topical media & game development

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computing requirements creative technology

from a new media perspective

Anton Eliëns, with Angelika Mader

abstract In this report we look at the requirements for the computer science or computing track in the creative technology curriculum. We will propose computing courses, that may be taken as a reference when developing the final curriculum.
status: 18/2/08 (discussion)


Although the creative technology curriculum is at this stage still in development, with contributions of a variety of tracks or sub-disciplines, an outline of the educational goals of creative technology will look like:

target(s) -- creative technology

from a new media perspective: track(s)

Correspondingly, the topics treated in the curriculum, or the elements of which the curriculum will consist will encompass:

track(s) -- creative technology


resource(s) -- create

Taking these elements as a guideline will help us in determining what role the computing track will play in setting up the curriculum.

background - the role of computing

From a more general perspective, the area of computing, or in other words, the discipline of computer science should set as educational goals:

target(s) -- computer science

from a new media perspective: track(s)

More specifically, the computer science track in creative technology should cover, at a yet to be determined level of depth, the following topics and subjects:

computer science -- CS & IS @ UU


related to: web technology

resource(s) -- compute

The level or depth at which these tpoics should be treated is determined by the requirements of the two specialisations envisioned for creative technology, respectively new media and smart technology.

new media -- targets and learning goals

The eucational targets for the new media curriculum, may be summarized as fowllows:

target(s) -- new media


Elements of which the new media curriculum will consist, at least for the students taking new media as a specialisation, include:

new media -- the aesthetics of our time


resource(s) -- media

Since new media, which includes the area of (serious) game development, requires a wide range of skills and knowledge, including programming as well as digital content creation, it is unlikely that all students will or need to be trained in computer science uniformly.

smart technology -- additional requirements

For the specialisation of smart technology we may, perhaps somewhat naivelty, come up with the following list of educational goals:

target(s) -- smart technology

from a new media perspective: track(s)

Minimally, the topics in smart technology will include:

smart technology -- create


resource(s) -- smart technology

In particular for instrumentation the smart technology curriculum will very likely require more advanced, that is specialized, programming skills than the new media curriculum.

the computing curriculum -- first proposal

In the new media curriculum, which is at the time of writing, still in development, the following courses will likely be included:


NM13web technology (1) -- html, javascript. css
NM26animation in 2D
NM36web technology (2) -- php, sql, web services
NM463D virtual environments -- x3d/vrml
NM56game development -- C++/DirectX

Taking the new media curriculum, sketched above, as a point of departure, we arrive at the following (mandatory) courses for the computer science curriculum:


CS13computer & network architecture(s)
CS26programming fundamental(s) -- C++/Java
CS36advanced programming -- idoms, APIs

In the proposal above we have, with an eye on practical feasibility, allowed for including acripting in the courses for new media, thus alleviating the requirements for the computing courses.

As to the actual realization of the courses, see the references below, it might be worthwhile to look for a cooperation that allows for dividing laber between the staff alloted to the various tracks, and, more in particular, that allows for a distribution of the work according to personal style and preference for respectively an inspirational, example-based approach, and a more technical bottom-up approach.

As indicated in reference (8), we should be beware of making a choice based on ease of education. More explicitly, with regard to both system aspects and performance a choice for C++ as a first (real) programming language, as opposed to scripting languages, seems to be preferred over a choice for Java, despite the pitfalls in teaching a complex language like C++.

relation to other tracks

When we look at the other tracks within the creative technology curriculum, we may list as educational targets for mathematics:

target(s) -- mathematics

from a new media perspective: track(s)

  • skill(s) -- problem solving
  • knowledge -- algebra(s), graph theory
  • theory -- dynamic systems, logic
  • experience -- modeling complex systems
and, as educational targets for the track design, that is to be developed in collaboration with the industrial design department:

target(s) -- design

from a new media perspective: track(s)

  • skill(s) -- drawing, modelling
  • knowledge -- design methodology
  • theory -- human factors
  • experience -- design & prototyping
For the mathematics track we may remark that the track itself does not require computing skills as such. However, it is very likely that the mathematics track will inspire and inform the new media track, and to some extent even the computing track.

The design track might benefit from computing skills, but it seems most likely that these will be covered within the sacripting part of new media


In this note we have sketched the requirements for the computer science or cimputing track within creative technology, and we have proposed a collection of courses to meet these requirements.

We again emphasize that in the realization of the courses, and the distribution of thw workload among the staff, we should strive for mutual contributions to profit from individual style and expertise.


educational(s) -- supporting creative thinking through opportunistic software development

  1. Teaching Software Engineering through Game Design
  2. Toy Projects Considered Harmful
  3. The Rethinking CS101 Project
  4. Creating a Science of Games (CACM) (local)
  5. Software Engineering Issues in Interactive Installation Art
  6. Programming by Example -- A Creative Programming Environment, Remixed
  7. Computer Science Education: Where Are the Software Engineers of Tomorrow?

(C) Æliens 04/09/2009

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