Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Game Design
Ira Fay, an assistant professor of computer science and game design, holds a master of entertainment technology and a master of information systems management, both from Carnegie Mellon University. His B.S., in computer science, is also from Carnegie Mellon University.
His primary research interests are in educational games, best practices in game design and development, and interdisciplinary collaboration.
He is the CEO of Fay Games, a game development studio primarily focused on games for educational impact. He previously co-founded the undergraduate game design and development program at Quinnipiac University, where he was an assistant professor of game design and development. Before beginning his academic career, Ira was a senior game designer at Electronic Arts (Pogo.com), where he led Pogo iPhone game development and released several top web games. Prior to Pogo, Ira worked at Z-Axis (Activision) on X-Men 3, at Maxis on The Sims 2, and at Walt Disney Imagineering on ToonTown Online. He is also a published board game designer.
This course is designed to give students a strong introduction to computer programming, with an emphasis on programming games. No prior programming experience is necessary. As the title reveals, this course particularly invites self-identified women, though all interested students are of course welcome! We will consider (and hopefully impact) the current gender imbalances in the professional world of game development. The course will include guest interviews with notable women in game programming. By the end of the course, successful students will be able to write programs of moderate difficulty and use C# and Unity to implement computer games. As a course that can provide a solid foundation for further computer science courses, this class will expose students to variables, conditionals, loops, functions, comments, and object oriented programming concepts. For more information, see irafay.com/classes.
Students will work in interdisciplinary teams to create four digital games during the course. Each team member will serve in one of several possible roles: Programmer, 3D artist, 2D artist, Game designer, Audio designer, or Project manager. The course will use Unity 3D as the game engine, which is used in many professional game development projects. Students who have taken this course previously are welcome to take it again, since each game development experience is unique. For more information, see irafay.com/classes. Prerequisite: An evaluation/passing grade from at least two courses in your chosen game development discipline (programming, art, game design, audio design, project management).
In this course, students will play, analyze, and design many non-digital games to deepen their understanding of game design. We will make good use of the Hampshire Game Library! Assignments will be project-based and are intended to provide both crucial practice of skills and useful additions to a portfolio. The course will include several smaller assignments to analyze existing games and design new games, as well as a semester-long project to contribute to an existing, ongoing, real-world game development project (such as the D&D miniatures game with 1500+ existing cards and stats). Frequent critiques and playtests will increase students' ability to give and receive thoughtful feedback, which is a key skill for game designers. To facilitate the substantial game playing and analysis that will be required outside of class hours, there is a reserved lab time from 7pm - 10pm on Mondays. Students are strongly encouraged to keep this time free in their schedules. Prerequisite: At least one semester of game design.
In this course, students will improve their digital game development skills and portfolios by working as a specialized member of a small team. As a prerequisite, students must have expertise in one or more game development disciplines, including 3D modeling, 3D animation, 2D animation, painting, programming, audio design, game design, or project management. The professor will provide game direction, but students will be responsible for developing all aspects of the games themselves. Students will pitch ideas for games and will work on games of their choice. Students will be encouraged to develop games using Unity and make the games available for free. All assets and code generated in the class will be released to the public domain. Prerequisite: At least two completed courses in a discipline or disciplines related to game development(programming, art, design, audio, management, etc.).
Students will design, develop, and publish a digital game in a single semester under the leadership and guidance of Professors Fay and Perry. Though the professors will provide team leadership and game direction, the students will be the ones creating the game, including game design, concept art, storyboards, modeling, rigging, animation, shading, lighting, compositing, game programming, tool programming, project management, audio design, marketing, and publishing. We will likely develop the game using Unity and ideally publish to the Apple App store, the Android Marketplace, and possibly more platforms as well. We will make a free game, and release all assets and code generated in the class to the public domain. Students are expected to be skilled in at least one discipline relevant to game development, listed above. Prerequisite: At least two semesters of course work in a discipline or disciplines related to game development (programming, art, design, audio, management, etc.).
In this course, students will learn the fundamental concepts of game design and how they apply to games, any designed experience, and our daily lives. Students will be exposed to many different types of games and explore game design themes across genres. Students will also develop and hone personal game design skills through practice and more practice. Frequent critiques will increase students' ability to give and receive thoughtful feedback, which is a key skill for game designers (and for life). Assignments are project-based and intended to provide both crucial practice of skills and useful additions to a portfolio.
What are the elements of a great puzzle or a great adventure? In this game design class, we will discuss the history of treasure hunts, create and playtest our own treasure hunts, and analyze the business elements of modern treasure hunts (yes, some professional game designers are making money designing treasure hunts!) The course will culminate in a campus-wide treasure hunt collaboratively designed by the students in this class.
Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Game Design
Mail Code CS
Adele Simmons Hall 216
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002