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Game Development Degree

The video game industry experienced a sale of more than $9 billion in 2012. Due to the high demand for video games, developers keep on creating new systems and software to make video games even more engaging for users. Game software development is a suitable field for individuals who are interested in technology and video games. Both online and on-campus programs are available in the field to meet the diverse needs of students.

Game software development and design programs cover a large number of areas and provide students with essential skills needed for a game development career. Major topics covered in the programs include graphics, modeling, interface design, and animation for video games. Associate level degrees and certificate programs normally offer basics in animation, 3D modeling, digital imaging, and programming. Bachelor’s degree is based on more advanced courses in areas such as user interfaces, testing, and prototype development. Generally, programs in game software development are a mix of instruction and hands-on training. Students get the chance to work on various software and applications. A certificate program can be typically earned within a year, while degree programs can take two to four years to complete.

A number of career opportunities are available for individuals who complete a bachelor’s degree in game software development. Careers in game development require a lot of collaboration between professionals, as they work together to decide the creative elements of the games and also how they can be executed using different technologies.

Game Development Degree Programs

Associate Degree in Game Development

The associate degree in game development has its focus on subjects such as animation, operating systems, and game modeling. Typically, students must attend lectures, work in teams, and use computers to learn computer graphics and the basics of computer architecture. The program may also include mathematics courses which cover programming, software design, and engineering. Other areas include scripts, interactivity, and character development. Candidates need to have a high school diploma or GED certificate to get admission in the degree program. Students learn various skills such as creating animations, audio/video effects, and graphic user interfaces. With an associate degree, graduates may acquire distribution and production positions in the video game industry. They can work as level designers, game animators, and texture artists.

Bachelor’s Degree in Game Development

A bachelor’s degree in game development focuses on the practical aspect of game design. Students acquire knowledge and skills in areas such as animation design, game design processes, and gaming technology. Courses are based on computer graphics and technology. Typically, a team project is also assigned to students, which requires them to create a game. Admission requirements for a bachelor’s degree generally include a high school diploma or GED, personal essay, and letters of recommendation. Courses in a bachelor’s degree may include computer programming, game and simulations, data structures, object-oriented design, 2-D graphics, game techniques, and operating systems. Graduates having a bachelor’s degree in game development create the game characters, design game levels, and write codes. Careers with a bachelor’s degree include game designer, lead programmer, and computer software engineer. Graduates can also opt for careers in related fields such as software engineering, computer animation, and multimedia design.

Masters in Game Development

Master’s degree in game development is based on advanced courses, which focus on game programming, project management, leadership and teamwork, and collaborative design. Students familiarize themselves with game development aspects such as design mechanics, communication with programmers, and creation of game titles. They also equip themselves with skills to work on latest technology used in the field. Major admission requirement for applicants include having a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institute. However, some institutions may require work experience related to game development. Both theory and practical work are combined together to give students an advanced expertise in the field. The degree normally includes a capstone project and a student is graded on individual as well as team effort. Some major courses offered in the degree include applied algorithms, production leadership, team game production, and neural networks and machine learning. Jobs for master’s degree holders may include senior design engineer, director, and producer.

In addition to degree-based programs, non-degree based programs are also offered in the field.

Certificate in Game Development

This program requires students to complete 15 to 18 credit hours and prepares them for various entry level jobs. The curriculum covers a number of technical aspects of game development such as computer graphics, animation, and programming languages. Students learn the whole process of game development in the program. Admission requirements include a high school diploma or GED. The program may also require completion of high school courses such as computer and advanced mathematics. Graduates with entry level knowledge and expertise can acquire positions such as storyboard artist, programmer, or character artist.

Online Game Development Programs

Students and working professionals who are unable to attend a campus based degree program in game development have the option to select an online program. An accredited online degree offers a similar curriculum to that of a campus based program. However, it is more convenient due to its flexible schedule. Students can also cut down on their boarding and travelling costs. An online program in game development makes use of online software that students can access from a web browser. Typically, all coursework can be completed online, but the program may require students to complete internships and acquire practical skills on campus.

Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment opportunities for game developers and multimedia artists are likely to grow at a rate of 6 percent between the years 2012 and 2022.  The median annual salary for the profession was $61,370 in May 2012. Growth in the profession is likely to increase due to an increasing demand for visual effects and animation in movies, games, and television. However, many companies are hiring game developers and artists who live overseas.


Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:Can you tell me about game development programs?

A:Game development programs will teach you the production processes used by various studios to design and produce games. They will also teach you the building blocks of narrative design, including the art of storytelling, character sketching and level design, along with the production tools used to translate these ideas to the screen. You will also be exposed to subjects such as social implications and interactions, usability and game economics and play balancing.

Q:Can you tell me about some of the advanced topics covered in game development courses?

A:In a game development course, you will not only build theoretical knowledge, but will also participate in hands on training sessions. The main learning objective of the course is to provide your will skills and knowledge needed to become a game developer. Here are some of the advanced topics that you may find in a game development course: artificial intelligence, social science, prototyping, game programming, 3D animation, and game production.

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