Fall 2021 - IAT 167 D100

Digital Games: Genre, Structure, Programming and Play (3)

Class Number: 4860

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 8:30 AM – 10:20 AM
    SRYC 3090, Surrey

    We 8:30 AM – 9:20 AM
    SRYC 3090, Surrey

  • Prerequisites:

    CMPT 166 (or equivalent first year programming course such as CMPT 120, 125, 126, 128, 130 or 135) with a minimum grade of C-.



Introduces game genres, structures, and programming methods basic to developing games. Students learn how games are designed and how to program the underlying patterns that facilitate play and engagement. Issues of user interface, skills and competition are discussed as are principles of compelling entertainment for players. Students who have obtained credit for, or are currently enrolled in, a CMPT course at the 200 division or higher, or IAT 265 or 267 may not complete this course for credit.


This second programming course covers practical programming concepts in the context of game development and builds on the basic programming concepts learned in CMPT 120 (or equivalent introductory programming course). The course introduces game mechanics and systems, and the programming methods fundamental to their implementation in video games. Students learn how games are structured and designed as well as the translation of the game design document into programmatic code. Issues of user interface, challenge and skill, and competition are discussed as are principles of interaction to facilitate play and engagement and compelling entertainment.

Students will be introduced to the key ideas of event-driven and object oriented programming as well as basic programming practice including systems design, iterative development and evaluation. The course will use the programming language Processing and its IDE to design and develop games of complexity similar to casual, browser-based games.


Course Objectives:

- Introduce concepts in object-oriented and event-driven programming

- Develop a basic understanding of methods of coding 2D interactive interfaces including image manipulation, sprite movement, and collision and edge detection

- Develop an understanding of methods to maintain state in user-interactive environments

- Develop an iterative programming practice and methods to design and evaluate code

- Introduce the fundamentals of game mechanics and interaction design and their applications in digital game development


Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to do the following:

- Design, program/debug and test a complete, simple game program

- Utilize an IDE for program development (file organization, coding and debugging)

- Define the main concepts in Object-Oriented Programming: Encapsulation, Inheritance, Polymorphism; identify these concepts in code; and explain the benefits of their usage; design/write code that makes good use of these concepts

- Apply an event-driven programming architecture to create a traditional update/render game loop and handle user input

- Discuss the issues involved in collision detection and solve this problem programmatically for simple cases


  • Lab Participation and Challenges 5%
  • Programming Homework 14%
  • Assignments 23%
  • Quizzes 25%
  • Final Exam 33%


Students can earn 2% bonus for participating in a qualified research study.



Programming Environment:

The course will use the programming language Processing and its IDE to design and develop games.

Programming Resources:

Available in Canvas and/or lecture slides.


“Learning Processing: A Beginner's Guide to Programming Images, Animation & Interaction” (2015) by Daniel Shiffman; 2nd Edition; Morgan Kaufmann (also avaiable online via SFU lLibrary)
ISBN: 9780123944436


“Fundamentals of Game Design” (2013) by Ernest Adams; 3rd Edition; New Riders
ISBN: 9780321929679

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.