The Art, Science and Business of Games
This is an immersive course in designing, planning, creating and marketing videogames, as well as developing an appreciation for the "black magic" that goes into successfully producing them. This course examines the interplay of art, science, and commerce in the production, marketing, distribution, and consumption of historical and contemporary videogames. It combines perspectives on media industries and systems with an examination of the creative process, the audience, and trends shaping content. There will be invited discussions with industry leaders in various subject areas. Creating a prototype and marketing program will illustrate the challenges of producing videogames in a professional context. Meets with CMS.922 but assignments differ.
The past thirty years have changed the media environment markedly. Smaller, more powerful microprocessors and graphics chips, coupled with a wide variety of related transmission technologies and input devices have changed the way that many consumers now choose to spend their leisure time. The choices available today compared to just one or two generations ago are dramatic and only promise to increase in the years ahead. The focus of this course is on the most rapidly growing segment of new media—videogames. The sales of videogames now exceeds the domestic Box Office for Hollywood movies. What is the videogames industry and how does it operate? What creative processes and business decisions go into shaping the development of a commercially successful game? How do industry insiders handle the mix of art, science and business necessary to make commercially successful games?
This class will look at the history, people, and seminal programs of the games industry as well as examine the societal implications of videogames. Student will also develop a critical appreciation of the creative process, developmental requirements, and marketing of videogames domestically and internationally.
There will be guest lectures by media leaders intimately involved in the videogames industry where students will have a unique opportunity to learn from, and interact with, some of the most important people in the industry today—from designers and programmers to publishers and musicians.
Christopher Weaver founded Bethesda Softworks and has written or produced over 75 commercial games, including some of the most seminal sports and role-playing games in videogame history. Bethesda's "Gridiron" was the inspiration for the John Madden Football series, and their "Fallout 3" was featured in the Smithsonian's 2012 The Art of Videogames exhibit. Bethesda created The Elder Scrolls role playing series that has become the reference work in the genre and whose fifth chapter, Skyrim, is one of the highest rated Metacritic games of all time. At the recent Spike TV awards, Skyrim was named Best Game of the Year and Bethesda Softworks was voted the Best Studio of the Year.