Tuesday, 7:00 - 9:45 PM HRA 1.202 Fall 2005

Instructor: Scott Swearingen Email: Course Website: Office: HRA 4.808 Office Hours: tba

This course will serve as an examination of world building basics, spatial relationships, and concept development for virtual environments. The student will receive instruction on creating worlds for real-time applications with an emphasis on the formal qualities of space and immersion that are conceptually sound. In addition, techniques in modeling, uv mapping, texturing, lighting, sound, and surfacing will be learned and applied.


This course is designed to engage the student in the necessary skills and concepts behind the creation of compelling virtual environments. There will be weekly assignments, critiques, discussions, and/or lectures which are all greatly dependent upon student participation and interaction. All weekly assignments will be due at the begining of the following class. (Course requirements may be amended or changed; such changes will be submitted in writing with sufficient advance notice for completion.)

intro part I part II world building part I part II part III group project 1 part I part II evoking mood part I part II 10% 05% (paper on formal qualities of space) 05% (critique of virtual environment) 15% 05% (basic geometry) 05% (uv mapping and texturing) 05% (first room, importing geometry, and publishing) 20% 05% (proposal) 15% (final project) 15% 05% (mood photos and paragraphs) 05% (lighting)

part III group project 2 part I part II participation

05% (sound/particles/atmosphere) 20% 05% (proposal) 15% (final project) 20%


Lecture - Introduction, course overview, goals. Assignment - None ---------------------------------------------------------------

Week 02:
Lecture - Formal qualities of space and geometry. Assignment - Introduction - part I Write 2-3 pages about a fictitious environment or set (from a movie, a painting, a game, an animation, etc.) of your chosing, and describe in detail how its formal qualities create space and what meaning you can glean from it apart from its narrative. ---------------------------------------------------------------

Week 03:
Lecture - Off-the-shelf virtual environments and modifications. Assignment - Introduction - part II Write a 2 page critique of an off-the-shelf virtual environment or one of its modifications, paying specific attention to the intentions of the artist and/or developer. ---------------------------------------------------------------

Lecture - Basic geometry. Assignment - World Building - part I Create a single object/mesh in Maya using reference material. ---------------------------------------------------------------

Week 05:

Lecture - UV mapping and texturing. Assignment - World Building - part II UV map and texture last week's mesh. ---------------------------------------------------------------

Week 06:
Lecture - Building your first room, importing geometry, and publishing. Assignment - World Building - part III Build your first room from reference material, import your textured geometry, and publish it as a *.pk4. ---------------------------------------------------------------

Lecture - Establishing 'mise an scene' through spatial relationships, geometry, and surfacing. Assignment - Group Project 1 - part I Form groups and create a proposal (2-3 pages) for a virtual environment establishing 'mise an scene' through spatial relationships, geometry, and surfacing. ---------------------------------------------------------------

Week 08:
Lecture - Presentation and discussion of proposals. Assignment - Group Project 1 - part II Finish virtual environment focusing on concepts contained within your proposal. ---------------------------------------------------------------

Week 09:
Lecture - Presentation and critique GROUP PROJECT 1. Assignment - Evoking Mood - part I Bring in three examples of 'moody' environments from photo reference, and write a paragraph about each explaining what mood they evoke and why. ---------------------------------------------------------------

Week 10:
Lecture - Lighting.

Assignment - Evoking Mood - part II Light your virtual environment using photo reference. ---------------------------------------------------------------

Week 11:
Lecture - Sound, particles, and atmoshpere. Assignment - Evoking Mood - part III Employ sound and particles to create atmosphere within your virtual environment. ---------------------------------------------------------------

Lecture - Establishing 'mise an scene' through spatial relationships, lighting, and sound. Assignment 12 - GROUP PROJECT 2 - part I Form groups and create a proposal (2-3 pages) for a virtual environment establishing 'mise an scene' through spatial relationships, lighting, and sound. It is already a given that geometry and surfacing will play a role as well. ---------------------------------------------------------------

Week 13:
Lecture - Presentation and discussion of proposals. Assignment 13 - GROUP PROJECT 2 - part II Begin working on virtual environment focusing on concepts contained within your proposal. ---------------------------------------------------------------

Week 14:
Lecture - In-class work period. Assignment 14 - GROUP PROJECT 2 - part II cont. Finish virtual environment focusing on concepts contained within your proposal. ---------------------------------------------------------------

Week 15:
Lecture - Presentation and critique GROUP PROJECT 2. Assignment 15 - None End of course.


The following policies are in the UTD Catalog and pertain to this class. Incomplete Grades: A grade of Incomplete may be given, at the discretion of the instructor of record for a course, when a student has completed at least 70% of the required course material but cannot complete all requirements by the end of the semester. An incomplete course grade (grade of X) must be completed within the time period specified by the instructor, not to exceed eight weeks from the first day of the subsequent long semester. Upon completion of the required work, the symbol X may be converted into a letter grade (A through F) by the instructor. If the grade of Incomplete is not removed by the end of the specified period, it will automatically be changed to F. Extension beyond the specified limit can be made only with the permission of the instructor and the student’s ADU (or the Undergraduate Dean in the case of students without declared majors). A student may not re-enroll in a course in which a grade of X remains. Students may obtain a petition/documentation form for an Incomplete in the office of the student’s ADU. The form is to be submitted to the instructor from whom the Incomplete is sought. Students should be aware that an Incomplete is only appropriate for work unavoidably missed at semester’s end. Students should contact their school office for school policies on Incompletes. If a significant fraction of a semester is missed with cause, see the section on “Withdrawing from and Adding Courses”. An instructor assigning an Incomplete must submit the petition/documentation form containing a description of the work required to complete the course to the ADU of the school offering the course. Upon approval, a copy of the petition will be forwarded to the student’s ADU to be retained with the student’s academic record. The instructor alone will be responsible for determining whether the requirements for completion are met and for assigning the grade in the course. However, if the instructor who has signed the Incomplete is no longer associated with U.T. Dallas and the work is completed within the time allowed before the Incomplete lapses to an F, the Associate Dean of the instructor’s college may assign a committee of appropriate faculty to evaluate the material and/or obtain any other information which may be required to assign the grade in the course. Academic Dishonesty The faculty expects from its students a high level of responsibility and academic honesty. Because the value of an academic degree depends upon the absolute integrity of the work done by the student for that degree, it is imperative that a student demonstrate a high standard of individual honor in his or her scholastic work. Scholastic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, statements, acts or omissions related to applications for enrollment or the award of a degree, and/or the submission as one’s own work of material that is not one’s own. As a general rule, scholastic dishonesty involves one of the following acts: cheating, plagiarism, collusion and/or falsifying academic records. Students suspected of academic dishonesty are subject to disciplinary proceedings. Academic Appeals 1. Procedures for student grievances are found in Title V, Rules on Student Services and Activities, of the university’s Handbook of Operating Procedures. In attempting to resolve any student grievance regarding grades, evaluations, or other fulfillments of academic responsibility, it is the obligation of the student first to make a serious effort to resolve the matter with the instructor, supervisor, administrator, or committee with whom the grievance originated (hereafter

called “the respondent.”) Individual faculty members retain primary responsibility for assigning grades and evaluations. If the matter cannot be resolved at that level, the grievance must be submitted in writing to the respondent with a copy to the respondent’s school dean. If the matter is not resolved by the written response provided by the respondent, the student may submit a written appeal to the school dean. If the grievance is not resolved by the school dean’s decision, the student may make a written appeal to the dean of graduate or undergraduate studies, who will appoint and convene an Academic Appeals Panel. The decision of the Academic Appeals Panel is final. The results of the academic appeals process will be distributed to all involved parties. 2. Copies of these rules and regulations are available to students in the Office of the Dean of Students where staff is available to assist students in interpreting the rules and regulations.

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