> classes > cms workshop i, fall 2007

The Video Game II

19 September 2007

The Shooter

Philip Tan will demonstrate and discuss several examples from this important video game genre.

Reading PixelShip

Visit the PixelShip home page and download by JamesGecko. You can also read about the creation of the game (by a novice python programmer, in one week) on that page. After you've downloaded this, uncompress the file and look through the contents of the archive.

If pygame is installed, as planned, on all the Macs, we will be able to do this exercise in small groups; otherwise, we will split into two groups and use two Mac notebooks that have pygame on them.

Next, figure out how to run PixelShip. Hint: First, determine which file contains the program or, if there are several files with code in them, which is the main one. Additional hint: You run this file the same way that you ran Once you've managed to run the game, play it and see how it works. You may like it or not, but in any case, it's a simple, working game that will let us understand video games a bit better.

Once you have Pixelship running, see how many of these things you can manage:

After we fiddle with this program for a while, we'll talk about the structure of computer programs, how to read code, and how to analyze games formally even when we don't have the source code.

You are welcome to use pygame (which can do 3D games as well as 2D ones) for your projects, if it makes sense to do so for the project you have in mind.

Discussion of readings

We have some readings piled up to talk about. We'll discuss IF and "Face it, Tiger" and more arcade-like video games and the Turkle and Laurel readings. We'll try to bring what we know about how video games are coded into the discussion, if this seems to matter to our understanding and assessing these arguments. Readings are listed and linked to on the main page. Anything you should do to prepare for class will generally appear there. These per-class pages are for us to follow when we meet.

Project time

Hopefully there will be 20 minutes or so for us to work on projects in class, although this might not happen. If you don't want to work on your project, please see if there's anything you can do to help anyone else.