Requirements for Getting a Degree in Video Game Design & Simulation

January 23, 2020

Most video games feature explosions, but none have a bigger bomb-radius than this: game play and game players have skyrocketed in the last decade. Which means employment in video game design and simulation is at an all-time high—It is among the fastest growing careers in America. 

And you’ve probably been gearing up for a game design degree since childhood! All those games, rematches, challenges, replays, tourneys, and competitive showdowns. Who knew you were training for a rewarding and intensely interesting career? 

Because learning the skills behind Simulation and Game Design will put you squarely in the fast lane in a range of potential industries. Depending on your interests and employment goals, this job market offers a wealth of opportunities: Healthcare, Hightech/Software, Industrial, Military, and the Video Game Industry are just a few.

But how do you select the Game Design School that’s right for you? And what IS game design…what does this degree really entail?  

Meet Lilibeth Roman, a 2017 Graduate and Honor Student from the William Peace University Game Design Program. She’s now happily employed at Epic Games, so her story will tell you a lot about what to expect as a Game Design student, and what qualities you may need to take with you into your career. 

“I assist with the coordination of the Unreal Engine Sponsored Content program, provide support to sellers and customers with any issues they come across and coordinate the rotation of products. When I was at William Peace University, working with a team of three other students to create an educational virtual-reality experience is an opportunity that I value a lot, as it helped me understand how to work in a team and communicate effectively.”

Remember the growth we mentioned a few moments ago? Well, that growth has increased demand for artists, gamers, and designers like Lilibeth who can combine an artistic background with technical know-how and an understanding of the complex interconnectedness of the world we inhabit. Your curriculum should emphasize aesthetics, technical skills, audience analysis and user experience, including a design space that reflects the industry’s latest technologies. Internship opportunities game development, multimedia graphic design and computer programming are also advised.

You should learn to master design, 3D modeling and programming languages used in developing video games or simulations. A Simulation and Game Design program provides a broad background in the Game Development industry, whether you’re seeking a spot in the entertainment side or the burgeoning field of serious gaming.

From Lilibeth again: The Simulation and Game Design Program helped me learn about the Unreal Engine, which is something I use daily at my current job. I also learned the basics of 3D modeling. The program also taught me how to network and make connections with others in the industry.”

Some of the career titles/paths of simulation video game designers may include: Artist, Designer, Animator, or Programmer. Each career track may have distinguishing  daily activities and responsibilities, as well as the skills and education requirements to get hired. 

Designer Education Requirements

Game designer education requirements will vary by your chosen career track. But there are three core elements: design, art, and programming. Your personal interests, passions and career goals will determine which training program is the best fit to get hired for the job you want. A breakdown of video game designer and simulation degree program requirements by specialty and job title follows:

Game Designer Skillsets

A college degree, certificate and experience in game design, user experience or creative writing can help you get hired as a game designer or on a design team. Skills can include story-telling & storylines, scripting, prototyping, level design, writing & communication, and project management.

Game Programmers and Game Developers Requirements

For game design programming or development team jobs, the education requirement is typically a bachelor’s degree in video game development, computer science, software engineering, mobile application development, game & simulation programming, computer programming or a similar programming-focused area of study. Video game programmers should be fluent in the object-oriented programming (OOP) languages commonly used in video game design, such as Java, C and C++.

Game Artist Skillsets

Video game artists must first master traditional art techniques and principles, such as form, perspective & color theory, before they can apply these skills to game elements like characters & environments. The ability to effectively use modern graphic design & computer animation software, such as Adobe Flash, will also help you get hired as a video game artist.

Making Real-World Connections

There are currently dozens of simulation and gaming industry companies in the Triangle area alone.

Lilibeth recalls, WPU gave me the opportunity to network with a variety of game industry professionals and students within in the Raleigh area. It also prepared me by providing internship opportunities, professional development courses and the opportunity to build a portfolio.” 

Potential Game Designer Internship and Employment Sites in the Raleigh Area

  • EPIC Games
  • Insominac
  • Ubisoft
  • Red Storm Entertainment
  • Imangi
  • Virtual Heroes
  • Horizon Productions
  • RTI

Be Like Lilibeth

It’s great that you’re focused on your future, and taking the critical steps to shape a learning and game design career path that will get you there. We’re here to help. Our top-ranked Game Design program stands apart and above with its inclusivity, work experience opportunities and collaboration. Contact us to find out more about this major, and how it can align with your interests and skills.

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