Associate 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.
Through the lens of interactive fiction, students will improve their creative writing and digital game development skills by working as a member of a small, interdisciplinary team. As a prerequisite, students must have expertise in creative writing and/or game design. No programming experience is required, though some light programming will be included in the course. Students will pitch ideas for games and will work on games of their choice. To obtain instructor permission and more information, see irafay.com/classes. Students will be encouraged to develop games using Twine or other appropriate interactive fiction tools, and will ideally make their games available for free. All assets and code generated in the class will be released to the public domain. To facilitate group work, there is a reserved lab time from 10:30am - 1pm on Fridays.
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. Student interest will determine the specific games to be studied, but could include D&D miniatures, Magic: the Gathering, Star Wars: Destiny, and a large variety of strategy board and card games, etc. Frequent critiques and playtests will increase students' ability to give and receive thoughtful feedback. To facilitate the substantial game playing and analysis that will be required outside of class hours, there is a reserved lab time from 1 pm - 3:50 pm on Fridays.
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 design, develop, and publish a digital game in a single semester under the leadership and guidance of Professors Fay and Kurdali. 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 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.
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. The course will culminate in a campus-wide treasure hunt collaboratively designed by the students in this class. The hunt will be held on Earth Day (April 22) and will reinforce the themes of Earth Day, including sustainability and environmental protection. There is a required lab time on Friday to facilitate group collaboration and scheduling, since much of the course involves teamwork.
Twitch.tv is a notable video streaming site that has had huge impact on game development and marketing. In this course, students will explore the intersection of game design, development, and marketing with Twitch. Furthermore, we will learn about best practices for Twitch-integrated game development, discuss Twitch-specific cultural issues, and actually make games that integrate with Twitch. 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.) Students should be aware that developing a Twitch-integrated game can have 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.