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BA in Game Design and Development

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By The Numbers

#31


Top International Program

Princeton Review ranks our game design program among the top programs internationally (2019)

100%


Successful

Percentage of 2016 graduates who have jobs, are continuing their educations or are starting their own companies within 6 months of graduation. (Graduate Survey 2016)

Program Overview

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.

Careers

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:

Game design


  • Usability/Play testing
  • Level Design
  • Game Designer
  • Writer

Animation/game art


  • Concept Artist
  • Texture Artist
  • Animator
  • UI Artist
  • Art Director
  • Asset Design
  • Character Design
  • Charater Rigger

Other


  • 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.

A student holds uses virtual reality goggles to his eyes.

Learning from each other

Joe Huberman '17 tries out the virtual reality technology.

“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.

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Several people play computer games at a row of screens

Award-winning faculty

Attendees of the 2018 Miami @ Play festival try out Professor Jonah Warren's game "Sloppy Forgeries."

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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.

Jonah Warren sits and talks with a female student at a computer

Personalized guidance

Game design and development student Katie Rosell '20 works on 3D-modeling character assets using Maya, computer animation and modeling software, under the guidance of Professor Jonah Warren.

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.”

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Chris Blake gestures toward a video game controller as he talks with Elena Bertozzi in the Center for Entrepreneurship.

In the action

Elena Bertozzi, PhD, Associate Professor of Game Design & Development, works with Chris Blake in the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Student Profile: Chris Blake

Two students hold video game controllers as they look at a screen

Working to play

Quinnipiac game design and development major Chris Blake, right, shows Ben Longman how to play his game.

Hands-on learning

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

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Elena Bertozzi sits at a table with 4 other students in the conference room in the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Designing global games

Elena Bertozzi, associate professor of game design & development, works with members of her team in the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the School of Business on the Mount Carmel Campus.

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

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. 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.

Students majoring in Game Design and Development must meet the following requirements for graduation:

University Curriculum 146
College of Arts and Sciences Curriculum 221-24
Game Design & Development Core Requirements
GDD 101Introduction to Game Design3
GDD 110Introduction to Visual Design for Games3
GDD 140Creativity and Computation3
GDD 200Introduction to Game Development3
GDD 210Game Lab I: Team Projects3
GDD 211Game Lab II: Team Projects3
GDD 394History of Video Games3
or GDD 395 Critical Game Studies Seminar (PL 395)
or GDD 396 Games, Learning & Society
GDD 410Game Lab V: Team Projects3
GDD 411Game Lab VI: Team Projects3
GDD 495Senior Project and Seminar I3
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:
GDD 201
Game Design I
GDD 301
Game Design II
Game Art Track Requirements:
GDD 202
Game Art I
GDD 302
Game Art II
Game Design & Game Art Track Electives
Select 6 credits of the following:6
GDD 102
Drawing for Animé, Games and Animation
GDD 201
Game Design I
GDD 202
Game Art I
GDD 250
Interactive Storytelling and Narrative
GDD 290/390/490
Internship
GDD 301
Game Design II
GDD 302
Game Art II
GDD/EN 303
The Art of Audio Narrative (FTM 380 EN 303)
GDD 310
Game Lab III: Team
GDD 311
Game Lab IV: Team Projects
GDD 350
Board Game Design
GDD 370
Acting and Directing for Game Design
GDD 380
The Business of Games
GDD 394
History of Video Games
GDD 395
Critical Game Studies Seminar (PL 395)
GDD 396
Games, Learning & Society
GDD 399
Independent Study
GDD 402
Game Art III
GDD 405
Game Audio Design
GDD 499
Independent Study
A course from the following list can be taken to satisfy the GDD elective requirement: 3
COM 350
Media Culture and Arts of Los Angeles
CSC 110
Programming and Problem Solving
DR 220
Voice and Movement
DR 230
Directing I
ENT 290
Creating New Enterprises
FTM 280
Visual Effects (VFX) Techniques
FTM 330
Emerging Cinematography Techniques
FTM 372
Screenwriting
FTM 393
Animation Techniques
GID 110
Design Research and Methods
GID 301
Motion Graphics I
MSS 231
Media and Society
MSS 345
Media Users and Audiences (WS 345)
Free Electives11-14
Total Credits120-126
1

All students must complete the University Curriculum requirements. 

2

Students must complete the College of Sciences Curriculum requirements specific to their major. See details below.

3

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
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