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Video Game Schools

A guide to understanding what video game school is all about with information about some of the best schools.

There are two very important things to consider when you think about video game schools.

  1. Overall Knowledge of the Process The first to consider is that you will need to gain an overall knowledge of what video game making is all about. What is the process? What are the steps that are taken from start to finish? This means from concept to shipping and support. What software tools are used?
  2. Specialized expertise you are going to focus on Video game design is no longer in the world of a couple of guys working long hours in the garage and coming out with a full-fledged blockbuster game. The industry is mature now and it takes a whole host of specialties to create a modern video game. While it is possible for you to do everything it is impractical. You will need to decide what aspect of game design you will focus on. Note: If the whole process is what you really like then a good option for you might be to consider project management where you handle the team and the project as a whole.

 

Overall Knowledge - This is referred to as " Game Design" It gives you the whole process from concept to completion of the game. You get a good understanding of how a game making company runs their projects and what is entailed all the way through the various stages of paper and software development.

Specialized Knowledge - This is a very broad category with a lot of choices. Here are thumbnail sketches of some of the common specialized skills in the game industry

Programmer - This is something that is a little more traditional when we think of video game making "Programming" and it is a very wide field that can find you doing almost anything in the video game making arena. Here are some possibilites:

  • Database manager A game has to store and manipulate a lot of information and somebody has to maintain this
  • Artificial Intelligence Designer - Todays games are very heavy into artificial intelligence and a lot of thought and work goes into making characters and objects intelligent in their behavior.
  • Tools Designer - You don't actually work on the game. You create software tools for the game designers. This makes their job easier
  • Engine Programmer - A video game runs on what is called an engine.
  • Wire Framer - You build all the empty shells in the game
  • Texture manager - Manage and place the textures in the game
  • I have a more in depth tutorial on programming for video games

Artist - An artist can specialize in any one of several areas of art for the video game industry

  • Concept artist -works with traditional tools like paint, pencil and acrylics
  • 2d Artist works with Photoshop and can manage and create textures and environments
  • 3d artists create models and objects placed in a world
  • Animation artists create the animated motion effects of objects and characters in the game world

 

Video game design Colleges

Here are some colleges that Offer a Game design, game art, and game animation Curriculum. There are plenty of schools both online and on campus that offer great curriculum in game design and programming. Take a look at some of these to get a sense of what a curriculum is all about and what it entails.

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Looking for an Online Video Game School with a Degree Program?

Want to do all or most of your curriculum in an online program?

I have filtered through a lot of the search engine static and listed some of the best online degree offerings I could find. Most of these give you straight answers about curriculum, classes, and tuition.

Rasmussen College- They have a variety of on campus and online degrees. In the online realm, in their school of technology and design they offer Bachelors degrees in Digital design and Animation and Game and Simulation Programming. An interesting key course in this program is Engineering Virtual worlds where you create multi-user 2D and 3D virtual worlds.

Westwood College Online - They have a Game Art and Design Bachelors of Science Degree Program - This looks like a pretty good program. Here is a quote from their webpage about the program:

"Our Game Art & Design Program helps students gain knowledge of art and animation techniques for employment in the game and interactive software industry. The curriculum includes courses such as Color Theory, 3-D Modeling and Animation, and Cinematography. In addition, a combination of management and general education courses enhance students' skills in critical thinking, logic, communication, and problem solving. Westwood College Online provides a flexible, challenging educational option for students who want to be a part of the dynamic gaming and game design industry."

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh Online Division - They focus on the artistic sides of games and not on the programming. If you have a slant toward the art of games you might be interested in this school and program. The Art Institure of Pittsburgh has been around for a long time. And if you want to get an idea of what kinds of classes you would need to take in order to get a degree they have a great course listing here

DeVry University - Game and Simulation Programming Online Bachelor's Degree - Their program is designed to be completed in 3 years and here is a quote from their website:

"As you earn your gaming degree, you'll master coding languages such as C++ and C#, artificial intelligence, industry-standard software packages, game engine development, multiplayer game programming, visual design fundamentals, and much more, preparing you to program, develop and design video games and complex simulations, from crime scene reconstruction to corporate training software."

FullSail Online - This university is serious about creativity in a lot of different visual art disciplines. Just one look at their website will give you a hint of that. They are predominantly a brick and mortar institute but they do currently have three online programs available including a Bachelor of Science in Entertainment Business. Listing of courses and tuition costs are easily found on the website.

University of Advancing Technology - This university appears to have the most comprehensive set of degree programs when it comes to getting an online education in the realm of video game design. They have Associate and Bachelors in Game Art & Animation, Game Design, and Game Programming. They are right up front about tuition costs and they have full curriculum that you can download and see what classes you would be taking. They also have a Masters Degree in Game Production program. I am very impressed by their credentials and their curriculum.

American Sentinel University - Complete set of online degree programs. Here is a link to the BS in Computer Science Game Programming Specialization Program. They have a nice tuition comparison page that shows cost per credit vs various institutions. They also have an interesting set of podcasts that you can listen to. This page has a podcast about Game Programming.

Academy of Art University Online - Fully accredited online programs in Digital arts, New Media, Animation & digital effects and more. They offer a variety of degrees including Associate of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts. This institute is something to consider if you are really serious about the art side of animation and games. Here is a link to their Animation School Homepage. It has comprehensive listings including classes you would take.

Kaplan University - They have a Bachelor's Degree in Multimedia and Animation

American Intercontinental University Online - Degree Programs: Associate of Arts in Business administration with a concentration in Visual Communication; - Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communication with concentrations in Digital Design and Web Design.

 

Not Looking for a degree?

3d Training Institute has some interesting online programs for 3d animation and artwork in Maya and 3DS MAX. They have 12 week project based courses aimed at all skill levels in the realm of 3dArt and graphics.

 

How about a Summer Camp for Video Game Design?

It's a great way to get an immersive start in the remarkable and exciting world of video game development.

Video Game Camp

Video Game Camp - Take interests further and gain a competitive edge for school, college, and future careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Weeklong, day and overnight technology programs for ages 7-17 where students design video games, mod and build with Minecraft, build 3D models, and more. Held at over 80 prestigious universities nationwide including Stanford, Princeton, Yale, and others.  Visit iDTech.com or call 1-888-709-TECH (8324) for details.

Teen Game Development - Instead of just playing games, create, design, and develop your own! Pre-college summer programs where ages 13-18 spend 2 weeks immersed in game design, development, programming, and 3D modeling. Held at top universities like Stanford, Harvard, and others. Learn from Academy faculty, collaborate in small classes (8:1 student to instructor ratio), and learn how game development can lead to a college degree and even a rewarding career. Tour a game studio and work with software from Microsoft, Epic Games, Autodesk, and Google. Also, late-night gaming tournaments.