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Mobile Gaming and the Zune. William Birmingham ASEE Conference June, 2010 Louisville, KY. Grove City College. Key points. Mobile gaming classes are popular and covers many CS areas Math, physics Software engineering, UI design Networking Game classes are technically challenging - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Evaluating Learning Software in the Classroom: A Preliminary Study

Mobile Gaming and the ZuneWilliam Birmingham

ASEE ConferenceJune, 2010Louisville, KYGrove City CollegeASEE 2009: SDR2

Mission: Excellent Education at an Affordable Cost in a Christian EnvironmentWestern PA 1 Hr North of PittsburghPrivate Comprehensive CollegeArts & Letters (Calderwood)Science & Engineering (Hopeman)Approx. 2500 Undergraduate Students SAT range (middle 50%): 1171-1377Freshman Retention Rate: 96%4-Year Graduation Rate: 75%Yearly cost (tuition, room, board, fees, technology): $18,500

2Key pointsMobile gaming classes are popular and covers many CS areasMath, physicsSoftware engineering, UI designNetworkingGame classes are technically challengingZune is a great platform for mobile gamingSoftware (Visual Studio and XNA) are free and well designedStudents enjoy using the platform

ASEE 2009: SDR33Zune HW

ASEE 2009: SDR4

Mobile and Pervasive gamesImportant and rapidly growing marketTraditionally owned by specialized hw devicesSony PSPNintendo DS Increasingly driven by smartphoneiPhone and iPadAndroidBecoming a general technology and game play driver for the industry as a wholeSupport for (fix) console/mobile gaming coming soon (XNA)ASEE 2009: SDR5Gaming and CS educationUses much of CS students educationMath and physicsSoftware engineering/project managementObject-oriented design and advanced programmingReal-time programmingData structures and algorithmsGraphicsUI designNetworkingProjectsGame designBuilding a great experienceDeveloping multimedia (audio and video assets)

ASEE 20106Gaming and CS educationMost programs based on Windows PC platforms or specialized enginesNot useful for mobile gamingSpecial hardware (devkits) from Nintendo, SonyHard to get (must be licensed)ExpensiveProprietary programming environmentsNDA and other legal issuesOther platforms, especially smartphonesStill relatively expensiveMay have NDA and licensing requirements (e.g., Apple)May require cellular data contractsASEE 20107Gaming curriculumGames 12D Gaming (graphics, physics and AI)Art and craft of creating compelling gamesStudents create arcade-style gamesMicrosoft XNA and PCsGames 23D gaming (graphics, physics)CameraSignificantly more mathematically complexAI learningStudents use Agile methods to create sophisticated gamesMicrosoft XNA and PCs

ASEE 20108Gaming curriculumGames 3ConsoleMultiplayerMultiple camerasSynchronization issuesNetworkedGame design methods significantly differentAdvanced use of multimediaFFT data for game playUsing album art to populate gameXNA, Zunes, Xbox 360Professional devkits available for students who want to use themASEE 20109NetworkingSignificant element of Games 3, particularly for mobile gamesXNA provides a gaming abstraction for the networkPlayersNetwork objectLatency and throughput are controllableExplore latency and packet loss issuesteleporting vs interpolationGame issuesHow do you start?How do you end?Mechanics of mobile games, screen size and using device on the run

ASEE 201010ABET course outcomes(c) An ability to design, implement, and evaluate a computer-based system, process, component, or program to meet desired needStudents will write specifications for the games they create, with emphasis on good game play and a sophisticated gaming experience. Students will develop gamesincluding code, artwork, sound effects, and musicto realize the specifications.(i) An ability to use current techniques, skills and tools necessary for computing practiceStudents will develop the software for their games for the Microsoft Zune and the Microsoft Xbox 360 using Microsoft XNA 3.1. The Zune games will be implemented in c#. To run their games, students will use the Zune and the Xbox 360 as attached, development hardware. In other words, games will not run on Windows machines, and thus must be loaded and debugged on different hardware. These techniques are common for embedded computer applications, mobile device applications, etc.In addition, students will read papers from the games literature to find the latest techniques and best practices.(j) An ability to apply mathematical foundations, algorithmic principles, and computer science theory in the modeling and design of computer-based systems in a way that demonstrates comprehension of the tradeoffs involved in design choicesThis class will use a significant amount of mathematics and sophisticated algorithms for implementing console games. Physics, collision detection, and AI algorithms, particularly for console applications, rely on good implementations that balance memory usage and speed. Since memory is limited on consoles, and there is little memory management support, memory/speed tradeoffs are important.In addition, students will study the tradeoffs in memory, processing power, and assets storage on different console device, the Zune and Xbox 360. While maintaining a similar programming model, these devices have vastly different performance that directly affects the games that can be run on these devices. (k) An ability to apply design and development principles in the construction of software systems of varying complexityStudents will need to develop a variety of games, from relatively simple ones for homework assignments, to complex ones for projects. Applying principles of object-oriented design, as well as other techniques, will be important to complete the projects.ASEE 201011EvaluationUsed Zune for two classes over two yearApproximately 20 students totalCS Students reported:Skeptical at first due to form factor (screen and input devices)Most end up liking the deviceSome do not like it (too limited)Good experience in networking (but therere some problems)Produced excellent games in about four weeks

ASEE 2009: SDR12EvaluationZune HD should help with most problemsIncreased screen sizeBetter input modes (especially in a touch-based world)Networking seems more reliableStudents continue to use the device after classCampus tourGamesASEE 201013Curriculum Issues: Support materials HardwareZune HDTouch and accelerometerZune 4G, 8G, 16G, 30G, 120 GThree buttons and an analog joystickSoftwareMicrosoft Visual Studio 2008 or 2010Microsoft XNAMicrosoft Creators Club WebsiteStarter kits and tutorialsMessage boardImage and audio creation and editing softwareSyllabus and course materials availableASEE 2009: SDR14

SummaryZune is a capable device for game developmentWere moving to Zune HD this yearThe Zune ecosystem is excellentSupport for education is excellentEven supports professional (indie) developmentApp store for gameRequires minimal investmentFun and popular

Willing to share all class materials (syllabuses, projects, homework, exams,)ASEE 2009: SDR15AcknowledgementsSupported in part by the Grove City College Swezey FundPortions of the work reported here were contributed by Justin Kabonick and Adam Kaufman (GCC CS 10)ASEE 2009: SDR16

ASEE 201017