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 Story: Nick Pinero
Using gaming to help teach life-saving skills
A team of Quinnipiac students and faculty worked together to develop a virtual reality simulation that teaches patient-transfer techniques to future health care professionals. The project, made possible by The Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, required the collaborative expertise of students and faculty from 6 disciplines across the College of Arts and Sciences and Schools of Engineering, Health Sciences and Nursing: biomedical science, computer science, game design, industrial engineering, nursing and physical therapy.
The simulation tracks a user’s movements through a virtual hospital setting that mimics the most common patient-transfer situations. It is customizable and offers users real-time feedback as to their posture and lifting technique. The simulation is also fully autonomous, enabling faculty to engage with students in other ways.
“We had to create the system that would track the body movement and find a way to use this information to properly inform the user,” said Nick Pinero ’18, a double-major in computer science and game design, who worked on coding each of the lifting scenarios and creating the virtual world.
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.”
Student Profile: Chris Blake
Game design major Chris Blake’s love for making games began as a child, when he’d create his own levels for iconic 3-D shooters like DOOM and Quake with his brother. Over time, Blake taught himself how to alter game code to create his own “mods,” and a high school course would later introduce him to Adobe Flash, on which he learned how to make simple games.
Shortly after returning from the Army, Blake would make his first real attempt at designing his own game, releasing the Android-based Cave Run Kids in 2015, a simple but fun scrolling platform adventure game.
“It was a great learning experience, but I still didn't really know what I was doing,” Blake said.
Blake, who was mostly self-taught, had never considered a formal education in game design until he found Quinnipiac’s program. His decision to enroll was an easy one. “It was really exciting to me that something I've always loved as a hobby could lead to a degree and a job,” he said.
While he has already developed an impressive portfolio of games, Blake credits his professors with teaching him that there is far more to being a successful game developer than just programming, and that the process is not a solitary one.
“Working as a team is one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned,” Blake said. “Making a game can be a huge undertaking, and if the team is not assembled and managed well, the product will fail.”
Blake recently had the chance to be part of a team of Quinnipiac faculty members and students that designed a family planning simulator game for high school kids in rural and urban India. The project was an eye-opening experience for Blake, showing him that games can be used for far more than entertainment.
Following graduation, he hopes to pursue making games that help people, especially veterans struggling with mental health issues.
“This is a field that has so much potential. As technology continues to develop, the ways in which games can help people will continue to grow.”Chris Blake '18, Game Design and Development
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
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 and interactive design or computer science. Majors can elect to pursue internships and take electives that complement their interests in the field. Students choosing the game art track are encouraged to take art history and fine arts courses.
In addition to the University Curriculum and the College of Arts and Sciences Curriculum requirements, students majoring in Game Design and Development must meet the following requirements for graduation:
|Game Design & Development Core Requirements|
|GDD 101||Introduction to Game Design||3|
|GDD 110||Introduction to Visual Design for Games||3|
|GDD 140||Creativity and Computation||3|
|GDD 200||Introduction to Game Development||3|
|GDD 210||Game Lab I: Team Projects||3|
|GDD 211||Game Lab II: Team Projects||3|
|GDD 394||History of Video Games||3|
|or GDD 395||Critical Game Studies Seminar (PL 395)|
|GDD 410||Game Lab V: Team Projects (FVI 410)||3|
|GDD 411||Game Lab VI: Team Projects||3|
|GDD 495||Senior Project and Seminar I||3|
|Game Design & Art Tracks|
|With the recommendation of the student’s adviser and/or the program director, students take two required and two elective courses from either the game design or game art track. Substitutions for track requirements are permitted with the recommendation of the student's advisor and/or the program director.||6|
|Game Design Track Requirements:|
|Game Design I|
|Game Design II|
|Game Art Track Requirements:|
|Game Art I|
|Game Art II|
|Game Design & Game Art Track Electives|
|Select 6 credits of the following:||6|
|Drawing for Animé, Games and Animation|
|Game Design I|
|Game Art I|
|Interactive Storytelling and Narrative|
|Game Design II|
|Game Art II|
|The Art of Audio Narrative (FVI 380 EN 303)|
|Game Lab III: Team|
|Game Lab IV: Team Projects|
|Board Game Design|
|Acting and Directing for Game Design|
|The Business of Games|
|History of Video Games|
|Critical Game Studies Seminar (PL 395)|
|Games, Learning & Society|
|Game Art III|
|Game Audio Design|
GDD 399-GDD 499:Independent Study
|A course from the following list can be taken to satisfy the GDD elective requirement: 1|
|Programming and Problem Solving|
|Voice and Movement|
|(uc) Directing I|
|Creating New Enterprises|
|Design Research and Methods|
|Motion Graphics I|
|Media and Society|
|Media Users and Audiences (WS 345)|
Students wishing to take courses from the above list must complete any prerequisites required by individual departments/programs.
Elective substitutions are permitted with prior approval of the program director.
Additional course details
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