See the readings page for required textbooks and readings.



There will be five weekly lab assignments during the first half of the course. These labs are designed to get students thinking about game design and develop tools students can use for final projects. You can read more about these on the Labs page.

Essay Sets

There will be three essay sets that focus on material presented in lecture. These will be comprised primarily of short answer-type questions to ensure students understand covered material. Some essay sets may include longer essay-format questions requiring supported discussion of selected topics.


Each student is required to give one Game On Flash Talk during the quarter.
More information about these, including a sign-up schedule, can be found on the Game On page.

Students may also be asked to lead a brief in-class discussion on an assigned journal article or current paper relevant to a topic we’re covering in class.

Final Project

Music 257 is a project-oriented course. As such, in place of a final there is a heavily-weighted final project. Students will work on final projects in groups of 2-3 depending on class enrollment. Final projects take the form of a game developed in Unity (it is possible to work in other platforms, talk to the instructors if you wish to do so), along with a conference-style presentation poster. Final project games will be presented at the Annual Synapse Arcade at the conclusion of the course. We will discuss more about final projects during our first class meeting and as the course progresses.


Grading Breakdown for the course is as follows:

  • Participation / Discussion - 10 %
    • Weekly Class Discussion—Journal Article / Paper Presentation and Discussion
    • Game On Flash Talk
  • Take-Home Essay Sets - 25 %
    • 3 Essay Sets
  • Lab Assignments / Games - 30 %
    • Individual Matlab Lab Assignments - 10 %
    • Group Game Development Lab Assignments - 20 %
  • Final Group Project - 35 %
    • Project Poster
    • Game Deliverable
    • Synapse Arcade Presentation


See the schedule page for course agenda and assignment schedule.