Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Game Design
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.
How do we create engaging, interesting, fun games? A growing area of interest for game designers is "educational games." But what does research on learning, especially from games, tell us about effective design that leads to learning? In this course, students will read about, design and play educational games. Through hands-on, project-based work, students will work individually and in teams to create at least two games that teach. These games can be in digital or non-digital format. The class will collaboratively create a set of criteria by which all games products will be measured for solid game design and effective teaching. As grounding for this work, we will read and discuss primary research literature on game design, game theory, effective educational game design practices, and theories about learning and teaching. Evaluations will be based upon game products, class participation and a short paper documenting the theories behind the game products. Prerequisite detail: This course is suited for advanced students (upper Division II or Div III) with some background in game design, education or both.
For instructor permission and more information, see irafay.com/classes. Virtual reality (VR) is a cutting edge platform for game development that will likely see rapid growth in the near future. In this course, students will learn best practices for virtual reality game development, discuss VR-specific cultural issues, and actually make VR games. Students will work in interdisciplinary teams and each team member will serve in one of several possible roles (programmer, artist, game designer, audio designer, producer, etc.) The course will use Unity as the game engine and Oculus Rift as a VR platform, with possible other VR platforms as well. Students should be aware that developing a VR game has significant technical hurdles, but the rewards are often well worth the effort. To account for the effort required, the course also has a required lab time from 1pm - 4pm on Fridays that will be used for team collaboration. PREREQUISITE INFORMATION: An evaluation/passing grade from at least two courses in your chosen game development discipline (programming, art, game design, audio design, project management).
Students enrolling in this course should be actively working on a Division 3 project (first or second semester Division 3) related to game development, including analog or digital games. Students will collaborate with peers who are grappling with similar challenges, and provide structure and support during Division 3. Students will use class time to actively work on their Division 3 projects, playtest with peers and the professor, get help with any challenges or questions, and generally get feedback on the current state of their project. The professor will also have one-on-one meetings with students throughout the semester, and students will have the opportunity to connect with others who are working on particularly similar types of games, by genre or medium. Prerequisite: Students must be actively pursuing a Division 3 project related to game development (analog or digital). Students may be in their first or second semester of Division 3.
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).