Dr. Marc Olano <>
Office hours: Online, MW 4:00-5:15

Recommended Text:

Agile Game Development: Build, Play, Repeat, Clinton Keith, Addison-Wesley

Course Description

In this class students will learn to apply their talents towards developing computer games. They will learn the processes, techniques, and toolsets used in game development from industry professionals. Students will learn about business aspects of the games industry and how to apply the principles of entrepreneurship there. Students will also learn how to function in an interdisciplinary team on challenging and complex projects.


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.

Final Demo

In lieu of a final exam, we will schedule a time (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. 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 virtual face-time with potential employers.

Class Topics

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. Here are a list of topics to be covered through the semester


These are the weights for graded elements of this class:

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

* This class is in the process of being added as an approved elective for the Entrepreneurship minor. This 60% of the course grade supports entrepreneurship.

Tentative Schedule

I'll update the online version of this schedule as we go. Check here for updates.

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.

UMBC Policies

Please see this document for UMBC Policies and Resources, including: