Bachelor's degree programs in game development and interactive design are available in a distance learning format. Programs are available in fully online and hybrid formats and emphasize interactive software creation, animation and programming, as well as traditional art concepts in illustration and drawing. A bachelor's degree is a common degree level among multimedia artists and animators, who need the technical skills and professional-level portfolios they can develop in an undergraduate program. Before enrolling in an online program, students may need to ensure that they have access to a webcam.
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Bachelor's Degree in Game Design and Development
Online game development and interactive design bachelor's degree programs provide students with the ability to use the latest art, animation and programming techniques in order to prepare for employment in the field of gaming and interactive software creation. Many art schools offer versions of game development and interactive design programs culminating in a bachelor's degree, such as the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Game Design.
Students interested in this bachelor's degree program should have an interest in traditional drawing and illustration, as well as computer programming and technology, which are foundational elements of game development. Students can also find related certificate and associate's degree programs, as well as programs that offer post-baccalaureate studies in game design and development.
Program Information and Requirements
Typically a 4-year program, the curriculum of a game development and interactive design bachelor's degree program usually emphasizes traditional artistry, 3-D modeling and animation. Many of these bachelor's degree programs can be completed fully online.
In addition to a broadband connection, students may need a computer with a faster-than-average processor, compatible video card and additional software, such as Quicktime. Programs may also require a webcam for course communication. Students can generally purchase their books and software through online bookstores.
For bachelor's degree programs, students are required to complete general education classes in areas like English and communication, social science and math. Students will also take core requirements, such as those outlined below.
As students progress through the core, they'll take classes of increasing complexity in 3-D modeling. Beginning with a 3-D modeling introductory course, students train in construction methods, such as rendering, textural and sculptural techniques.
In animation, students acquire key frame and skeleton building methods. This course also covers the basics of animation scripting, progressing towards increasingly technical rendering and character creation strategies.
Game Design Aesthetics
Classes in game aesthetics provide students with a history of game theory while also affording the opportunity to develop their own strategies for game play and user interaction. These classes prepare students to consider the interface between game design and the end user, as well as how best to achieve game development goals.
Students learn the basics of drawing - form, figure, space and light - in both traditional and digital settings. As they advance, they'll build upon these drawing fundamentals through the study of color theory and the elements of design.
Art and Design History
Survey courses in art history, design history and architectural history are typically required. These classes prepare students to envision the spaces they'll develop while designing video games.
With the skills acquired in a game art and design degree program, students should be ready for entry-level positions in the gaming industry. Students who wish to enter this field will need to stay current with the newly emerging technology and industry trends.
A bachelor's degree can give students the knowledge and potential contacts to network in the gaming industry. Entrants into the field can become animators, comic book artists or illustrators. Graduates may also choose to work in computer and video game animation, film animation or other similar multi-media formats.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that as of May 2015, the average annual salary for multimedia artists and animators was $70,300 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also predicted the employment for these workers would increase by six percent (which is average compared to all occupations) between 2014 and 2024.
Continuing Education Information
There are options for students to continue their online studies by acquiring a certificate or master's degree in game development and/or interactive design. Although there is an emphasis on professional experience within the field, the growing gaming industry also requires a cutting-edge knowledge of the latest trends and techniques. Thus, aspiring game designers may find online professional certificate programs and advanced degrees helpful in expanding their skill set.
Online bachelor's degree programs in game development and interactive design integrate studies in art and technology in order to train students to design functional and entertaining video games. Graduates are prepared for work in the multimedia and illustration industries, or they can continue their education at the graduate degree level.