Game Design and Game Development at NCSU
A game design course that explores the creation of video games for entertainment and serious applications. Includes 3D graphics engine technology and programming with commercial game development software. Open to CSC majors only.
NC State is ranked #1 in the South and #7 overall for best video game design college programs by Animation Career Review. The ranking is based on surveys of administrators at over 150 schools that offer game design degrees and programs.
Game design is the creative part of game development, and it includes creating the mechanics, systems, rules, and objectives of a video game. It also involves deciding what kind of game it is (for example, an action, strategy, or puzzle), how to play it, and what the winning condition will be. It also involves designing the layout of the game, characters and locations, storyline, and user interfaces.
A game designer works closely with a programmer. The game designer creates the concept of the game and the overall layout, and then the programmer implements it into computer code. The programmer takes into account all of the nuances and technical limitations that could arise. The result is a playable product that the designer originally intended. This is known as the waterfall method of game production. Ultimately, the quality of your portfolio is what will differentiate you from thousands of other candidates who completed similar projects in similar programs.
Almost every video game on the consoles, computers and mobile devices you play was made by a team of skilled developers. They are responsible for the code that brings them to life and that allows you to experience them as intended by the designers and producers who create them.
Using one of several programming languages, they turn the design and art concepts of game designers into the actual building blocks that make up a video game. They also test games to see how they perform and iron out any bugs during the quality assurance process.
The computer science department at NC State first began offering a video game development concentration in 2008. The students in this program are provided with the tools to develop 2D and 3D games. They take courses from a list of restricted electives in addition to the required core classes for the major. They are also given access to the Digital Games Research Center, which enables them to work with local game studios to build their skillset and networks.
Using computer animation tools, game artists create the visual aspects of a video game, including environments and characters. They also use their talents to design a game’s layout and gameplay mechanics. Collectively, their work results in rich virtual worlds that compel video game enthusiasts to spend billions of dollars annually.
A game artist can find work at a wide variety of companies, from small startups to major technology firms. Most have a bachelor’s degree in art, computer science, or game design and are proficient in specialized software.
Students considering a career in game art should consider their strengths, preferences, and long-term goals before choosing this path. A game art degree is a more specialized degree than a general arts degree, and it may be difficult to switch roles later on. A game designer, on the other hand, needs to be familiar with the rigors of production and project management. It is critical that they keep artist teams working to a clear brief and on schedule.
Music is an important part of game development, whether it is a traditional orchestral piece or a song made using a computer. This is because it helps to convey a feeling or create atmosphere. It is also used to help the player get immersed in the game. For example, the soundtrack of Space Invaders speeds up as the aliens approach the player. This is known as dynamic music.
Creating video game music is a challenge because it requires a different mindset than writing music for other media. Video game composers have to understand how the game works and the gameplay mechanics. They also have to create music that fits with the game’s theme.
The Department of Computer Science at NC State is one of the top schools in the country for gaming design. Its programs are rigorous and prepare students for a variety of careers in the field. Its curriculum includes courses on game design, engineering, art, and music.