Creating Video Games Course
Creating Video Games
Creating Video Games is a class that introduces students to the complexities of working in small, multidisciplinary teams to develop video games. Students will learn creative design and production methods, working together in small teams to design, develop, and thoroughly test their own original digital games. Design iteration across all aspects of video game development (game design, audio design, visual aesthetics, fiction and programming) will be stressed. Students will also be required to focus test their games, and will need to support and challenge their game design decisions with appropriate focus testing and data analysis.
A required subject for the energy studies minor, this class introduces students to basic concepts and methods of analysis used across the social sciences to understand how the production, distribution and consumption of energy are determined and experienced. The readings and discussion materials illustrate and analyze both the choices and constraints regarding sources and uses of energy, introducing students to diverse frameworks, theories, and conceptual tools (e.g. economic, organizational and managerial, political, social, and cultural) for describing and explaining behavior at various levels of aggregation (e.g. individuals, households, firms, social movements, and governments). As a survey of social science perspectives and analytic tools, the course is not intended to prepare you to be an expert in any particular area, but rather to prepare you to use the tools of the social sciences to understand and shape real energy decisions, markets, and policies.
The central insights of the course will include the importance of recognizing and taking account interdependencies among actors and systems; the need to make explicit what are often tacit assumptions and taken-for-granted habits of thought, behavior and practice; the unanticipated consequences of purposive social action; the heterogeneity in human conditions, cultures and societies; and the iterative reflexivity (volatile feedback loops) characteristic of contemporary social action.
We will show that what sometimes seem to be purely technical issues often have massive human, individual and collective/social components that must be dealt with to direct changes. There is no one solution to the energy problem, which is a, if not the, central piece of our environmental conundrum. Too often, however, we do not pay sufficient attention to the organizational, economic, distributional and cultural components of problems that have important technical dimensions.
The course will include examples of cost-benefit, organizational, and institutional analyses of energy production, transformation, and use as well as public policy choices affecting distribution and consumption. More specific topics include the role of markets and prices, financial analysis of new energy-related technologies; institutional path dependence; economic and political determinants of government regulation; the impact of regulation on decisions and feedback into the political/regulatory/energy system. Examples will be drawn from various countries and settings.
Course Goals for Students
Our main goals were to show students first that energy-related problems are not just technical/engineering problems; they generally have important economic, political, and social dimensions and, second, that the tools of social science can help one understand and take action on those dimensions. The course was intended to provide education, not training; we hoped that students in later life would know enough to seek out and learn specific tools as needed.