Grades in Game Design Studio III are primary based on team performance. Team performance is evaluated on a combination of process, product, and external engagement metrics, as follows.

25% - Sprint Performance

45% - Game Qualities

15% - Marketing and press relations 

10% - Public release of game

5% - Sammy Awards festival and presentation performance

These are detailed below.

Sprint Performance

There are five sprints, and performance on each is worth 5% of your total grade.

Sprint plans are the primary document used to evaluate sprint performance. Each sprint plans describes the user stories and tasks that will be implemented during the sprint. At the end of the sprint, we will evaluate each game to determine how well it met the sprint plans. Deviations will result in a reduced grade.

Sprint plans can thus be viewed as a kind of contract, where your team is promising to perform certain activities. Failure to perform those activities will result in a reduced grade for the sprint.

Game Qualities

Grades in this category are based on the overall final quality of the game. Game evaluation depends on the specific attributes of each game, and hence the final grading scheme for this category is game-specific. Typical elements of the grading scheme will involve evaluation of the following elements:

  • Control scheme
  • Game mechanics
  • Level or puzzle design
  • Game progression
  • Visual style
  • Splash screen and menus
  • Effective use of audio
  • Effective communication of game states and action effects to player
  • Freedom from bugs
  • Overall gameplay experience

Instructors will determine the final evaluation scheme in consultation with each team.

Marketing and Press Relations

Independently made games must perform marking and press relations activities in order to be noticed. This component of the course grade is based on:

4% - Quality of trailer, website, and press kit

5% - Outreach effectiveness

6% - Number of downloads (Does not apply to alternate controller games)

Quality of trailer, website, and press kit is an evalution of the overall marketing message for the game, the overall quality of the game's website, and the quality of the gameplay trailer and press kit materials created.

Outreach effectiveness is a composite measure that will be tailored for each game team, and comprises items such as number of social media followers, number of views of online videos, number of press mentions, etc.

Number of downloads is the number of downloads of the game across all release platforms by the end of the quarter (end of the day, June 13). For games that use alternate controllers (VR games, games that use alternate controllers or custom hardware) the number of downloads category does not apply. Instead, quality of trailer and press kit are weighted 8%, and outreach effectiveness is weighted 7%. While the actual grade assigned will depend on overall class performance, expected grading is: 

< 10 downloads : no credit

10-25 downloads : 33%

26-40 downloads : 50%

41-60 downloads : 66%

61-100 downloads : 80%

100+ downloads : 100%

To avoid double jeaopardy, games that decide to not have a public release of their game will use the same weighting as alternate controller games.

Teams may alternately decide to perform a Kickstarter campaign, or go for Steam Greenlight. In those cases, the number of downloads grade willbe based on performance of the campaign. Such games are also relieved of the need to publically release during the quarter (see below).

Public Release of Game

If a game is not sufficiently strong to be publically released, then it is not strong enough to receive an A in Game Design Studio III.

The grade in this category is based on having the game publically released on some existing game platform, such as, and on the quality of accompanying materials (description of the game, screenshots, etc.)

Alternate controller games still are required to publically release their games, along with detailed instructions on how a third party can recreate the scenario where the game is playable.

Posting a game executable on the game's website will receive 10% credit in this category. It's better than nothing, but not by much.

Teams may be exempted from the requirement to publically release their game if they are actively pursuing a Kickstarter or Steam Greenlight campaign (or similar), or are in serious negotiations over commercialization of their game. Teams should discuss this situation with their instructors.

Sammy Awards Festival and Presentation

Grades in this category are based on the overall quality of the final presentation, and on participation in the festival and presentation.