IFDM 250 – Spring 2015

Introduction to Game Development

Instructors: Nathan Fabian, ndfabian@gmail.com & Jonathan Whetzel, jon.whetzel@gmail.com (Use subject “IFDM 250″ or it’ll end up in spam)

Course Website: tosos.com/ifdm-250

Course Textbook: GameMaker Game Programming with GML – Matthew DeLucas

Game Engine: GameMaker: Studio by YoYo Games.

Course Schedule: Spring 2015, Tue & Thurs, 4:00 – 5:15 pm, Mesa Del Sol Rm: 210

Office Hours: 
Nathan, Fri, 12:00 – 1:00 pm or by appointment, Hartung outside the PC Lab.
Jon, by appointment.

Summary: In tandem with innovations of modern computing machines, people have been devising ways to “play” with these systems through programming games on these devices. Video games have matured into an expressive medium rooted in using algorithms as the means for constructing interactive experiences. Building these games requires an understanding on principles of interactive design, computer science, and storytelling.

This course serves to provide fundamental knowledge on the process of video game development. Students will gain this hands-on experience on through altering existing games and making their own creations.

Class Structure: : Class meets every Tuesday & Thursday from 4:00 pm – 5:15pm in the IFDM Mesa Del Sol PC Lab (Rm 210). Tuesdays will normally be reserved for lectures, with Thursdays for lab review. Quizzes on Tuesday lectures will be held the following Thursday.

Assignments: The course will have several lab assignments throughout the semester where students will build their own non-video games and program new functionality into an existing video game. In lieu of a final examination, students will have a final project where they will build their own video game project. All assignments will require a playtest journal, documenting the changes in your designs as others play your games.

Programming Environment:  Students will use Gamemaker for Windows for all labs and their final project.

Turning-in assignments: Assignments will be submitted electronically to a repository owned by the instructor. Students must have their assignments checked into the repository by 11:59 pm of the due date. Any check-ins of your project following the due date will be considered late. The instructors will enforce penalties for late submissions.


  • Weekly quizzes (200 points)
  • Game #1: Board/card game (100 points)
  • Game #2: Top-down puzzle game (150 points)
  • Game #3: Side-scroller, Part I (250 points)
  • Game #4: Side-scroller, Part II (300 points)
  • Final Project (600 points)

Grade Levels:

  • Level of Master > 1440 points (Grade A)
  • Level of Journey(wo)man > 1280 points (Grade B)
  • Level of Tinker: > 1120 (Grade C)
  • Level of Youngling: > 960 (Grade D)
  • Level of Noob: < 960 (Incomplete)

Honor CodeWe will not lie, cheat, or steal nor tolerate others who do.  You will be expected to perform each lab assignment and final project to the best of your abilities. Those who gratuitously plagiarize from other students or external sources will receive no credit for the assignment.


week subject lab notes
Jan 13 & 15 Introduction/History of Games, Notes Intro to GameMaker Quiz #1
Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades: Players Who Suit Muds
Global Game Jam
HMTech Assets and Documentation
Jan 20 & 22 Game Design Pt 1, Notes Board Game Brainstorm Quiz #2
Game Assigned #1
Book Ch 1
Jan 27 & 29 Game Design Pt 2, Notes In-class playtest Quiz #3
Feb 3 & 5 Game Production, Notes Game #2 Starter, Assets Quiz #4
Game #1 Due
Game #2 Assigned
Book Ch 2
Feb 10 & 12 Programming Basics, Notes Game #2 Continuation Quiz #5, Inventory Example
Feb 17 & 19 Game Engine Architecture, Notes Game #2 Continuation Quiz #6
Book Ch 3
Feb 24 & 26 2D Graphics, Notes Game #3 Starter, Assets
Quiz #7
Game #2 Due
Game #3 Assigned
Book Ch 8
Mar 3 & 5 Collision and Physics, Notes Game #3 continuation
Parabola Test
Physics Test
Joints Test
Water Test
Quiz #8
Lighting and Paths
Book Ch 7
Mar 10 & 12 Spring Break Spring Break Spring Break
Mar 17 & 19 AI (Pathing), Notes Game #4 Starter Quiz #9
Game #3 due
Game #4 AssignedAI Pathing Demo
Mar 24 & 26 AI (Sensing, State Machine), Notes Game #4 Continuation
State Machine Example
Quiz #10
Final Project Assigned
Book ch 6
Mar 31 & Apr 2 Assignment 4 playtest/workday In-class game pitch (Final Project) Game #4 due
Apr 7 & 9 3d Graphics Final Project workday Book Ch 4
Apr 14 & 16 Networking In-class playtest Quiz #11
Basic Network Demo
Apr 21 & 23 Business Final Project workday Book Ch 5
Apr 28 & 30 Final Project in class demos Final Project in class demos Quiz #12
Final Project due
May 5 & 7 No class (Finals week)


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