MEAE: Technical Art Track
The Master of Entertainment Arts and Engineering degree is designed as a cohort model where students from all four tracks remain together throughout the two year program (fall and spring semesters only). Students take a series of courses focused on their specialty, as well as a series of classes with students from other tracks including game design, rapid prototyping, pre-production, and final projects. Each track also has a concentrated set of electives to choose from.
Students typically enroll in three courses each semester for the two years they are in the program (see below for a sample program of study).
Sample Arts Track Curriculum
Each of the graduate tracks have both shared and unique classes. Scroll to view the specific classes for each track.
- EAE 6300 – Technical Art I (3) (3 credit hours)
- EAE 6100 – Rapid Prototyping (4)
- EAE 6000 – Design I (3)
- EAE 6350 – Technical Art II (3)
- EAE 6110 – Projects I (4)
- EAE 6*** – Design II (3)
- EAE 6355 – Technical Art III (3)
- EAE 6120 – Projects II (4)
- EAE 6*** – Directed Elective (3)
- EAE 6360 – Technical Art IV (3)
- EAE 6130 – Projects III (4)
- EAE 6*** – Directed Elective (3)
EAE 6000 - Game Design I
Game design is at the core of the game development process. While the term “game designer” appears in various forms of game writing, design is frequently an eclectic and collaborative process. All MEAE students study game design, so that they may both have an opportunity to participate in the creative direction of games as well as better understand the design process.
This is the first of two seminars a student will take designed to educate students about how games are designed and produced. Design I is focused on a ludological approach to games, focusing on game mechanics, production processes, and game theory. Students will read works covering game history, ludology, as well as current practices in game development.
EAE 6XXX - Game Design II
Game Design II is the second seminar in which students study and design games as well as investigate the process of game creation. This requirement is met by taking one of a variety of courses offered and can focus on the final stages of game design and production, narrative approaches to games, user experiences, or ethics in games. Students will learn about critical perspectives, genre development, elements of game genres, traditions, and trajectories, as well as game post-production. Students will learn how to conduct and write a postmortem in addition to a game critique.
Sample Design II electives:
EAE 6010 – Level Design
EAE 6015 – Paper Prototyping
EAE 6020 – Ethics in Games
EAE 6025 – Serious Games
EAE 6030 – Experimental Gameplay
EAE 6035 – Narrative in Game Design
EAE 6040 – Games User Research
EAE 6045 – Games User Interface Design
EAE 6050 – Game Systems Design
EAE 6100 - Rapid Prototyping
This class is the first course of four in the game projects sequence. This section focuses primarily on rapid prototyping. Students will work in teams to pitch, prototype, and present games over a maximum of four weeks, resulting in a better more refined game pitch and prototype. During each prototype sprint, students will work on a different team. Additionally, a different design, aesthetic, or technical directive will define each sprint. Design requirements may vary from creating educational games, to specific genres. Teams will be made up of at least one producer, artist, and engineer. Four or five games will be prototyped using a variety of game engines and techniques.
EAE 6110 - Game Projects I
Game Projects I begins the three course team-based major game project. Students will work in teams to pitch, prototype, and begin development of their master’s game project. Instructors will meet regularly with students to both offer advice and criticism as the game progresses.
EAE 6120 - Game Projects II
Students will work in teams to finish development of their master’s game project and submit it to contests of festivals should they see fit. Instructors meet regularly with students to both offer advice and criticism as the game progresses.
EAE 6350 - Technical Art I
Exploring the production pipeline from concept to engine. Establishing standardizations and productivity and management by using SVN to source code. Identifying common production roadblocks or bottlenecks and creating tools that limit human error and automat redundant tasks. These tools will be utilized in Maya and use Maya Embedded Language (MEL), and Python. This is a project-based course where students will code several tools to increase efficiency in the art asset pipelines.
EAE 6355 - Technical Art II
Approaching content as rules and systems that are flexible and adaptable during agile development. Optimizations of in game content for increased real time performance. This course focuses on procedural workflows in Side Effects Houdini and creating tools for the interface between the Houdini and other production software such as Maya and Unreal Engine.
EAE 6360 - Technical Art IIIWriting and creating shaders for real time production. The following topics will be covered in this course:
- Understand the GPU graphics pipeline and triangle rasterization
- Use programmable GPU shaders to customize the graphics pipeline producing various visual effects
- Manipulate matrices to transform objects both in 2D and 3D space within shaders
- Use vector operations for projection, reflection, and Phong lighting equations
- Clearly state the differences between varying data vs. uniform data
- Demonstrate the following geometry data into the GPU and render it appropriately
- Create normal maps and textures in shaders for added level of detail
- Master C++ fundamentals such as syntax, objects, pointers, and data lifetime
- Master shading language fundamentals and GPU primitive operations
EAE 6355 - Technical Art IV
Students will have an opportunity to explore techniques, and build upon the artistic foundations they have learned through the course of their studies up to this point. They will engage in an almost daily critical study of your portfolio presentation, branding, and create new personal projects to increase quality and mastery increasing productivity of others as they embrace their critical position as the bridge between art and technology.
Sample Directed Electives for Technical Artists
EAE 6600 – 3D Modelling
EAE 6605 – Adv 3D Character Production
EAE 6620 – Env. Art for Games
EAE 6630 – Hard Surface Modeling
EAE 6640 – Digital Fig. Sculpting
EAE 6670 – Texturing for 3D
EAE 6900 (011) – Character Design
EAE 6900 (016) – Shader Development
EAE 6900 (018) – Mobile Games Pipeline
EAE 6900 (017) - Game Systems Design