By The Numbers
As a game designer, your passion is key to your success in the fast-growing gaming industry. The skills you acquire will prepare you for a variety of careers in the industry and related fields. You could contribute to teams working on an MMORPG, design virtual reality experiences for theme parks, develop military training simulations, develop games for the rapidly expanding health care industry, or even revolutionize course delivery in schools.
Our game design and development degree provides hands-on experience building games through game labs, internships and research projects. Choose either the game design track, which focuses on building, designing and programming games or the game art track, where you create game features, such as characters, props, architecture and levels.
Students take two required and two elective courses from either the game design track (designing, producing and making games) or the game art track (creating and designing the artwork and assets such as characters, props, costumes, architecture, levels and sound). A unique feature of the program is the game lab where students come together in interdisciplinary teams to build game prototypes. The game lab is offered as a multi-semester sequence beginning in the sophomore year. In the senior year, the program culminates in a capstone experience when students take the Senior Project and Seminar.
Through the QU in LA program, you can spend a semester interning at California companies such as Electronic Arts, Blizzard or Facebook. Our students have worked as counselors at iD Tech, a prestigious game design camp held at sites across the country, and our graduates have joined established leaders in entertainment, such as Sesame Workshop.
Center for Game Development (CGD) supports the continued development of select student and faculty games by providing financial support and resources during the summer and fosters a shared and continuing culture of technological know-how and innovation.
A degree in game design and development can position you for a career in a growing number of specialized and in-demand opportunities. Graduates can work in the gaming design, programming, animation and art direction and related specialties. Game design majors gain abilities that are valued in a wide spectrum of potential careers.
Examples of careers for game design and development majors:
- Usability/Play testing
- Level Design
- Game Designer
- Concept Artist
- Texture Artist
- UI Artist
- Art Director
- Asset Design
- Character Design
- Charater Rigger
- Engine Programmer
- Graphics Programmer
- AI Programmer
- Audio Programmer
- Network Programmer
- Sound Design
- Programming for Game Play Design
Student Spotlight: Katie Rosell '20
Winning at game design
Even at 14 years old, Katie Rosell ’20 was ready to leave her mark in the video game world. All you had to do was watch her play. She owned Nintendo 64 the way Super Mario owned the best mustache.
She jumped. She ran. She saved the day. But still, something was missing.
“I started to realize, ‘Wow, I like playing games, but wouldn’t it be even more fun to make my own games?’ It just kind of hit me,” said Rosell, a game design and development major with a concentration in art and a minor in computer science.
But there was more to it than that. “Grand Theft Auto,” “Call of Duty,” the games with the big budgets and the big development teams had male protagonists.
So Rosell set out to leave her mark at her first game design camp in 2012 in suburban Boston.
“I walked into the room the first day,” Rosell said, “and I was the only girl among 38 guys—and they were all older than me.”
Today, Rosell is making her own games and working collaboratively to build more sophisticated projects. She is among the most talented artists in the GDD program and animates her characters by hand as well as with motion capture and 3-D modeling.
In the motion analysis laboratory on the North Haven Campus, Rosell learned how to give life to her characters, including a fisherman. Rosell wore a special motion capture suit with sensors and pretended she was fishing—casting the line, reeling in a fish. Again and again.
The computer picked up her movements and compiled the data as 3-D modeling. Suddenly, her digital fisherman had scored the catch of the day.
“I’ve found that people see what you’re good at. Your talent speaks for itself,” Rosell said. “I just want to keep building my portfolio and getting better.”
She credits Associate Professor Elena Bertozzi, Assistant Professor Jonah Warren and Clinical Professor Juan Garbalosa, the director of the motion analysis laboratory, among her mentors at Quinnipiac.
“In my major, I’ve never encountered people who’ve said, ‘Oh, she’s a girl. She can’t do this.’ I’ve never felt that vibe here,” said Rosell, whose older sister, Erika Rosell, earned her MBA from Quinnipiac in May. “It’s always just been, ‘Are you experienced enough to tackle this problem?’ That’s how the program works—and I love that so much."
Faculty Spotlight: Jonah Warren
Turning art history into an award-winning game
In more than 15 years as a game designer, Professor Jonah Warren has learned an important lesson about developing the most fun, challenging and memorable games:
“Simple, elegant concepts often make for the best games.”
Warren’s most recent game, “Sloppy Forgeries,” is one prime example. The computer-based, multiplayer painting game gives players a blank canvas, a few simple paint tools for choosing color and brush size, and 90 seconds to re-create famous historical paintings as accurately as possible.
Sloppy Forgeries earned Warren the Best Game Award at the 2018 Miami @ Play festival, a good showing for a game still in its development stage.
“Of all the games I have made, this is the one that has had the best reception,” he said.
Warren empowers his students to enter professional game competitions and exhibitions as well. Several have shown games at PAX East, a major gaming expo, while others have won awards at GameFest, the New England Student Game Design Showcase and the Terminus Conference and Festival.
“In the game labs, students learn first-hand how the most successful and engaging games are often thoughtful and contained, rather than massive and complex,” Warren said. “They also come to view games as more than just entertainment, but a creative medium like any other.”
Faculty Story: Elena Bertozzi
Professor wins Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant
Elena Bertozzi, associate professor of game design and development at Quinnipiac, was awarded a $100,000 Global Grand Challenges Grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Grand Challenges is a family of initiatives fostering innovation to solve key global health and development problems.
Bertozzi and Dr. Aparna Sridhar, of UCLA’s School of Medicine, designed an innovative method for understanding cultural norms that influence future family planning decisions in adolescents in Karnataka, India, using a game-like tool that collects information about childbearing intentions and family planning values. The data will be used to design more effective family planning educational materials in the future.
The project team has completed phase one and are submitting an application for the next phase of the project, which would include an additional $1,000,000 grant to continue this work. A link to the project website is below.
“Leveraging the internet and the ubiquity of social games, we hope to demonstrate that intractable problems can be addressed through innovative uses of technology.”Elena Bertozzi, associate professor of game design and development
Faculty dedicated to student success
Quinnipiac’s College of Arts and Sciences professors are committed to the personal and professional success of every student. While passionate scholars and accomplished in their own fields, teaching is their number one priority. Small class sizes, accessible professors with significant industry experience and a close-knit, diverse community create the kind of supporting, enriching environment that is rare. We are personally invested in seeking ways to help our students develop into strong, leading professionals.
Curriculum and Requirements
BA in Game Design and Development Curriculum
It is recommended that students majoring in Game Design and Development pursue a minor, or double major, or take courses in a complementary discipline such as graphic interactive design or computer science.
All majors are required to participate in some form of experiential learning: study abroad, internship or academic/professional product collaboration.
Students majoring in Game Design and Development must meet the following requirements for graduation:
|University Curriculum 1||46|
|College of Arts and Sciences Curriculum 2||21-24|
|Game Design & Development Core Requirements||33|
|Introduction to Game Design|
|Introduction to Visual Design for Games|
|Creativity and Computation|
|Introduction to Game Development|
|Professionalism Practice for Game Design|
|Game Lab I: Team Projects|
|Game Lab II: Team Projects|
|Game Lab IV: Team Projects 3|
or GDD 390
|Game Lab V: Team Projects|
|Game Lab VI: Team Projects|
|Senior Project and Seminar I|
With the recommendation of the student's advisor and/or the program director, students select two courses from their primary concentration and one elective from any other concentration
|Game Design Tools and Processes|
|Game Lab III: Team|
|VR/AR Development for Games|
|Advanced Topics in Game Development|
|Drawing for Games and Animation|
|Game Art I|
|Game Art II|
|Game Art III|
|History of Video Games|
|Critical Game Studies Seminar (PL 395)|
|Games, Learning & Society|
|Media and Society|
|Media Users and Audiences (WS 345)|
|The Business of Games|
|Creating Digital Businesses|
|Creativity and Innovation|
|Introduction to Fiction Writing|
|Interactive Storytelling and Narrative|
|Game Audio Design|
|Digital Music Composition for Games|
|The Art of Audio Narrative (FTM 380 EN 303)|
|Special Topics in Game Design|
|Game Design Tools and Processes|
|Board Game Design|
|Acting and Directing for Game Design|
|Design Research and Methods|
|Data Structures and Abstraction|
|Advanced Topics in Game Development|
|Object-Oriented Design and Programming|
|Introduction to Software Development|
All students must complete the University Curriculum requirements.
Students must complete the College of Arts and Sciences Curriculum requirements specific to their major. See details below.
Participating in the QU in LA Program or study abroad can also fulfill this requirement.
Students wishing to take courses from the above list must complete any prerequisites required by individual departments/programs or schools.
Elective substitutions are permitted with prior approval of the program director.
College of Arts and Sciences Curriculum
The College of Arts and Sciences offers bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees. Students earning either degree must complete one foreign language through the 102-level, and all students are encouraged to pursue a balanced program of study.
In addition, students earning a bachelor of arts degree must fulfill separate requirements for breadth and depth of study.
For the breadth requirement, students must complete at least 3 credits in each of the four CAS disciplinary areas other than the area of the student’s major. These areas are fine arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences. A course taken to fulfill the CAS breadth requirement may not also be used to fulfill a UC requirement.
For the depth requirement, students must complete at least 9 credits within a single subject area other than that of the major. (A “subject area” is identified with a catalog subject code, such as PL, CJ, WS, MA, etc.)
A student enrolled in the Accelerated Dual-Degree BA/JD or BS/JD (3+3) program is exempt from these College of Arts and Sciences requirements, with the exception of the foreign language requirement. A student pursuing a double major is likewise exempt from these College of Arts and Sciences requirements, with the exception of the foreign language requirement.
Additional course details
Explore descriptions, schedule and instructor information using the Course Finder tool.
Game Design and Development Website
The Game Design and Development website provides information about experiential learning opportunities for students, and connections to student and alumni work.