready for next week

Complete ‘level design’ list as outlined in this week’s blog entry for in-class ex.

Chapter 2 Ernest Adams lecture powerpoint

Click here for the powerpoint from today's lecture on chapter 2 of Ernest Adam's "Fundamentals of Game Design"

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Interview with Shigero Miramoto

Click here to view a October 2002 Interview with Shigeru Miyamoto, game footage includes Zelda: The Wind Walker, Metroid Prime and Animal Crossing.

Questions asked about if his family and children influences his design, about how now he oversees games and if that takes away from the more hands on role he had previously. Then moving onto the new Metroid (Prime) game and if it would be more open like previous Metroid games, then if Japanese players would respect the first person view, and his role in it. He is then asked about how the idea for Animal Crossing (NGC) came across. Then moving onto Zelda (The Wind Walker), and if it is the first chronologically, then if so how come he has a sister and she disappears in "later" games. He then gets asked about how come there seems to be a lot of emphasis on co-operative play in his games.

Wiki entry on Miramoto

Videogame design interview

Click here to view the interview with Masahiro Kumono of SEGA WOW Inc., about Kunoichi (Japanese release name, roughly: "Female Ninja") / Nightshade (English release name), from October 2003.

Questions are all about the game, and its design. Footage includes that from the game's CD sequences, and some gameplay (the game was near release at the time).

Kikizo's page on this video is here

Videogame-related footage taken from Kikizo's archives.
[Thanks to for donating this footage.]

In Class Assignment 10/2

Document the level progression of a well known game that you have played all the way through, such as StarCraft or Fallout3. (If the game does not have explicit levels, as in Half-Life, document major areas or sections of the game.) Describe the game world in each level and the types of challenges that it presents. If the levels are integrated into a story, explain how each level supports or relates to the story.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Highly Recommended Book

This book "Fundamentals of Game Design" (2nd Edition) by Ernest Adams is HIGHLY recommended for all Games 100 students.

In-Class Exercise 1

Using the chessboard and the types of pieces and moves available in chess, devise a cooperative game of some kind for two people, in which they must work together to achieve a victory condition (You do not need to use the starting conditions of chess, nor all the pieces). Document the rules and the victory condition.

In Class Exercise 2

Create a competitive game for two players and a ball that does not involve throwing it or kicking it. Prove that it is a game by showing how it contains all the essential elements.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Brenda Laurel on making video games for girls

Some more women and games links

Games as forms of social control

Can "girl games" transcend shopping, fashion and babies?

Games For Girls Part 1: Portraying Society, Culture And BFFs

Gamasutra - Girls 'n' Games event

Look at this link for the 'Girls and Games' event:

"Whether in different countries or different stages of life, females are undoubtedly drawn to gameplay. Women can step into development and create games for new generations, but diversity is essential as well. By relating to both men and women, researchers and developers can analyze cross-gender play, which is invaluable to the growth of games, as concluded by the wide range of panelists at the Girls ‘n' Games conference."

Women and Games Culture Presentation

This site has a presentation by Aleks Krototski on Women and Games Culture.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I have no words I must design - .pdf document on game design

This recently updated .pdf article was published in 1994 in Interactive Fantasy #2, a British roleplaying journal.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Please email me with your 1500 word game proposal by Monday 21st September

Game 100 students

Please email me with your (either group or individual) game proposal documents (1500 words) to this address:

by 5pm Monday 21st September 2009.


David Cox

play pinball online

In-class exercise - 45 minutes.

Play at least three of the following online java pinball games and report your favorite to class afterwards.

Answer these questions:

1) What is "good gameplay" when it comes to pinball game design?

2) How do pinball playfield designers create exciting experiences?

Today's Class

Lab Session

WRITTEN GAME DESIGNS PROPOSALS DUE TODAY!! - 1500 word or 2 page document describing original game idea which is also to be presented in-class using powerpoint or similar presentation. If you have not yet presented - let me know when you would like to present your proposal this week or next week.

Games show and tell

Students bring in examples of video-games from elsewhere, either in the form of
examples from home, or via downloaded demonstration games from the internet and discuss them in terms of genre, target market, type of hardware used, various cultural and economic assumptions implied by the title etc.

TODAY - ROB - 15 minutes

MILESTONE: Video-game design proposal & sales document main idea due today


"Team Nicholson" - Phil, Blake, Rebop, 30 minutes presentation

"Team KRP" - NIkolai, Gerald, Efram - 30 minutes presentation

Friday, September 11, 2009

Game Plan elements

Class, while preparing your game plan presentations (this is the either individual or group-based in-class presentation of your game design or game prototype idea), be sure to list the following:


Game Title
(two paragraphs)


Target Audience



Video and Audio Highlights

Competitive Game Analysis (i.e. what other games it is similar to, different from etc)

System Requirements

Minimum System Requirements:

Console or PC Operating System –

Processor –Ram –

Video –

Hard Drive –

Display –

Recommended System Requirements:

Console or PC Operating System –

Processor –Ram –

Video –

Hard Drive –

Display –

The Game Makers - Arcade Episodes

Part One

Part Two

Vintage Game Superstore

"Tilt: The Battle to Save Pinball"

We will be watching this movie in its entirety next week (September 18th). Clips from the film will be shown today as part of the arcades lecture.

History of Pinball

History of Pinball Machines

Wiki - Timeline of Arcade Game History

Very useful timeline resource for media archeology and media history

The Killer List of Arcade Games

The Killer List is Here

Find as many as you can remember and write a list in your notebook.

1980s arcade games

Here is a link to a Java-based "Play 1980s Games" site online.

In-class exercise:

Please play four of these games and answer the questionnaire (the one handed out as a paper document - 3 per student)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Cartoon Network Game Creator Exercise

Answer the following questions on a separate text file:

A) What options are available to you as a 'game designer'?

B) How are these options provided?

C) What types of elements are provided for you to use to 'build' the game?

D) What limits are set on the level of the game play able to be customized

E) What does the process of using these game creators teach about the notion of the 'difficulty and achievement' balance? Explain using an example from your research.

When you are done, trade places with another student and have them answer the following questions.

1) Is the game level fun to play? (be honest!)

2) If so, why? If not, why not?

3) What could be done to improve the level?

Email the answers to the above three questions to the student who created the game.

Cartoon Network Game Creator Exercise

Answer the following questions on a separate text file:

A) What options are available to you as a 'game designer'?

B) How are these options provided?

C) What types of elements are provided for you to use to 'build' the game?

D) What limits are set on the level of the game play able to be customized

E) What does the process of using these game creators teach about the notion of the 'difficulty and achievement' balance? Explain using an example from your research.

When you are done, trade places with another student and have them answer the following questions.

1) Is the game level fun to play? (be honest!)

2) If so, why? If not, why not?

3) What could be done to improve the level?

Email the answers to the above three questions to the student who created the game.

Gmail Tasks


Please today if you have not already done so - set up the following:

1) A Gmail Account - go to to start an account. You will need an existing email account to use to verify your password etc.

2) Using your gmail account, try the following services that come with it -

a) google docs - make a text doc and save it, make a simple presentation doc and save it.

b) start a google site - you can make as many of these as you like, but start by making one based on this class e.g. "My Exploring Game Worlds" site. Add some graphics (you can link to those which already exist on the web by adding the URL for the image) and try adding a link to a youtube clip, preferable games-related.

c) start a blog at - give a name like "your_name_exploring_game_worlds". This blog will be your weekly repository of notes, comments, links, and any other material you generate for the course for you as an individual. When you work with others, you can collaborate with them on google docs, google sites, and even blogs.

Cartoon Network Game Creators

Go to the cartoon network game site and choose the following 'game creator' games - e.g. 'Batman' game creator and the 'Alien Force' game creator (you need to scroll through the menu of 'all games' to find these.

Answer the following questions on a separate text file:

A) What options are available to you as a 'game designer'?

B) How are these options provided?

C) What types of elements are provided for you to use to 'build' the game?

D) What limits are set on the level of the game play able to be customized

E) What does the process of using these game creators teach about the notion of the 'difficulty and achievement' balance? Explain using an example from your research.

When you are done, trade places with another student and have them answer the following questions.

1) Is the game level fun to play? (be honest!)

2) If so, why? If not, why not?

3) What could be done to improve the level?

Email the answers to the above three questions to the student who created the game.

"Us versus It" board game kit

This board game designing activity is one of a number of workshops undertaken at the games developers conference to help build the craft of gameplay and game design.

This link has all the components you need to build the game - the pieces and board need to be transferred to cardboard (i.e. printed then glued, or printed on sticker paper then stuck onto card).

This will be an in-class activity during September for Game 100

Friday, August 28, 2009

Trigger Happy by Stephen Poole

Much of the book is online at Google Books. But buy a copy, its an excellent read.

Will videogames become better than life?

TED conference talk video on videogame development over the years

game appraisal template

Click here to obtain the game appraisal template. Use it to evaluate the games played in class.

Download the form from the site to your machine and save it to the desktop before filling out (one form per game).

Thursday, August 27, 2009

college vs real world

An excellent article from gamasutra on the benefits of both college and real world experience:

Coursework vs. The Real World
- Matthew Baxter

There has been much discussion in the gaming press about the merits of game courses that teach a lot of theory compared to those with strong industry links and an emphasis on industry ready skills. I went and spent thousands of pounds on the former, and have since had periods of regret and also periods of being glad I did such a course.

These types of courses have received much criticism from leading industry figures, most of whom continue to make uninspiring shooters and alien based games. What many people do not realise is that to create experiences that people want to connect with, you need to understand humans as much as C++.

Practical skills learned at university are of course important, and this could have created many problems for me when moving into the commercial world. My course, at London South Bank University, is certainly easy to ridicule. For a start, it's called "Game Cultures" but unfortunately has nothing to do with fish cultures.

It is also a proudly media theory-heavy course, and is placed within the university's media and humanities department. We spent much more time learning about Michel Foucault than mathematics. But this difference in strategy has given me a mindset that allows me to consider the player in interesting, and sometimes new ways.

After learning about people such as Foucault and Freud, the topic of semiotics became a topic of great interest and eventually became the basis of my dissertation. So, what is semiotics, you ask? Well, consider the word "mum". This has literal meanings such as "female with children". But it also has connotations, such as "caring" and "loving". But of course these connotations are different for certain types of groups or individuals. So, while some people may associate the word "mum" with "good cookery", others may associate it with "uncaring" or "bossy". This kind of study has changed the way I design games, and is something others on similar courses should also embrace.

Using semiotics as an example of what can be learned from these types of game courses, there are many ways that these can be useful in the real world. Every time you create an element in a game you need to consider important theoretical points. While these examples are simple, studying such topics speeds up the design process and allows for more things to inspire the design. Games such as Flow come from the mindsets that theory-heavy courses sometimes create. These courses push students to move away from creating generic games, such as shooters, and consider new ideas focused on real human aspirations and feelings. So, more games that make you think about politics, and less where all you need to think about is your ammo levels.

So there is much that you can learn from a theory-heavy course. At first the topics can seem pointless and unrelated to video games. But games have obviously been around longer than videogames, and there is much interesting analysis of play. Often learning about play before videogames can also allow you as a designer to imagine simpler and more approachable interfaces, gameplay and art styles. Back then they had no controllers with more than a dozen buttons, so there is much to learn from the past. For example studying social games of the past and their rules can help you to evolve them for the digital age. The rules of these century old games have been adapted over many years, more than videogames could have, and from this much can be discovered about what makes a good game or bad game.

As mentioned, throughout such a course it is strongly advised to do work outside of the university. Taking what you have learned at university and transferring this to a mod team is a good example. The number of practical assignments, which produce playable games that an employer will find of interest, will probably be limited. So unless you create something superb and award winning as your final year project, you may come across a dead end when applying for jobs after university.

So, there are many options such as working on flash games or XNA games for the Xbox 360. Doing more than testing in a commercial setting in-between university is also immensely useful, as much of the above will be learned before you enter the real world after university. I was lucky to be taught by the owner of a small, local game developer. I worked hard, impressed him and got a job in the summer. Without this my resume would probably just been filled with testing positions, and in the future this experience will be very useful if I am on the hunt for a job.

So what can be learned at more liberal courses will be of benefit. But from this what will you need to learn on the job? And will the lack of practical skill based lectures create any problems? Well, the answer is a big yes, if you do not take the right steps. And a bit of luck also helps.

But doing any sort of work in the summers between terms and planning for work placements as early as possible is also extremely important. Even if this is as a tester, the contacts you make will be of importance. This could be a gateway to a job after university, as an employer will know you, they will hopefully understand how much of a hard worker and quick learner you are! From this you will have made a great reference on your resume, or you will be given a big boast getting a full-time job at the company. If you don't come from a well known games course, such as DigiPen, then this can really help. Especially if your courses name or topics do not evoke much interest or respect from prospective employers.

If you are successful in getting a job after university, whatever type of course you did, there will be a huge amount to learn. The most interesting is the new tools to learn. Other media students have it easy, as there are only so many photo or video editing techniques and pieces of software that students will go on to use in the real world of commercial development.

Therefore, experimenting with many different engines and creating actual finished games with them during university is of huge importance. Many students focus on one engine, often Unreal, but you need to be prepared in case certain engines or types of engines become unpopular in the real world. Or the companies using them go bust, as is the case these days.

Also, if you are prepared before and willing to stay a bit later during your first few months at a company then new tools will not be a problem. Often companies will have heavily modified engines or their own specifics tools for the games they develop. Therefore you will have to persevere and push through this challenge. As some of these developer tools may be for internal use only, the documentation will probably be lacking and the interface may be unfriendly. So it is up to you to get through without making too much trouble. You want to look positive and excited when starting, so it will be easy to get past your jobs probationary period. But never be afraid to ask questions about the new tools or development methods. This will show you are interested in establishing yourself at the company and will allow your skills to more quickly develop.

The always fun task of writing documentation will also change. While at university, students will be writing for people with knowledge of these subjects. While in a commercial setting you may be creating documentation for everyone from a publishers PR team, an external sound contractor or a financial partner. Using words or terms such as "gameplay" and "RTS" may be too difficult for them to understand. You may need to re-consider the way you write and read through everything, imagining you are not very knowledgeable about the games industry. Or if you are dealing with a company outside the industry, just write like they know nothing about computers. They may misinterpret something (sometimes on purpose!) and further along in the games development this may create problems for you and your company. So, you must be as clear as possible, and leave nothing to false interpretation.

If you are on a theory-heavy course and you are worried, stop worrying. Get out and active in the amateur community, send your resume to every company you can, bug your contacts for any work you can get and be honest to yourself about any holes in your skill set. If you do this, there is a great chance, even with this awful economy, that you will get a great job. Plus, you will have all the theory knowledge from university to enhance your influences as a game maker. Game courses are already breeding a new generation of game designers. I could never imagine something like Portal coming from a middle-aged, burnt out game designer. It is too fresh and ignores too many design stereotypes. I believe that as game courses develop, we will continue to see a new generation of really exciting game makers. I can't wait to see what else the new generation will come up with.

Game Industry Map

An online interactive map showing where key game developers are located globally (use it to look at the Bay Area)

Open Directory Resource on Game Design

Chris Crawford - *The Art of Computer Game Design*

Helpful and well-known online document covering the key principles of videogame design.

Game Career Guide

Helpful site aimed at games career seekers

Sloperama Game Design

Sloperama is a site with valuable resources related to video game design production.


The Gamasutra Website.

The very valuable online resource used by industry professionals and educators alike.
Check it regularly for news, articles and editorial ideas and opinion on everything to do with the videogame industry.

Breaking Into the Business

This link is an industry career breakdown of different types of jobs. It is hosted by the IGDA - the International Game Developers Association, a membership based advocacy group.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Exploring Game Worlds Syllabus Online

Click here to get the course syllabus online.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

About me, David Cox, your instructor

My name is David Cox and I'll be your instructor for Exploring Game Worlds this Fall 2009 semester at CCSF Mission Campus.

My background is in both motion picture production and videogame production. I live in the Mission area of San Francisco. I make films, write and teach at both CCSF and DeVry University Online.

My background is British/Australian, and I have been a long term visitor to the Bay Area since the early 1990s, when I first met San Francisco film makers at a film festival in Europe.

My own work can be viewed here:

Welcome to the Course

This blog is designed to provide students with information, links, websites and other resources pertinent to GAME 100 - Exploring Game Worlds.