CS 4803/8803 HAR: AR Game Design Studio

Instructor: Blair MacIntyre (blair at cc.gatech.edu)
Office hours: TBA

TA: Evan Barba (ebarba3 at gatech.edu)
Office hours: TBA


The goal of this class is to give students intensive experience in rapidly designing, prototyping and testing handheld augmented reality games. With recent advances in the power and ubiquity of mobile devices (from cell phones to game consoles), mobile games have become an exciting area of future growth for the game industry as well as an area for exploring new genres of creative game design. Handhheld augmented reality games, which combine computer graphics with the video from the cameras on these portable devices, offer the ability to move games off of the small mobile screens and integrate them into the players immediate social and physical environment.

We will focus on handheld AR games that integrate physical props (such as cards, game pieces and/or game boards) into the game space. These physical props provide a tangible, shared playspace for the AR game, and may also support physical interaction, shared awareness and other mechanics often associated with board and card games.

The focus of the class will be a series two-three week design and prototyping sessions. In each session, students will work in groups to design, refine and prototype a new handheld AR game. To facilitate rapid generation of design ideas, each session will start with the class playing tradition games (e.g., board games or other traditional games) and brainstorming concepts for AR games based on them. Each group will refine and prototype their game idea and present a demo of a working prototype at the end of the session. By the end of the semester, each student should have a portfolio of working AR game prototypes.

Technically, the game prototypes will be built on the Gizmondo, a mobile game device running WindowsCE, that has a camera, bluetooth, ARM CPU, and NVidia graphics processor. We will provide each student in the class with a Gizmondo, along with code samples, game examples and substantial technical support throughout the class. Programming will be done in C/C++ (using Visual Studio), and we expect each student to be able to develop in this environment. However, we do not expect students to have previous AR or computer vision experience. (Given the short time span for each game session, developing substantial new computer vision or AR technology will be beyond the scope of the class.

Class Resources

We will use t-square (http://t-square.gatech.edu) for the class. All slides, software and project reporting will be done using the site.

Final Exam

There will be no final exam. The final project presentation will use the final exam slot.


There is no official textbook. However, you are expected to have (and to have read) the CS4455 textbook "Game Design Workshop" by Tracy Fullerton et al.


Your grade will be based entirely on assignments, projects and in class activities. You are expected to attend class.

Expected/required Background