David Simkins Headshot

David Simkins

Associate Professor
School of Interactive Games and Media
Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences

David Simkins

Associate Professor
School of Interactive Games and Media
Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences


Areas of Expertise

Currently Teaching

IGME-602
3 Credits
This course presents students with core theories of game design, informed by research results from media theory, narrative methods and models, theories of ideation, and the nature of games, play and fun. Specific emphasis is placed on the examination of historical successes and failures, along with presentation of ethical and cultural issues related to the design of interactive software. Students will engage in formal critique and analysis of media designs and their formal elements.
IGME-799
1 - 6 Credits
The student will work independently under the supervision of a faculty adviser on a topic not covered in other courses.
IGME-220
3 Credits
This course examines the core process of game design, from ideation and structured brainstorming in an entertainment technology context through the examination of industry standard processes and techniques for documenting and managing the design process. This course specifically examines techniques for assessing and quantifying the validity of a given design, for managing innovation and creativity in a game development-specific context, and for world and character design. Specific emphasis is placed on both the examination and deconstruction of historical successes and failures, along with presentation of ethical and cultural issues related to the design and development of interactive software and the role of individuals in a team-oriented design methodology. Students in this class are expected to actively participate and engage in the culture of design and critique as it relates to the field.
IGME-599
1 - 6 Credits
The student will work independently under the supervision of a faculty advisor on a topic not covered in other courses.
IGME-101
4 Credits
This course provides students with an introduction to problem solving, abstraction, and algorithmic thinking that is relevant across the field of new media. Students are introduced to object-oriented design methodologies through the creation of event-driven, media-intensive applications. Students will explore the development of software through the use of a range of algorithmic concepts related to the creation of applications by writing classes that employ the fundamental structures of computing, such as conditionals, loops, variables, data types, functions, and parameters. There is an early emphasis on object oriented concepts and design.
IGME-624
3 Credits
This course explores the concepts and mechanics of analog role-playing games, such as tabletop "pencil-and-paper" and live-action role-playing games, from a practical, hands-on perspective. In this project-based course, students will develop their own rule systems to facilitate various facets of role-playing and associated game mechanics, then playtest and publish their games. Students will also use desktop publishing tools to produce game rules and supplemental materials suitable for publication. Note that this course assumes that students have extensive experience in playing tabletop role-playing games.
IGME-102
4 Credits
This course provides students a continued introduction to problem solving, abstraction, and algorithmic thinking that is relevant across the field of new media. As the second course in programming for new media students, this course continues an object-oriented approach to programming for creative practice. Topics will include re-usability, data structures, rich media types, event-driven programming, loaders, XML, object design, and inheritance. Emphasis is placed on the development of problem-solving skills as students develop moderately complex applications.
IGME-529
3 Credits
This course focuses on the major elements of narrative for interactive environments. Students in this course explore the basics of narrative in the context of interactive games and media, with examination of digital storytelling in games and interactive environments of several varieties. Branching narrative, hypertext, multi- and non-linear concepts are also explored with an emphasis on balancing immersive and interactive aspects of digital narrative.
IGME-320
3 Credits
This course continues to examine the core theories of game design as they relate to the professional field. Beginning with a formalized pitch process, this course examines the design and development paradigm from story-boarding and pre-visualization through rapid iteration, refinement, and structured prototyping exercises to further examine the validity of a given design. Specific emphasis is placed on iterative prototyping models, and on methodologies for both informal and formal critique. This course also explores production techniques and life-cycle in the professional industry.
IGME-423
3 Credits
This course provides students with the opportunity to explore games and simulations for social change and learning. Students will explore various research, design, and development techniques for applying games to addressing issues and problems in communities, from local to global. Students will learn to design and develop games and simulations as well as how to gather and analyze data about the games’ usage. Topics may include issues-based organizing and advocacy, place-based learning, and games for civics. In addition, students are exposed to current debates in the field of Games for Change.

Select Scholarship

Full Length Book
Simkins, David. The Arts of LARP: Design, Literacy, Learning and Community in Live-Action Role Play. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2015. Print.
Published Conference Proceedings
Simkins, David, et al. "Martha Madison: Marvelous Machines: Exploring Simple Machines in an Open-Ended, Collaborative Sandbox." Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education 2014. Ed. M. Castro and E. Tovar. Madrid, Spain: n.p., 2014. Print.
Goodman, Gordon and David Simkins. "Updating Aristotle, Freytag, and Campbell with Lakoff and Frames: Designing Interactive Narratives in Games." Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education 2014. Ed. M. Castro and E. Tovar. Madrid, Spain: n.p., 2014. Print.
Simkins, David, et al. "Gone Home: Playful narratives and Classroom (De)Constructions of Contemporary Culture." Proceedings of the Games+Learning+Society. Ed. A. Ochsner, et al. Pittsburgh, PA: ETC Press, 2014. Print.
Simkins, David. "Designing Beyond the Game: Leveraging Games to Teach Designers About Interaction, Immersion, and Ethical Perspective." Proceedings of the Games+Learning+Society. Ed. A. Ochsner, et al. Pittsburgh, PA: ETC Press, 2014. Print.
Steinkuehler, Constance, Sean Duncan, and David Simkins. "Massively Multiplayer Online Games & Education: An Outline of Research." Proceedings of the Computer Supported Collaborative Learning. Ed. C Chinn, G Erkins, and S Putambekar. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University, 2007. Print.
Journal Paper
Simkins, David, Seann Dikkers, and Eliabeth Owens. "Unbroken Immersion." Well Played 2. 1 (2012): 13-25. Print.