Dr. Marc Olano <>
Office ITE 354
Office/lab hours: ITE 354; W 2:00-4:00

Recommended Text:

Agile Game Development with Scrum, Clinton Keith, Addison-Wesley

Formal Description

This is a capstone class, intended for graduating seniors (& sometimes juniors) in the GAIM specializations. In it, students will propose game development projects, plan them, form groups, and implement their plans. The goal is to have interdisciplinary teams, using a broad spectrum of what they have learned as undergraduates, collaborating to build interactive computer games.

Less Formal Description

Welcome to GAIM studios! I am Marc Olano, your studio executive. In the coming months, we will be developing some awesome games. First, you will pitch your game ideas. Some of those will be green lit for prototype development, and I will form you into prototype teams. In about a month, you'll need to show those prototypes. Some will be canceled, and some will be green lit for further development with a larger team. About a month after that, you'll have your alpha release and demo. By May, your games will be polished works of art bringing you fame and/or fortune.

Academic Honesty

By enrolling in this course, each student assumes the responsibilities of an active participant in UMBC's scholarly community in which everyone's academic work and behavior are held to the highest standards of honesty. Cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, and helping others to commit these acts are all forms of academic dishonesty, and they are wrong. Academic misconduct could result in disciplinary action that may include, but is not limited to, a reduced or zero grade, course failure, suspension or dismissal. To read the full Student Academic Conduct Policy, consult the UMBC Student Handbook, the Faculty Handbook, or the UMBC Policies section of the UMBC Directory [or for graduate courses, the Graduate School web site].

Plagiarism is the presenting of others’ ideas as if they were your own. When you write an essay, create a project, do a project, or create anything original, it is assumed that all the work, except for that which is attributed to another author or creator is your own work. Word-for-word copying is not the only form of plagiarism.

Plagiarism is considered a serious academic offense and may take the following forms:

Bottom Line: Do not present someone else's work as your own.

[Adapted by Neal McDonald from the Modern Language Association’s MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. New York: MLA, 1995: 26.]

Tentative Schedule

Class time will consist of an amorphous mix of things I think will help you succeed: lectures on game development topics, guest appearances by people from the games industry, time to work on your games, and milestone presentations. The in-class work days are so I can observe your team at work; you will definitely need to plan to work and meet outside of class. Also, the mapping of topics to weeks will certainly change depending on guest lecturer schedules. I'll update the online version of this schedule as we go. Check there for updates.

Date Topics Deadlines
Jan 29/31 Overview
Pitching your game
What is URCAD
Feb 5/7 Game pitches
Revision Control
Pitch Slides (Sun Midnight)
Game pitches
Feb 12/14 Prototypes teams announced
Feb 19/21 Research & Game Development
Prototype Demos
Prototypes complete
URCAD Paragraphs
Feb 26/28 Semester games announced
Team selection
Role assignment
Mar 5/7 Programming at a game studio
Mar 12/14 Art at a game studio Sprint 1
Mar 26/28 Budgets / Monetization Sprint 2
Apr 2/4 Lighting physics & perception
Apr 9/11 QA and testing Sprint 3
Apr 16/18 Resumes & Web Sites
Apr 23/25 URCAD prep
URCAD roundup
Apr 30/May 2 Draft resumes & sites
May 7/9 QA Beta
May 14 Presenting
May ?? Final Demos

In lieu of a final exam, we will schedule a reception (7-9pm) one evening during finals week to invite professional game developers to see demos of your final projects and meet the project team members. Food will be provided. Since this may conflict with other final exams, attendance is not required, but I will try to find a day when every team will be able to have some representation to do the demo. Plus, if you want a job in the games industry, this is a great chance to get some face-time with potential employers and share cards and/or resumes.


Grades will be given the following weights:

What Who Weight
Pitch Individual 10%
Prototype Group 10%
URCAD submission Group 5%
Sprint 1 Group 5%
Sprint 2 Group 5%
Sprint 3 Group 5%
Alpha Group 10%
Beta Group 10%
Final Demos Group 10%
Attendance & personal performance Individual 20%
Personal portfolio site & resume Individual 10%

Class Resources

This syllabus is a snapshot of the class web page. Important announcements and updates will be made to this page throughout the semester. I will announce if I make significant change or addition. Also, as we proceed through the semester, slides will be added as links in the topic list above.

This semester, I'll be using the blackboard site for this class for grades and discussion (not for assignments or the syllabus, you'll find those here). You can use the blackboard site for public communication with your classmates, the TA and instructor. You should either check this site periodically, or make sure it is set to send you messages. Please be aware of whether you are posting a public or private message on this forum. Post questions about assignments, exams, or questions that do not include material that should not be shared with your classmates publically. Feel free to post student answers if you know them. Be sure to either use private messages or email for questions about grades or other private matters.