Computational Media

2016-17 General Catalog

Baskin School of Engineering
(831) 459-2158
http://www.soe.ucsc.edu

Faculty | Computational Media Course Descriptions | Games Courses


Program Description

Computational media includes the creation, enhancement, and study of media forms for which computational processes enable deeply interactive and generative experiences, as well as the use of computation to understand and assist creation of media broadly. The department emphasizes the construction of technologies that make possible novel media experiences and tools, while simultaneously embracing and engaging in theoretical and practical approaches from the arts, humanities, and social sciences. The Computational Media (CMPM) Department offers courses on a wide range of topics, many of which integrate technical subject matter with design-oriented, theoretical, and historical topics. The Computational Media Department administers an undergraduate bachelor of science (B.S.) degree in computer game design, a master of science (M.S.) degree in games and playable media, as well as a master of science (M.S.) and a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) in computational media. Besides offering instructional courses, the department engages in a substantial research program in which both advanced undergraduates and graduate students participate.

B.S. Computer Science: Computer Game Design Major Requirements

The goal of this degree is to provide students a deep understanding of the technical aspects of computer game engineering and a broad background in the artistic, systemic, and production elements of game design and development. The core of the degree program is a strong grounding in computer science and computer engineering, preceded by a foundation in mathematics. Classes also develop skills in areas such as visual communication and team-oriented game production, while developing knowledge of topics such as game and art history, play experiences, and social and ethical issues. In their upper-division courses, students gain depth by taking upper-division electives in computational media, computer science, and computer engineering, with options such as game AI, mobile app development, game engine architecture, and interactive narrative. A two-course interdisciplinary game creation experience (usually taken at the end of the sophomore year) and a year-long interdisciplinary capstone game design and development studio class allow students to develop substantial computer games and integrate materials from the rest of the program.

Program Learning Outcomes

Recipients of a B.S. degree in computer game design at UCSC are expected to have the following skills and experiences:

  1. Demonstrate mastery of computer science in the following core knowledge areas: algorithms, data structures, complexity, and software engineering and development.

  2. Apply system-level perspective by thinking at multiple levels of detail and abstraction and by recognizing the context in which a computer system may function, including its interactions with people and the physical world.

  3. Apply problem-solving skills and the knowledge of computer science to solve real problems.

  4. Recognize and take into account the social, legal, ethical, and cultural issues in the discipline of computer games.

  5. Demonstrate written and oral communication skills regarding technical material about computer science and computer games, broadly conceived.

  6. Design and build a technical system that achieves an artistic goal for audience experience, employing sound computer science techniques.

  7. Demonstrate the ability to collaboratively plan, organize, and execute complex, team-oriented projects, using appropriate communication and coordination techniques.

Declaration of the Major

First-year applicants may receive direct admission at the time they apply to UCSC based on their high school record and test scores. Admission to the major after a student has entered UCSC is based on the grades received in all foundation courses attempted at UCSC and will be considered no sooner than the student’s second quarter. Students must receive a GPA of at least 2.80 in the foundation courses: a core programming sequence, Computer Engineering (CMPE) 16: Applied Discrete Mathematics, and a calculus sequence, which may be Mathematics 19A and 19B, or 20A and 20B. Options for core programming include:

  • Computer Science (CMPS) 5J, CMPS 11, and CMPS 12B/M;

  • CMPS 12A/L and CMPS 12B/M;

  • CMPE 13/L and CMPS 12B/M;

  • CMPS 13H/L.

At most one unsuccessful attempt (grade C-, D+, D, D-, F, or NP) for a foundation course is permitted. Denials of admission to the major may be appealed by submitting a letter to the School of Engineering Undergraduate Office, addressed to the Computational Media Undergraduate Director. The appeal letter must describe why the prior performance is not an accurate reflection of the student's potential. Students who are informed that they are not eligible to declare the major after their first appeal may submit a letter to the department chair within 15 days from the date the notification was mailed. Within 15 days of receipt of the appeal, the department will notify the student and their college of the decision.

Foundation Courses

The foundation courses are as follows:

CMPS 12A/L (or Computer Engineering 13/L, or both CMPS 5J and CMPS 11); CMPS 12B/M; and, CMPE 16; and Mathematics 19A and 19B, or 20A and 20B. CMPS 13H/L may be used instead of both CMPS 12A/L and 12B/M.

UCSC students that have completed three or more quarters at UCSC must complete the foundation courses before they can declare the major.

Honors in the Major

Students must obtain a GPA of 3.8 or higher in the courses in the major to be considered for the distinction of “Highest Honors in the Major.” Students must obtain a GPA of 3.5 or higher in the courses in the major to be considered for the distinction of “Honors in the Major.” The School of Engineering reserves the right to withhold honors based on other criteria, such as an incident of academic dishonesty.

Disciplinary Communication (DC) Requirement

Students must satisfy the Disciplinary Communication (DC) requirement by successfully passing CMPM 170.

Letter Grade Policy

Please refer to the School of Engineering section of the catalog (subheading: Letter Grade Policy).

Transfer Students

Most courses have a strong theoretical component to prepare the student for designing, as opposed to simply using, technical and game systems. Often, courses taken at other institutions which emphasize applications of current programming languages and authoring tools do not count toward the major at UCSC.

At UCSC, the core programming sequence — courses Computer Science (CMPS) 12A/L (or 5J and 11) and 12B/M (or 13H/L, which covers both 12A/L and 12B/M) — exposes students to both Java and C. Many upper-division courses that involve programming use the C and C++ programming languages. Transfer students who are not familiar with both Java and C may need to take a remedial course. Students familiar with C++ and Unix should find the transition to Java and C relatively simple.

Transfer students must have completed all of the core programming, computer systems, and mathematics courses (CMPS 12A/L and 12B/M, CMPE 12/L, CMPE 16, MATH 19 A and B, MATH 21/AMS 10), or their articulated equivalents. A student lacking one such course may be admitted if they have completed at least CMPE 12/L. It is highly recommended that all transfer students complete this course prior to admission.

To the extent possible, it is recommended that transfer students take the equivalents of additional major required courses beyond the core programming, computer systems, and mathematics courses. For transfer students only, any course focused on the history of modern art (after 1900 C.E.) may satisfy the HAVC 141 requirement. In addition, if students have access to courses that develop a foundation in building and understanding games and other forms of interactive media, these are valuable to take — and in some cases may be substituted for CMPM 80K, Foundations of Video Game Design, once they enter the program. Transfer students who are planning a course substitution for HAVC 141 or CMPM 80K should refer to the School of Engineering portion of the catalog (subheading Course Substitutions).

Finally, transfer students should have completed as many general education requirements as possible.

School of Engineering Policies

Please refer to the School of Engineering section of the catalog (subheading: Admission to School of Engineering Majors) for additional policies that apply to all School of Engineering programs. These policies include admission to the major and the need for students to obtain preapproval before taking courses elsewhere.

Preparation for the Major

It is recommended that high school students intending to apply to the major have completed four years of mathematics (through advanced algebra and trigonometry) as well as any available courses in computer science, arts, and media (especially interactive media). Comparable college mathematics, arts, and media courses completed at other institutions also serve to properly prepare a student for the major.

Major Requirements

The curriculum has 24-26 courses (depending on core programming sequence taken). Fourteen of the courses are upper-division. Several of the required courses and electives are also general education courses. Please consult with the schedule of classes or the general catalog for more information.

Lower- and Upper-Division Requirements

Course requirements are divided into six conceptual areas and may not be credited in more than one area:

Mathematics

Complete all of the following courses:

Mathematics 19A-B, Calculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics (students can alternately take Mathematics 20A-B, Honors Calculus. Credit for one or both Mathematics 19A-B may be granted with adequate performance on the CEEB calculus AB or BC Advanced Placement examinations).

Mathematics 21, Linear Algebra, or Applied Mathematics and Statistics 10, Mathematical Methods for Engineers I

Computer Engineering 16, Applied Discrete Mathematics

Computational Foundations

Complete all of the following courses:

Computer Science 12A/L, Introduction to Programming (Accelerated)/Laboratory* (or both Computer Science 5J and 11 or Computer Engineering 13/L)

Computer Science 12B/M, Introduction to Data Structures/Laboratory*

Computer Engineering 12/L, Computer Systems and Assembly Language/Laboratory

Computer Science 109, Advanced Programming

Computer Science 101, Algorithms and Abstract Data Types

*Computer Science (CMPS) 13H/L may be used instead of both CMPS 12A/L and 12B/M

Arts Foundations

Complete both of the following courses:

Art and Design: Games and Playable Media (ARTG) 80G, Visual Communication and Interaction Design

and

History of Art and Visual Culture (HAVC) 141A Modern Art: Realism to Cubism, 141B Cubism to Pop, or 141C Pop to Present

Games and Playable Media Foundations

Complete all of the following courses:

Art and Design: Games and Playable Media 80H, History of Digital Games

Film and Digital Media 80V, Video Games as Visual Culture

Game Design and Development

Complete all of the following courses.

Computational Media 80K, Foundations of Video Game Design

Computational Media 120, Game Development Experience

Art and Design: Games and Playable Media 120, Game Design Experience

Computational Media 170, Game Design Studio I

Computational Media 171, Game Design Studio II (7 credits)

Computational Media 172, Game Design Studio III (7 credits)

Computational Media 176, Systems Design

Computer Game Engineering

Complete five courses from the following list:

Applied Mathematics and Statistics 131, Introduction to Probability Theory

Applied Mathematics and Statistics 147, Computational Methods and Applications

Computational Media 131, User Experience for Interactive Media

Computational Media 147, Generating Worlds

Computational Media 148, Interactive Storytelling

Computational Media 146, Game Artificial Intelligence

Computational Media 164/L, Game Engines/Laboratory

Computational Media 177, Creative Strategies for Designing Interactive Media

Computational Media 178, Human-Centered Design Research

Computational Media 179, Game Design Practicum (may be repeated for credit; only the first offering counts toward the Computer Game Engineering requirement)

Computer Science 102, Introduction to Analysis of Algorithms

Computer Science 104A, Fundamentals of Compiler Design I

Computer Science 104B, Fundamentals of Compiler Design II

Computer Science 105, Systems Programming

Computer Science 111, Introduction to Operating Systems

Computer Science 112, Comparative Programming Languages

Computer Science 115, Software Methodology

Computer Science 116, Software Design Project

Computer Science 117, Software Design Project II

Computer Science 119, Software for Society

Computer Science 121, Mobile Applications

Computer Science 122, Computer Security

Computer Science 128, Distributed Systems, File Sharing, Online Gaming, and More

Computer Science 129, Data Storage Systems

Computer Science 130, Computational Models

Computer Science 132, Computability and Computational Complexity

Computer Science 140, Artificial Intelligence

Computer Science 142, Machine Learning and Data Mining

Computer Science 143, Natural Language Processing

Computer Science 160/L, Introduction to Computer Graphics/Laboratory

Computer Science 161, Introduction to Data Visualization

Computer Science 162, Advanced Computer Graphics and Animation

Computer Science 164/L, Game Engines/Laboratory

Computer Science 165, Data Programming for Visualization

Computer Science 166A, Game Theory and Applications I

Computer Science 180, Database Systems I

Computer Science 181, Database Systems II

Computer Science 183, Web Applications

Computer Engineering 110, Computer Architecture

Computer Engineering 112, Computer and Game Console Architecture

Computer Engineering 113, Parallel and Concurrent Programming

Computer Engineering 118/L, Introduction to Mechatronics/Laboratory

Computer Engineering 131, Human-Computer Interaction

Computer Engineering 150/L, Introduction to Computer Networks/Laboratory

Disciplinary Communication (DC) Requirement

Students must satisfy the major's upper-division Disciplinary Communication (DC) requirement by completing the first course in the game design studio sequence CMPM 170.

Comprehensive Requirement

Students satisfy the senior comprehensive requirement by receiving a passing grade in all three courses of the game design studio sequence.

Major Planners

The following are three sample academic plans that students can use to plan their sequence of courses in the major. The first two plans are suggested guidelines for students who begin their studies in their frosh year. Such students, if they plan carefully, will have several openings free to take other breadth courses they find interesting. Plan one is for a student entering UCSC in their frosh year who is prepared to go directly into Mathematics 19A/20A and Computer Science 12A/L. Plan two is for a student entering UCSC their frosh year who needs to take preparatory courses prior to Mathematics 19A or Computer Science 12A/L to ensure a successful outcome in those courses. The third plan is for a junior transfer student who has completed their mathematics, computational foundations, modern art history, and general education requirements.

Plan One

Fall

Winter

Spring

Year 1

ARTG 80H (PE-T)

MATH 19A

College Core

CMPM 80K (IM)

MATH 19B or 20B

CMPS 12A/L (MF)

ARTG 80I (PE-H)*

Composition 2

CMPS 12B/M

Year 2

ARTG 80G

MATH 21 or AMS 10

CMPE 12/L

FILM 80V

HAVC 141B

CMPS 109

CMPM 120 (PR-E)

ARTG 120

CMPE 16

Year 3

CMPS 101

CMPM 176

Elective / Gen Ed

Game Engineering 1

Game Engineering 2

Elective / Gen Ed

Game Engineering 3

Game Engineering 4

Elective / Gen Ed

Year 4

CMPM 170 (DC)

Game Engineering 5

Elective / Gen Ed

CMPM 171

Elective / Gen Ed

Elective / Gen Ed

CMPM 172

Elective / Gen Ed

Elective / Gen Ed

*ARTG 80I is recommended, but not required.

Plan Two

Fall

Winter

Spring

Year 1

ARTG 80H (PE-T)

MATH 3 (MF)

College Core

CMPM 80K (IM)

CMPS 5J

MATH 19A

ARTG 80I (PE-H)

CMPS 11

MATH 19B

Year 2

ARTG 80G

CMPS 12B/M

HAVC 141A

FILM 80V

MATH 21 or AMS 10

CMPE 16

CMPM 120 (PR-E)

ARTG 120

CMPS 109

Year 3

CMPS 101

CMPM 176

Elective / Gen Ed

Game Engineering 1

Game Engineering 2

CMPE 12/L

Game Engineering 3

Game Engineering 4

Elective / Gen Ed

Year 4

CMPM 170 (DC)

Game Engineering 5

Elective / Gen Ed

CMPM 171

Elective / Gen

Elective / Gen Ed

CMPM 172

Elective / Gen Ed

Elective / Gen Ed

 Plan Three

Fall

Winter

Spring

Year 1

(Jr)

ARTG 80H

ARTG 80G

Elective*

CMPM 80K

FILM 80V

CMPS 109

CMPS 101

CMPM 120

ARTG 120

Year 2

(Sr)

CMPM 170 (DC)

CMPM 176

Game Engineering 1

CMPM 171

Game Engineering 2

Game Engineering 3

CMPM 172

Game Engineering 4

Game Engineering 5

*Some transfer students need a prerequisite for CMPS 101, such as CMPE 16, for which this provides opportunity. Others may not have had the opportunity to fulfill other requirements, such as the HAVC 141 requirement, which this slot enables.

Graduate Program

Master’s Degree in Games and Playable Media

The goal of the M.S. in games and playable media is to prepare students to make professional contributions to the creation of games and other forms of media that invite and structure play. The degree is offered through the UC Santa Cruz location in Silicon Valley, enabling connection and collaboration with local industry. The curriculum includes deep engagement with game creation as well as a focus on professional development. Students can also take advantage of the strong course offerings in games and related technologies on the Santa Cruz campus, as well as make connections with the department’s field-leading research groups. The M.S. in games and playable media is a four-quarter program that begins in fall quarter and ends in the following summer. Students are expected to complete coursework in one academic year, without leaves of absence.

Requirements for the Games and Playable Media Master’s Degree

Course Requirements

Each student is required to take 46 credits, though the game art, game writing, and game sound requirements will likely lead to more. Required courses are as follows:

  • Games and Playable Media 221, 222, and 223; Professional Development for Game Makers 1, 2, and 3; 6 credits (2 credits each)

  • Games and Playable Media 230, Fundamentals of Game Engineering, 5 credits
  • CMPM 265, Generative Methods, 5 credits

  • Games and Playable Media 270, 271, and 272; Games and Playable Media Studio 1, 2, and 3; 15 credits (5 credits each)

  • Games and Playable Media 273, Game Development Intensive (10 credits)

  • Two courses from the game engineering electives list below, 10 credits, (5 credits each); can be upper-division undergraduate if appearing on approved list for games and playable media M.S. degree; often satisfied by taking CMPM 265, Generative Methods and Games and Playable Media 230, Fundamentals of Game Engineering.

Before entering the Game Development Intensive (Games and Playable Media 273), students must satisfy the game art, and game sound requirements, as described below:

  • The game art requirement is satisfied by (a) having completed, with a grade of B- or better, two or more courses in a relevant area of art, at any institution, at either the undergraduate or graduate level (such as courses CMPM 25, and CMPM 26); or (b) by satisfactorily completing (S or grade of A or B) course Games and Playable Media 210, Game Art Intensive; or (c) by submitting a portfolio of prior work in one or more areas and undergoing an examination to determine level of art proficiency.

  • The game sound requirement is satisfied by (a) having completed, with a grade of B- or better,  two or more courses in a relevant area of music, sound effects, or game audio, at any institution, at either the undergraduate or graduate level; or (b) by satisfactorily completing course (S or grade of A or B) Games and Playable Media 215, Audio Direction; or (c) by submitting a portfolio of prior work in one or more areas and undergoing an examination to determine level of game sound proficiency.

Project

Completion of a master's project is required for the master's degree. These are generally collaborative projects, created together with other students in the games and playable media M.S. program. Projects are typically performed by students during Games and Playable Media 273, Game Development Intensive. Students are evaluated based both on their individual contributions to the project and on the overall success of the project as a whole. Each project will be demonstrated via a public presentation, and this demonstration comprises part of the final project evaluation.

Evaluation of projects is performed by a committee consisting of at least three people, comprised of at least the games and playable media program director and the games and playable media creative director, and which may contain members of the games and playable media program faculty, or members of the games and playable media program advisory board, or other instructors in the games and playable media program.

Game Engineering Electives

The following courses may be used to satisfy game engineering electives for the games and playable media M.S. degree:

Graduate courses:

CMPM 235: User Evaluation of Technology

CMPM 244: Artificial Intelligence in Games

CMPM 245: Computational Models of Discourse and Dialogue

CMPM 248: Interactive Storytelling

CMPM 265: Generative Methods

CMPS 221: Advanced Operating Systems

CMPS 223: Advanced Computer Security

CMPS 229: Storage Systems

CMPS 232: Distributed Systems

CMPS 240: Artificial Intelligence

CMPS 241: Knowledge Engineering

CMPS 242: Machine Learning

CMPS 253: Advanced Programming Languages

CMPS 260: Computer Graphics

CMPS 261: Advanced Visualization

CMPS 262: Computer Animation

CMPS 272: Evolutionary Game Theory

CMPS 277: Principles of Database Systems

CMPS 278: Design and Implementation of Database Systems

Computer Engineering 202: Computer Architecture

Computer Engineering 215: Models of Robotic Manipulation

Computer Engineering 216: Bio-inspired Locomotion

Computer Engineering 218: Mechatronics

Computer Engineering 231: Human-Computer Interaction

Computer Engineering 233: Human Factors

Computer Engineering 248: Games in Design and Control

Computer Engineering 250: Multimedia Systems

Computer Engineering 253: Network Security

Computer Engineering 263: Data Compression

Computer Engineering 264: Image Analysis and Computer Vision

Games and Playble Media 230, Fundamentals of Game Engineering.

Upper-division undergraduate courses:

CMPM 146: Game AI

CMPM 148: Interactive Storytelling

CMPM 164: Game Engines

CMPM 177: Creative Strategies for Designing Interactive Media

CMPM 178: Human-Centered Design Research

CMPM 179: Game Design Practicum

CMPS 115: Software Methodology

CMPS 119: Software for Society

CMPS 122: Computer Security

CMPS 128: Distributed Systems: File Sharing, Online Gaming, and More

CMPS 130: Computational Models

CMPS 140: Artificial Intelligence

CMPS 142: Machine Learning and Data Mining

CMPS 160: Introduction to Computer Graphics

CMPS 161: Introduction to Data Visualization

CMPS 162: Advanced Computer Graphics and Animation

CMPS 165: Data Programming for Visualization

CMPS 166A: Game Theory and Applications I

CMPS 166B: Game Theory and Applications II

CMPS 180: Database Systems I

CMPS 181: Database Systems II

CMPS 183: Web Applications

CMPE 110: Computer Architecture

CMPE 112: Computer and Game Console Architecture

CMPE 118: Introduction to Mechatronics

CMPE 131: Human-Computer Interaction.

Transfer Credit

Up to three School of Engineering courses fulfilling the degree requirements of the M.S. degree may be taken before beginning the graduate program through the concurrent enrollment program.  The game art, game writing, and game sound requirements of the M.S. program may also be satisfied through courses from other institutions or prior UCSC coursework. Petitions should be submitted along with the transcript from the other institution. For courses taken at other institutions, copies of the syllabi, examinations, and other coursework should accompany the petition. Such petitions are not considered until the completion of at least one quarter at UCSC.

At most, a total of three courses may be transferred from concurrent enrollment and other institutions.

Review of Progress

On an ongoing basis, the faculty reviews the progress of every student. Students not making adequate progress toward completion of degree requirements (see the Graduate Handbook for policy on satisfactory academic progress) are subject to dismissal from the program. Students with academic deficiencies may be required to take additional courses. Full-time students with no academic deficiencies are normally expected to complete the degree requirements at the rate of at least two courses per quarter, and move forward through the course sequences together with their cohort, remaining on track to complete the degree in a single four-quarter year.

Students receiving two or more unsatisfactory grades (U or grade below B) in the School of Engineering (SoE) courses, or who receive an unsatisfactory grade (U or grade below B) in a course in the Games and Playable Media Studio sequence, are not making adequate progress and will be placed on academic probation for the following quarter of registered enrollment. Withdrawing or taking a leave of absence does not count as enrollment. Part-time enrollment is counted as a half quarter of enrollment. Students who are on academic probation or are not enrolled full time are no longer guaranteed any previously committed funding. Should students receive an unsatisfactory grade (U or below B) in a School of Engineering course while on probation, the Computational Media Department may request the graduate dean to dismiss that student from the graduate program. If after being removed from probation, the student again receives an unsatisfactory grade (U or below B) in a School of Engineering course, he or she will return immediately to academic probation.

Graduate students experiencing circumstances or difficulties that impact their academic performance should contact their adviser and the graduate director immediately. Students may appeal their dismissal.

[Return to top.]

Revised: 09/01/16