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Best Online Degrees in: Game Design

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Editor's Picks: Online Schools for Game Design

The award for best value of a game design goes to Baker College for its game software development bachelor's degree program. Baker College's program is ranked No. 15 on‘s list of the top 29 affordable colleges for computer science programs. Students enrolled in the game software development program at Baker get more for their money than they would at other online colleges and universities that offer the degree.

Career Support
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh receives the award for best game design school for career support, due to the services it provides students both before and after graduation. College Prowler gave the Institute an A for providing services like resume critiques, job searches, and interview preparation to its students. The Institute also utilizes webcam technology to give students the opportunity to have career counselors critique their interview skills.

Technology Support
Though online schools depend on technology as the medium through which they offer classes, some schools are better than others when it comes to providing students with technology support. With a ranking of No. 8 on College Prowler's list of top schools for best technology support, the Art Institute of Pittsburgh has gained our notice for being the best game design school for technology support. With strong tech teams that are available for a long window of time each day, the Institute stands out among other game design schools.

Student Engagement
When it comes to online classes, it's important for colleges and universities to ensure that their students are engaged in their course work despite the distance component. Bellevue University accomplishes that feat by requiring instructors to provide 10 office hours a week and ensuring that student emails receive a response within 48 hours. Faculty members also track student sign-ins to ensure that they are tackling their assignments. It received a ranking of No. 1 on U.S. News & World Report‘s list of top online bachelor's degree programs for student engagement and assessment, and therefore earns the award for best student engagement.

Disability Support
Schools are required to provide disability support for their students, and many schools have systems in place through which students can seek help if they need it. However, Loyola University goes above and beyond other schools by providing forms and information on their website in an easily accessible manner. It also has an appeals process and a confidentiality disclosure, both of which can be accessed over the Internet. Those accessible amenities have earned Loyola University the award for best online game design school for disability support.

Library and Research Support
Baker College receives the award for best online game design school for library and research support, as its library website is an easy-to-use online resource that provides multiple options for searching for books and periodicals. The library also has a forum through which students can ask librarians questions, and which provides a promise of a response within three hours during library hours. Students also have the option of texting librarians or contacting them via the contact page.

Learning Support
Out of all online game design schools, Bellevue University has the best learning support for its students, providing live tutoring options for students that need extra help with their classes. It's ranked No. 43 on U.S. News & World Report‘s top online bachelor's degree programs for student services. As it is also ranked No. 1 on U.S. News & World Report‘s list of top online schools for student engagement and assessment due to the faculty's involvement in student education, it receives the award for best learning support.

Faculty Credentials
Academy of Art University wins the award for best online game design school for faculty credentials, as it requires its instructors to receive training in how to teach online classes. The Academy funds that training, and has earned a ranking of No. 50 on U.S. News & World Report‘s top online bachelor's degree programs for faculty credentials and training. A whopping 39% of Academy instructors have two or more years of online teaching experience.

Faculty Accessibility
Bellevue University exceeds expectations in the area of faculty accessibility. With student-to-teacher ratios of 23-to-1, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, class sizes are manageable, which makes it easy for faculty members to stay involved in their students' education. U.S. News & World Report states that Bellevue professors hold 10 office hours each week and track sign-ins to ensure that students are participating in classes.

Alumni Engagement
Full Sail University continues to offer support for its students even after they graduate, and for that reason, it receives the award for best online game design school for alumni engagement. The school alumni website provides career resources and the opportunity for students to establish professional networks. Students can also interact with each other through online profiles.

Prior Learning Options
Bellevue University wants to make sure students get the college credits that they deserve, and therefore provides multiple opportunities for students to earn credit. In addition to taking classes, students can transfer credits, earn credits for experience, get credit for military training, and acquire credits by passing exams. These options earn Bellevue the award for best game design school for prior learning.

New Online Student Orientation
The Academy of Art earns the award for best game design school for new online student orientation. The Academy provides orientation and tutorial materials on their website, which enables students to access them at all times. Rather than requiring students to travel to learn about their classes and the online platform, students can do so from the comfort of their own homes, whenever it is convenient.

Explore a Bachelor's Degree in Game Design

If your version of a relaxing evening involves a trip with Mario through the Mushroom Kingdom in Super Mario Bros., then a degree in game design may be right for you. The degree, which prepares students for careers in computer and video game design, teaches students how to use cutting edge software to participate in every stage of video game design, from the original story boards to the final product. Students will develop analytical skills to examine game play and game design and focus on elements of character design, level design, and game concepts. A bachelor's degree in game design generally requires 120 weeks of study, but this will vary based on the individual program.

Class Curriculum

The game design curriculum will include classes that teach students how to create professional quality visual design compositions, effectively develop interactive media, and create professional quality 3D graphics. Students will learn how to use Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, and Photoshop. They will master coding languages, visual design principles, and software methods.

  • Evolution of Electronic Games. This course will review the design history of video games, beginning with all-analog machines to the powerful console systems created today. Students will learn about the origins of game design elements such as scoring, risks, rewards, level design, and interface design. Through projects, students will understand how the original game design elements still shape the industry and its products.
  • Math Programming for Games. This course introduces students to 2D geometry and applications of linear algebra that are used in video game and interactive simulation design. Students will learn about mathematical principles such as parametric and implicit linear equations and apply linear algebra using a vector class.
  • Level Design. This course will cover various topics in level design, which is also known as game mapping and environment design. Students will learn how to create video game levels, in the form of locales, stages, or missions. Students will also discuss player puzzles and strategies to keep players interested in a game by creating levels that are challenging but not overly difficult.

Students will complete several projects to build their portfolio, which will be instrumental in finding employment opportunities. They will complete video game modules and a final project may involve creating a game, from the conceptual stage to completion.

Building a Career

Students who graduate with a degree in game design will develop strong technical and analytical skills which could lead to careers in computer and design-related fields, as computer programmers, video game designers, and graphic designers. Computer programmers create, modify, and test coding, forms, and script that enable computer applications to run properly. Video game designers may work at various stages of the process, from the early conceptual phases to the production phases. They may specialize in creating story lines, game and role-play mechanics, or other areas.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage of computer programmers was $71,380; applications developers made $87,790, and systems developers earned $94,180. Game design is sometimes categorized under the umbrella of graphic design; the median annual wage of graphic designers is $43,500.