What Are the Core Courses in a Game Art Degree Program?

Game designers create games that can be played online, on handheld devices, and on video game consoles. An undergraduate game art program teaches artistic techniques and programming skills to prepare you for an entry-level position as a game tester or designer supporting the senior game design team. Read on to find out more about the core courses you'll likely take in a game art degree program. Schools offering Game Production degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Core Courses in a Game Art Program

Game art courses vary with the type of school you could attend. Colleges and universities where game art is just one component of a digital media curriculum have different requirements from those of a technical school that offers specialties in programming, art, and teaching game design.

Important Facts About Game Art Programs

Education Fields of StudyDigital media, computer programming, game design and development, computer science
Degree/Certificate LevelsCertificate, associate's, undergraduate, and graduate
ConcentrationsComputer science, digital arts, game play programming, systems programming, game audio, game art
Online AvailabilityFull online programs and coursework available

Sources: Hampshire College, Northeastern University, Bramson ORT, University of Washington, DePaul University, Indiana University, Southern New Hampshire University

Game Design and Development

Game design courses focus on the process and theory of game development. Content generally covers the following areas:

  • History of gaming
  • Gaming skills, software and other tools
  • Developing concepts and content
  • Project management
  • Visual appeal
  • Modeling, prototyping and testing
  • Consumer-friendly documentation

Animation

Animation is the means by which game artists create virtual environments that simulate the real world. Most animation courses begin with two-dimensional (2D) sketching and design before advancing to the three-dimensional (3D) animation used in games. Instruction usually covers these topics:

  • The physics of motion
  • Object manipulation and modeling
  • Virtual worlds and background creation
  • Animated sequences and lighting

Programming

Some game art degree programs require you to have a basic understanding of computer programming. Game art programming applies data systems, algorithms, trigonometry, geometry, coordinate systems, vectors and matrices to the development of gaming programs.

Character Development

Facial expressions, body language, motivation and motion are key topics in a course on character development. Also, using 3D animation, students are taught to apply their knowledge of muscular and skeletal structure to bring virtual characters to life.

Storyboarding

All game art involves telling a story that incorporates plot, conflict, action, character development, and pacing. Game designers need to understand those elements and be able to translate them onto storyboards that flesh out the concept of the game. Some schools require you to take a creative writing class, in addition to storyboarding.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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