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How Can I Learn 3D Game Design?

Game design programs are available at the associate's, bachelor's and master's levels. Keep reading to learn how these programs could prepare you for a career that combines visual arts and computers.

Overview of 3D Game Design

Computer aptitude is only one of the skills needed to work as a 3D game designer. The ability to draw, story tell and collaborate within a team also are principal requirements for this field. You can build these skills through an associate's, bachelor's or master's degree program in 3D game design.

Important Facts About Video Game Design Studies

Online Availability Yes
Prerequisites For future freshmen: High school diploma or equivalent and SAT/ACT scores; For graduate students: Bachelor's degree and typically a 3.0 GPA, some schools also require GRE scores
Common Courses Computer programming, game design, artificial intelligence, computer literacy, 3D animation
Possible Careers Include artificial intelligence programmers, game mechanic designers, graphic artists, content designers, user interface programmers, digital designers, and more
Median Salary (2020) $77,700 (for all multimedia artists and animators)
Job Outlook (2019-2029) 4% growth (for all multimedia artists and animators)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Associate's Programs

Associate's degree programs focus on technical aspects of 3D game design by concentrating on common tools and applications used in the field, such as computer aided design (CAD) software. This lays the foundation for beginning to create 3D images as well as understanding concepts and methods for game design. An associate's degree program can prepare you to transfer to a 4-year bachelor's program in game design, interactive media or a similar discipline to enhance your training. If the associate's degree program doesn't include drawing or illustration within the core curriculum, you might consider electives in this area.

Bachelor's Programs

Design and technology, interactive media and digital media are a few of the bachelor's degree programs providing 3D game design and development courses or concentrations. Some programs also allow for an arts or computer track. Those without a specialty track typically blend drawing or illustration with computer and programming coursework. You begin to expand your knowledge of CAD applications, using industry-standard software, such as Adobe and 3ds Max. It's common for bachelor's programs to require a creative portfolio for admission.

Master's Programs

Master's degree programs are commonly geared toward professionals with digital design and development experience. Many master's programs focus on interactive design or game development that's educational or learning based, such as military training videos. Courses at the master's level typically cover advanced programming, human computer interaction, social computing or interactive design methods. Prospective students usually must submit a creative portfolio as a part of the application process.