CMPUT 250:

Computers + Games

Welcome to CMPUT 250

  • Students in the course can come from all faculties on the University of Alberta campus, each bringing a variety of skill sets. Computing science background is not a prerequisite.

  • Students form teams, and apply class concepts to create a short narrative-based video game using the RPG Maker game engine.

  • Students refine their game ideas through the study and application of design, storytelling, art, scripting, and music, all while developing a game pitch, and testing their game before its final release. The course culminates in an annual award ceremony where games from both terms compete in several categories.

  • While students from different faculties may often take other University of Alberta courses together, rarely, if ever, are they required to work together in a collaborative manner where their disparate skills are needed to complete a term-length project. CMPUT 250 provides the students with such an opportunity.

About the Course

  • This course is a gateway to the Certificate in Computer Game Development, a joint certificate program between the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Science and is open to the entire University of Alberta community.

  • Professors and graduate students from Computing Science, History and Classics, Anthropology, Creative Writing, English and Film Studies, Humanities Computing and Industrial Design in both the University of Alberta and MacEwan University are recruited to lecture in this course.

  • Industry partners, such as game designers from BioWare, offer lectures each term, providing students with practical advice on the completion of their projects, as well as feedback on the students’ marketing pitches.

  • Undergraduate students who completed the course in previous years can return as “Executive Producers,” mentoring students enrolled in the course.

  • There are currently 472 active game development studios in Canada, adding 3 billion dollars to the GDP each year. In Canada currently around 20,400 people are directly employed by the video game industry (2017, ESA). The game industry sales substantially exceed movie box office ticket sales. Games are a popular form of interactive entertainment. They educate and inform us. They change the way we communicate.

  • A computer game is the culmination of creative efforts of many different artistic and technical disciplines, integrated through the capabilities of the computer. Computer games are a new art form. They have changed the way we think about traditional activities. For example, role playing games are a new vehicle for story-telling; the reader becomes an active participant that influences the story.

Recent Instructional Team:


  • Nathan Sturtevant (CS)

  • Michael Bowling (CS)

  • Vadim Bulitko (CS)

  • Bastiaan Frank (Bioware)

  • Sean Gouglas (HuCo)

  • Sarah Hayward (Bioware)

  • David Holmes (Infinite Monkeys)

  • Mark Johnson (Poli Sci)

  • Rick Knowles (Bioware)

  • Nicholas Klose (Bioware)

  • Nathan Matichuk (Bioware)

  • Fiona Nicoll (Poli Sci)

  • Jon Renish (Bioware)

  • Jonathan Schaeffer (CS)

  • Scott Smallwood (Music)

  • Megan Summer (Bioware)

  • Patrick von Hauff (Art and Design)

  • Jeff Vanelle (Bioware)

  • Mac Walters (Bioware)

  • Mike Webb (Bioware)

Teaching assistants:

  • Kristen Yu

  • Anmol Mahajan

  • Alexandrea Czeto

  • Robert MacGillivray

  • Sergio Poo Hernandez

Executive producers:

  • Aleia Cabote

  • Emily Casavant

  • Jeff Cho

  • Hope Docking

  • Derek Kwan

  • Aaron Tripodi

  • Morgan Cselinacz