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Bachelor of Arts in Game Design

> Department of Game Design & Development
Collaborate with the best University of Silicon Valley has to offer, as you team up with students from other degree programs to bring the creative side of game design to life.

Program Overview

The Bachelor of Arts in Game Design establishes principles of game design and development throughout a hands-on, practical, collaborative program. Students are introduced to both theoretical design concepts and technical skills including logic, balance, storytelling, programming, level design and quality assurance. Students will game skills in various game design techniques and technologies, including game engines and project management through many practical project courses, which culminate in a two-semester capstone project comprised of interdisciplinary student teams. The program offers a robust education in game design, collaboration and project skills, with a range of elective options to further develop skills in programming, game writing, marketing, user experience, art or audio.


Upon completion, you should:

  • Articulate and demonstrate game design principles and best practices through the development of engaging, interactive media.
  • Employ game storytelling principles that demonstrate proven game narrative principles, tools, techniques, and practices.
  • Implement, test, and critique user-centered design experiences and interfaces within interactive media.
  • Collaborate effectively and ethically as part of multidisciplinary projects and demonstrate professionalism in diverse team environments.
  • Demonstrate a career-ready understanding of game design and production through a published portfolio and professional identity.


Features of the Game Design degree:

  • Graduate in as little as 3 years with USV’s trimester system
  • Participate in our Real World Project Studios and graduate with a portfolio you can share with future employers
  • This program is eligible for financial aid, for those who qualify


 Certificate Structure


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Admission Requirement Guides

Course Highlights

Foundations of Interactive Design Introduction to the fundamentals of interactive design through lectures and the building of analog games in a collaborative project based environment. Topics covered include: history of computer games, writing rules, play balance, statistics and probabilities, layout and level design, psychology and replayability, atmosphere, design documents and multiplayer issues.
Introduction to Game Storytelling This course provides an overview of Western-style fiction development as seen through the lens of story-driven video games. Starting with general theories of story such as the Monomyth and progressing to characterization tips and storytelling best practices, the course segues into an exploration of how these principles have been and can be applied by game developers to their own craft. Through a combination of lectures, readings, writing assignments, case studies, analytical exercises and storytelling problem-solving, students will gain a better understanding of what it can take to bring a video game story to vibrant life.
Narrative Design and Leadership Video game story development involves not only writing but also what is known in the industry as “narrative design.” In this course we will examine the increasingly common role of the narrative designer and its relationship to storytelling, game design, systems planning, scope analysis, scheduling, and more. Students will also take on the lead narrative role on a large, simulated video game project, learning how to allocate resources, mentor junior writers, react to changing circumstances, and make crucial storytelling decisions.
Level Design for Single Player Games Introduction to level design for video games from developing level ideas into executable level maps to implementation, play-testing, and iteration. Exposure to level editors will provide hands-on experience in building levels. Level design principles include pacing, balance, difficulty ramping, level flow, hooks, and level progression. Proper level design methodology will be used to build single player game levels.


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