Informatics Video Game Design Courses

NEW FOR FA2018! INFO 403: Game Design- Virtual Worlds. Instructor is Dan Cermak.   CRN = 70674.  Tues/Thurs, 3:30 – 4:45 pm in 2078 NHB.
Top Down Video Game Design: The emphasis of this course is on developing an understanding of top down video game design using the various design methodologies and tools introduced in class.  Students will form small groups (4-6) and work on their own design within a selected genre (to be determined at the beginning of the semester).  Areas of focus include high level design vision, audience evaluation, User Interface and its impact on the design, iteration of a series of design documents (high, medium and low level) and the team dynamics of communication, critique and integration.  The goal of the class is to have the small teams use the concepts and the tools taught in class to create a complete design document that will be cataloged.   Sophomore level or above.

NEW FOR FA2018! INFO 490 DC:  The Video Game Development Process.  Instructor is Dan Cermak.   CRN = 70697.  Tues/Thurs, 5 – 6:30 pm in 2078 NHB.
The emphasis of this course is understanding the video game development process as seen in current Game Studios. The course will focus on key elements of the process including each phase of the development timeline, scheduling, prototyping, iteration, QA, game builds and player research. Students will form small teams (4-6 with the goal of using the concepts taught in class to create a video game from a catalog of pre-existing designs. Considering the limited time frame of the semester, the state of the final product is not as important as understanding the game develop cycle. Prerequisites: Knowledge of a programming engine (preferably Unity).  Sophomore level or above.

NEW FOR FA2018! INFO 490 A: Makerspace Studio 2.  Instructor is Emilie Butt.  CRN = 65245.  Wed 3 – 5:50 pm in the FabLab.
This course is a foray into game studies via makerspace production mediums. Students will study the role of play, tinkering and gaming in design, research and innovation and be challenged to learn a variety of makerspace production tools and techniques to create games. This course will include three major components (1) physical board game design, (2) introductory computer game design and (3) investigation into the narrative themes, artistic production, interaction mechanics and culture that make games engaging. Class will meet in the CU Community Fab Lab in Art Annex II. Students who have taken a makerspace class before are encouraged to enroll. This section is for undergraduate students only.   Section AG (CRN 68913) is for graduate students.

INFO 490 JP: Designing and Programming Text Based Games and Simulations.  Instructor is Judith Pintar.  CRN 65396.  Wed 12:00 – 2:20 pm in 172 Armory.
In this course, you will be introduced to the “design work” of game authoring, and will apply these theoretical ideas to specific programming practices and skills. You will become proficient in Inform 7, a programming language and design system for interactive fiction (IF), and text-based computer games and simulations. By the end of the semester you will have developed a game or literary work of IF, and made a substantive contribution to a team-written, historical simulation project, dramatically recreating a key moment in Illinois history. This class meets with CWL 461 JP. No prior programming knowledge is required for students to be successful in the course. Students will be expected to bring a laptop to class. Sophomore level or above.

New on the Blog – SP18 Special Topics Courses

Hi all!

The Spring 2018 Class Schedule is now live!

I’ve added a list of SP18 Special Topics Courses to the Course Suggestions tab above. Check it out – there are lots of interesting courses being taught in the spring, from Harry Potter & Western Culture to Andean Languages to Epigenetics!

Happy searching.






New Course – Stereotypes, Prejudice, and Discrimination

GCL 144
Stereotypes, Prejudice, and Discrimination
3 hours
11:00 – 11:50 MWF

*counts for Social/Behavioral Science General Education credit*
*taught by Chadly Stern, Assistant Professor of Psychology*
*small class size (25 students), with opportunities to tour labs and design experiments*

Where does prejudice come from, and how can it be prevented? What are the societal consequences when people are treated differently based on their race, gender, and sexual orientation? How do researchers use scientific methods to study these types of questions? In the course Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Discrimination (GCL 144), we will cover these types of questions and more. This course is intended for first-year undergraduate students who are broadly interested in learning about behavioral science methods and questions related to inequality. This course counts as a Behavioral Science Requirement, and is open to all students, regardless of their specific major. This course will meet Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 11-11:50 AM.

Generally speaking, this class will introduce students to the basics of utilizing behavioral science methods, and how those methods can be applied to understand factors that shape societal inequality. Throughout this course, students will have opportunities to experience the inner workings of the behavioral science research process through touring UIUC behavioral science laboratories, completing and discussing measures of stereotyping and bias employed in the behavioral sciences, and designing and proposing their own empirical studies that would address questions related to inequality. A particular focus will be given to modern research methods that span across multiple areas of inquiry in the behavior sciences (e.g., social and cognitive psychology, organizational behavior). Additionally, students will learn basic skills of how to read, analyze, and critique behavioral science literature, as well as how to convey their ideas in written and oral formats and provide critical feedback on others’ ideas. In doing so, students will build critical thinking skills and gain competence in communicating their ideas to others.

LAS 199 Course for Internship Credit


LAS 199 PDS: Professional Development Seminar
Spring Semester 2017 (16 weeks)
1 credit
Tuesdays from 3-3:50 pm
CRN 64793
Instructor: Robin Mosley Vaughan

The purpose of this course is to establish professional competencies for Liberal Arts & Sciences students engaged in a professional experience (internship, service learning, part-time job, etc.) during the semester. Students will connect their academic disciplines and professional experiences in order to assist in their professional development. This class will reinforce these work experiences by fostering peer reflections and professional development competencies that highlight content learned. Note that you are receiving credit for the course not the professional experience. Students interested in taking this course must fill out an the following application for approval:

New Course

CWL 151: The Literature of Medicine in Action
Spring 2017 MWF, 11-11:50am
General Education course – Humanities and the Arts

Course Description:
Medicine is about taking action. Headlines heralding bold new advances in treatment and TV shows about doctors taking huge risks to help their patients attest to that simple fact. Compared to these popular portrayals of medicine, portrayals in works by key authors of Western literature can seem inactive, abstract or irrelevant. Yet by reading these works alongside their many fascinating stage, film, radio and even anime adaptations, we will see that they speak to very real, very active issues. Taught by a MD/PhD candidate with feet in the worlds of both medicine and comparative literature, the course is geared toward a variety of student needs and interests, from pre-medical students seeking enrichment that is as academically rigorous as their scientific prerequisites to humanities majors seeking in-depth exposure to canonical literary works. The course will also feature a career component in which students will begin to think about how humanities training might be leveraged to set them apart on the job market and in the careers to which they aspire.


PSYC 468: Psychology and Law

This course was added to the Class Schedule for Fall 2016 after the end of the spring semester. Some of you may be interested in the course.

PSYC 468 – Psychology and Law
MWF 12:00
Section UG
Prerequisite: Six hours of social science

Examines the interaction of social psychology and law. Topics include behavioral realism, dual process models of cognition, employment discrimination and discriminatory intent, affirmative action and diversity, liability and hindsight bias, tort damages and anchoring, rape victim blaming, race and police conduct, eyewitness identification and memory, false confessions, race and jury selection, and race and jury decision-making.

Counts towards the Cognitive Psychology concentration, the Social/Personality Psychology concentration, and the General Psychology concentration.