Spring 2014 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Brackin, Adam
Discipline and Number
ATEC 4373 Section 002
M Time 4:00 PM - 6:45 PM
Course Title

Description of Course:

DESCRIPTION: This course is an in-depth exploration of the origins, history, principles, elements, development, and theory of Role Playing Games (RPGs). Topics include tabletop and computer game RPGs and other similar forms of interactive storytelling as well as: player motivation, game dynamics, gamer culture, and the formation of compelling experiences within increasingly complex, open-ended technology. Students will first examine “Interactive Fiction” in various forms, including tabletop games ranging from D20, Dice Pool, Burning Wheel (D6), and other RPG systems with an explicit social component to Choose Your Own Adventure-style novels and its more traditional author-reader interaction. Students will then examine computer-based playable structures that are designed for solo interaction, as well as those which explore the intersection of the social spaces of play and the real world, considering, among other topics, the virtual communities of MMORPGs and other less conventional uses of digital gaming and role-playing techniques such as Alternate Reality Games.

OUTCOMES: Students will learn to think critically about RPG games and RPG gaming issues and gain exposure to the major writers and researchers in the genre. Students will familiarize themselves with RPG elements and will learn how to critique historical and contemporary RPG games and the ideas of others. Students will learn how to design and develop an original game mechanic and how to present that idea in a concise, coherent format.

Required Texts:

Required Textbooks and Materials
TEXTBOOKS (Required Reading)
1) Quests: Design, Theory, and History in Games and Narratives by Jeff Howard, A K Peters Ltd (February 26, 2008) 1568813473
2) Dungeons and Desktops: The History of Computer Role-playing Games by Matt Barton, A K Peters Ltd (March 3, 2008) 1568814119
3) Shared Fantasy: Role Playing Games as Social Worlds by Gary Alan Fine, University Of Chicago Press (August 14, 2002) 0226249441
4) Second Person: Role-Playing and Story in Games by Pat Harrigan & Noah Wardrip-Fruin, The MIT Press (February 28, 2007) 0262083566

RPG RULEBOOKS (Required for D1) ***Available at Madness Games and Comics in Plano for a discounted UTD price with your SID***
1) Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook: Roleplaying Game Core Rules, 4th Ed. by Wizards RPG Team, WotC (2008) 0786948671
*D4,D6,D8,D10,D12,D20 Dice Required
2) The Burning Wheel Gold Edition: Character Burner and Fantasy Roleplaying System by Luke Crane et.al, (2011) 978-0983645801 – *#10-12 D6 required
3) STAR WARS: Edge of the Empire - Core Rulebook by Fantasy Flight Games, (2013) 9781616616571 *Do not buy the beginner game version, DO buy the special EotE dice or download the related app.

Additional Selected Online Readings (TBD) and given on the blog.

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

ATEC 4373 may be repeated for credit as topics vary (9 hours maximum). Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Students must be actively enrolled in this class (ATEC 4373) in order to attend it due to UTD policy fire code, and very real seating restrictions. (No lurkers!)

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