Schedule ... VirWorldsF10Projects ... Scripts

Virtual Worlds Fall 10 Syllabus

DMS 553/438 :: 11:00-12:50 M W :: Center for the Arts Room TBA

Teacher: Josephine Anstey, jranstey at buffalo, office hrs M 11-12, Th 1:30-2:30

PREREQS portfolio, DMS 121, DMS 259


Increasingly we live, play, and work in virtual worlds created by computer graphics, 3D models, scripts and programs; places inhabited by networked people and autonomous computer characters. These worlds have taken on a gendered significance - massively multiplayer online games seem to be male space; virtual places like Second Life seem more inviting to women and to promote social communities. Despite female pioneers like Brenda Laurel and Char Davies the creation of virtual worlds has also become male dominated. People of every gender are encouraged to take this production course, where the creative process will be seeded by a study of virtual, augmented, and mixed reality worlds built by artists, activists, game-designers, trainers, humanists, educators, and scientists.

The production of virtual worlds breaks down into two rough categories: world implementation and asset creation. This hands on production course focuses on world implementation. Using contemporary software (new virtual reality tools and game engines are constantly arriving) we investigate the techniques and problems of building virtual environments, dealing with issues in spatial, aesthetic, interactive and conceptual design.

Tools & Documentation


  • participation 30%
  • projects 70%

Requirements and Responsibilities:

preparation and participation - You are expected to read material before the class when it is scheduled and to be ready with questions and points to discuss.
class modes

  • lecture/presentation/discussion
  • lab work

In either mode all windows on the computer are to be shut except for windows pertinent to the class. The only necessary windows will be:

  • a browser looking at syllabus, reading, project materials only
  • unity 3D windows
  • pdf viewer of unity documentation or readings

Persistent use of class time to view other material, write email etc. etc. will lower your grade. After two warnings your grade will drop by a fraction of a grade (eg. B -> B-) for every additional warning. If you drop your grade beneath a failing level you will be asked to leave the class. homework/projects - Projects will start in class time but you are expected to devote ~10 hours to finishing projects outside class time.


Attendance for every class is mandatory barring serious emergency. Each student is allowed three unexcused absences for whatever reason (e.g., illness, weather). If extenuating circumstances arise (e.g., serious medical problems, child care), please contact the instructor as soon as possible to address the situation. Barring emergency circumstances, each absence after two will drop lower the final grade by a full grade for each additional absence (i.e.,3 absences = B->C). Punctuality is also expected. For the purposes of grading, three tardies will equal one unexcused absence.

Criteria for Incomplete Grade:

It is the policy of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Media Study to grant incompletes for a semester only under extraordinary circumstances. Under any circumstances, incompletes will be granted only to students currently in good standing (i.e., regular attendance and passing completion of assignments). Requests for a grade of incomplete need to be submitted in writing, and should include a rationale, documentation for the reason, and a proposed schedule for completion.

University Statements

  • Please read this informational material on plagiarism, students with disabilities, and weapons as props.
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