The Stanford community of games and game research-related websites.
Lead by Dean of Stanford Graduate School of Education, Dan Schwartz, AAALab stands for Awesomely Adaptive and Advanced Learning and Behavior. They create pedagogy, technology, and assessments that prepare students to continue learning and adapting. Our niche is the integration of cognitive science methods with years of classroom and programming experience to create novel and carefully tested technologies and theories of learning. A theme throughout our research is how people’s facility for spatial cognition can inform and influence processes of learning, instruction, assessment, and problem-solving. The AAALab has been primarily supported by the National Science Foundation, Department of Education, MacArthur, Hewlett, and Moore Foundations. It contributes to national panels, as well as advising companies and projects internationally, and it is a member of an NSF-funded Science of Learning Center called LIFE and Stanford’s H-STAR Institute.
SVGA is a community on campus dedicated to providing students with events on all-things-gaming. SVGA hosts quarterly LAN parties, company visits, and is working to bring game design classes to the student body..
Our main goal is to create a space in which people from diverse academic fields and gaming backgrounds can come together to discuss video games in a critical way. Stanford University has many scholars working on games and new media without any official group to organize discussions, share resources, and workshop ideas; we hope to create that space. It is our goal that members not only explore new video games but that they also become more familiar with the theory and critical ideas through the hands-on approach of gaming. In our discussions, we intend to foster interdisciplinary approaches to video gaming—including performance, film, critical theory, and game design—by providing readings and organizing speakers and discussion moderators. Graduate students and faculty from any department interested in discussing gaming with a theoretical approach will be welcome to join.
STANFORD GAME DEVELOPERS (SGD) club (Discord, mailing list). Stanford Game Developers is a new student group that brings people together to talk game design, work on games together, and celebrate each other’s work. This club puts on are small get-togethers called “Critical Let’s Plays” to play indie games and talk about them, and annual “game jams” that bring in students with different skillsets to spend the weekend making games together. The group is looking for more students to join club leadership, especially women and people of color!
Long-running campus group that offers a mailing list of events and a weekly broad gaming night.
Interactive media and games increasingly pervade and shape our society. In addition to their dominant roles in entertainment, videogames play growing roles in education, arts, science, and health. These talks bring together a diverse set of experts to provide interdisciplinary perspectives on these media regarding their history, technologies, scholarly research, industry, artistic value, and potential future. As the speakers and title suggest, the series also provides a topical lens for the diverse aspects of our lives.
The mission of the Virtual Human Interaction Lab is to understand the dynamics and implications of interactions among people in immersive virtual reality simulations (VR), and other forms of human digital representations in media, communication systems, and games. Our work is centered on using empirical, behavioral science methodologies to explore people as they interact in these digital worlds. However, oftentimes it is necessary to develop new gesture tracking systems, three-dimensional modeling techniques, or agent-behavior algorithms in order to answer these basic social questions. Consequently, we also engage in research geared toward developing new ways to produce these VR simulations.
Online computer game at Stanford University School of Medicine. Eterna is a game portal that allows players to design virtual RNA structures. Eterna most recently hosted a game event challenging players to build an RNA molecule that could simplify the widespread use of a tuberculosis test.
Game Design and game-related courses at Stanford (Current)
Digital Learning Design Workshop is a project-based course offered in Fall and Winter Quarters that students can take as part of the Digital Learning Initiative’s Student Accelerator. In hands-on workshops, led by prominent academic and industry experts, students will define specific learning problems, recruit teammates, develop an approach to learning and community building using digital technology, create prototypes, test them with target learners, and progressively refine them for potential entry in the Digital Learning Design Challenge.
A project-based introduction to web-based learning design. In this course, we will explore the evidence and theory behind principles of learning design and game design thinking. Over the course of the quarter, interdisciplinary teams will create a prototype or a functioning piece of educational technology.
Over the last few years we have seen the rise of “serious games” to promote understanding of complex social and ecological challenges, and to create passion for solving them. This project-based course provides an introduction to game design principals while applying them to games that teach. Run as a hands-on studio class, students will design and prototype games for social change and civic engagement. We will learn the fundamentals of games design via lecture and extensive reading in order to make effective games to explore issues facing society today. The course culminates in an end-of-quarter open house to showcase our games.
In game play, core mechanics refers to the rules of interaction that drive the game forward. This class will consider whether there are core mechanics that can drive learning forward, and if so, how to build them into learning environments. The course mixes basic theory, research methods, and application of learning principles.
Teaches how to design, build, and critique constructionist educational technologies. Consists of a theory-oriented class (CS 402 / EDUC 236) and a practice-focused lab (CS 402L / EDUC 211), which are required to be taken together. Can build a game for your final project.
Introduces fundamental methods and principles for designing, implementing, and evaluating user interfaces. Topics: user-centered design, rapid prototyping, experimentation, direct manipulation, cognitive principles, visual design, social software, software tools. Learn by doing: work with a team on a quarter-long design project, supported by lectures, readings, and studios.
Project-based focus on interaction design process, especially early-stage design and rapid prototyping. Methods used in interaction design including needs analysis, user observation, sketching, concept generation, scenario building, and evaluation.
This is the second course in the computer graphics sequence, and as such it assumes a strong familiarity with rendering and image creation. As a final project, students implement an interactive video game utilizing various concepts covered in the class. Games may be designed on mobile devices, in a client/server/browser environment, or on a standard personal computer.
This seminar series brings together a diverse set of experts to provide interdisciplinary perspectives on these media regarding their history, technologies, scholarly research, industry, artistic value, and potential future.
What changes in a musician’s brain after hours and years of daily practice? How do skills that make a great violinist transfer to other abilities? Can directed neuroplasticity be used to target skill learning? This course will include fundamentals of psychoacoustics and auditory neuroscience. Focus will be development of video games that use perceptually motivated tasks to drive neural change.
Social life would be unimaginable without play and games. Students will be introduced to social theories of play and games; the history of games and their variation; readings concerned with how play and games affect interaction and socialization; how race and gender are enacted in and through play and games; how play and games relate to creativity and innovation; and how games can be designed for engrossment and the accomplishment of various tasks and learning goals.
This seminar discusses a variety of legal issues raised by video games and game platforms. We will devote substantial attention to intellectual property matters, but will also include business and licensing issues, tort law, the First Amendment, and legal issues presented by virtual reality.
Contemporary virtual reality extends a long-standing quest to create a fully immersive, multisensory environment, a quest that may go back to the earliest cave paintings and includes such projects as cathedrals, operas, panoramas, theme parks, video games, and multimedia “happenings.” What is VR’s relation to this long and varied history?
Previously Offered Courses at Stanford:
This course aims to introduce students to the emerging, interdisciplinary field of game studies. We will investigate what games (including but not limited to digital games) are, why we play them, and what the functions of this activity might be.
EDUC 328: Topics in Learning and Technology: Core Mechanics for Learning
This project-based course provides an introduction to game design covering topics like 2D/3D Art, Audio, User Interfaces, Production, Narrative Design, Marketing, and Publishing. Speakers from the profession will provide relevant context during a weekly seminar.
Violence in the media and its effects upon viewers, especially the young, is an issue of national concern that has produced legislation for the ratings of movies, television shows, and computer/video games.
Lab. Studio-based, participatory, and user-centered development of casual learning technologies is explored, using the Apple iPhone as a prototype platform. The term “casual” is borrowed from casual gaming to denote that the learning technologies are meant for learners to use in “extreme informal” learning circumstances. The class builds on learning about and synthesizing knowledge, theory and development activity in four areas including learning theories, mobile technologies, games and participatory design processes.
Introduction to using Video Game Engines as art-making tools. Utilizing the Unity video game authoring environment primarily, students will create interactive and dynamic artworks and artifacts within the virtual space. Rudimentary 3D scanning of physical assets merging with the creation of digital ones combine with sound, physics and simulations. Experimentation with both narrative and non-narrative forms as well as display solutions (Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Printed Sculpture and Digital Projection) is discussed and encouraged.
Focus on a particular topic or process. Work includes aspects of reading short stories and novels, writing at least 30-50 pages of fiction, and responding to peers’ work in workshop. In the past, this class has involved games and interactive fiction.
Rhetorical analysis of readings, research, and argument. Focus is on development of a substantive research-based argument using multiple sources. Individual conferences with instructor.