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Video Game Design

The Breakdown

From Frogger to the original Super Mario Brothers to Sims and Second Life, video games have increasingly become more artful and complex. As technology expands, these games extend their reach and in turn find a burgeoning audience. Universities have begun to take note of this growing market and a number of schools have developed programs to fill what was once an academic void. In other words, you can spend your college years learning how to create the next Halo or Madden NFL.

However, don’t be fooled by the casual fun you’re having playing “Grand Theft Auto”; video game design is a heady, intellectual pursuit. Many programs take an interdisciplinary approach and students study everything from physics, mathematics and programming to film, motion capture animation and sound design. Often times, classes are divided into three sub-sections: art and design, business and technology. You will typically take classes in all three categories to gain a thorough understanding of the industry. Additionally, you’ll likely choose an area of focus (such as game programming or animation) where you’ll have the opportunity for greater hands-on experience. Of course, classes in game theory are also a must. You’ll study the history and social impact of gaming and what elements make for a compelling game.

Nuts and Bolts

Should you decide to pursue gaming, your course schedule might include classes such as: Critical Theory and Analysis of Games, Introduction to Game Development, Interactive Cinema, Human-Computer Interaction, Digital Logic Design, History of Animation, Linear Algebra, Systems Architecture and Digital Spatial Visualization.

Decisions, Decisions

Undergrads who consider majoring in video game design are also likely to be interested in web design, computer graphics, graphic design, animation, film, photography, communications, psychology, mathematics, computer engineering and digital media.

What's Next

Video game design is an ever expanding field, capturing the interest not only of entertainers but also educators, scientists, artists and economists. Indeed, games are no longer solely a recreational pursuit; they are used to train and to teach. With the field thriving, graduates are able to move on to a variety of professional positions including digital artist, 3D character animator, story boarder or modeler. They can also find work as a game researcher, producer, FX artist, programmer, game tester and broadcast graphics designer.


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