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Using Software Engineering Concepts in Game Development – Sharing Experiences of Two Institutions

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Software Engineering Pedagogical Approaches

Tagged Division

Software Engineering Constituent Committee

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1338.1 - 23.1338.15



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Paper Authors


Jon A Preston Southern Polytechnic State University

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Dr. Preston is the coordinator for the Center of Applied Gaming and Media Arts (CAGMA) and coordinator of the Computer Game Design and Development degree and Associate Professor, School of Computing and Software Engineering at Southern Polytechnic State University. He has authored over 40 papers in conferences and journals regarding Computer Science, Information Technology, and games-related learning. He is particularly interested in game simulation, social space development and the use of these technologies to improve learning. Dr. Preston has been teaching computing for 15 years and has taught game development courses over the past six years, including a mobile and casual game development class in which students develop games for Android and the iPhone/iPad platforms. He led the development of the Bachelors of Science in Computer Game Design and Development degree at SPSU and was also the founder of the Center for Applied Gaming and Media Arts at SPSU. In the past two years, Dr. Preston has hosted seven game jam weekends (three of which were part of the Global Game Jam) totaling over 200 games developed by more than 500 participants. Dr. Preston also serves on the Academic Committee of the Georgia Game Developers Association and is currently the College Fair Coordinator for the Southeastern Interactive Entertainment and Games Expo. He also participates on the Entertainment Engineering Subcommittee of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Dr. Preston’s industry experience includes system development for a mobile platform and media company. He has participated in games-for-learning and community building grants to enhance STEM education and was recently awarded an NSF grant entitled “Using a Virtual Gaming Environment in Strength of Materials: Increasing Access and Improving Learning Effectiveness” that develops 3D simulations/games to improve learning among engineering students. Additionally, he has spoken at two recent NSF-sponsored workshops on gaming in engineering and computer science education and how to vertically integrate student teams in games for learning projects.

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Sushil Acharya Robert Morris University

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Sushil Acharya, D.Eng., Associate Professor of Software Engineering joined Robert Morris University in spring of 2005 after serving 15 years in the Software Industry. With US Airways Acharya was responsible for creating a Data Warehouse conceptual design and using advance Data Mining Tools for performance improvement. With i2 Technologies he worked on i2’s Data Mining product “Knowledge Discover Framework” and at CEERD (Thailand) he was the product manager of three energy software products (MEDEE-S/ENV, EFOM/ENV and DBA-VOID) which are in use in 26 Asian and 7 European countries by both governmental and non-governmental organizations. Acharya has a M.Eng. in Computer Technology and a D.Eng. in Computer Science and Information Management with a concentration in knowledge discovery, both from the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand. His teaching involvement and research interest are in the areas of Software Engineering and Development (Verification & Validation) and Enterprise Resource Planning. He also has interest in Learning Objectives based Education Material Design and Development. Acharya is a co-author of “Discrete Mathematics Applications for Information Systems Professionals- 2nd Ed., Prentice Hall”. He is a life member of Nepal Engineering Association and is also a member of ASEE, and ACM. Acharya is a recipient of the “Mahendra Vidya Bhusak” a prestigious medal awarded by the Government of Nepal for academic excellence. He is a member of the Program Committee of WMSCI, MEI, CCCT, EEET, ISAS, AG, KGMC and IMCIC and is also a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics of the International Institute of Informatics and Systemics.

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Using Software Engineering Concepts in Game Development – Sharing Experiences of Two InstitutionsKey Concept:Symbiotic collaboration between Software Engineering and Computer Game Developmentstudents at two very different universities improves learning and productivity for all involved.Abstract:Formal software requirements engineering plays an important role in software engineeringcurriculum as well as other computing curriculum. IEEE and ACM both have strong curriculumguidelines that emphasize the importance of software engineering, and requirements engineeringis one of the key areas emphasized in these guidelines. Additionally, system development isimportant so students practice the process – taking what is learned in courses and applying thesesoftware engineering processes within the context of real software development projects. Thekey issue as documented by previous studies is how to capture both the conceptual ideas ofsoftware engineering processes while at the same time (or in following semesters) implementingthese concepts successfully within software development projects. Typically, the processes aretaught in one course with minimal implementation within a project; at the same time, softwaredevelopment courses emphasize the development with little to no formal utilization of processes.This is not a criticism of faculty; it is simply a very difficult task to cover both the processes andimplementation in a cohesive manner. Covering all of this material within one academic term isproblematic, and coordinating across multiple semesters poses its own challenges.This paper presents a case study in which faculty from two different universities – one privateand one public – within the context of two different student populations – a group of softwareengineering students and a group of computer game development students. This heterogeneouscommunity was established intentionally to leverage the strengths of both groups in a symbioticenvironment wherein the software engineering students could focus on the more formal processof requirements engineering (within the context of their course) while the computer gamedevelopment students could focus on the implementation and development (within the context oftheir course). The collaboration had the engineering and development students acting as‘customers’ for each other – trading the software requirements specification document back andforth, improving it iteratively utilizing teamwork and requirements engineering. In the contextof performing requirements engineering, we realize that teamwork is equally important; ourprocess also allows students to explore distributed project management using moderncollaborative tools. This case study describes the process utilized and how it can be replicatedelsewhere. Additionally, we present analysis from quantitative and qualitative results we’veobtained as part of this study. Lessons learned in this research can be applied to other programsseeking a way to have the best of both worlds – combining formal software engineeringprocesses within the context of implementation projects.

Preston, J. A., & Acharya, S. (2013, June), Using Software Engineering Concepts in Game Development – Sharing Experiences of Two Institutions Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22723

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