Orlando, FL, Game Design Schools
Orlando, FL, has a few schools with programs applicable to game design. However, they may fall under broader titles, such as digital arts, while still covering relevant game design concepts. This article profiles three schools that are less than 40 miles from downtown Orlando and the programs they offer. It also includes a table of facts about the schools, such as size, tuition and graduation rate. At the end of the article is a little information on other Orlando-area schools with relevant programs.
- Students at the University of Central Florida (UCF) can earn a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media with emphasis in game design and a Master of Science in Interactive Entertainment. This school is about 14 miles from the Orlando city center.
- Orange Tech has a career training program in game, simulation and animation programming. This school is only a mile from downtown.
- Stetson University , about 39 miles outside of Orlando in DeLand, FL, offers game design instruction through its bachelor's degree program in digital arts with emphases in art, computer science and sound.
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Comparison of Schools
Students who are deciding on a college need to be aware of many facts. This table compiles important information about these three schools that can help individuals find their best option.
|University of Central Florida||Orange Tech||Stetson University|
|School Type||Public, 4-year university||Public, 2-year technical center||Private, non-profit, 4-year university|
|Total Enrollment (in 2014)||60,767*||909*||4,137*|
|Campus Setting||Large suburb||Midsized city||Midsized suburb|
|Annual Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)||$6,368 in-state, $22,467 out-of-state*||$3,930*||$41,590*|
|% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Aid (2014)||95%*||77%*||100%*|
|Acceptance Rate (fall 2014)||50%*||N/A||61%|
|Retention Rate (2014)||88% full-time, 83% part-time*||82% full-time, 55% part-time||79% full-time|
|Graduation Rate (2014)||70% (8% transfer-out rate)*||80%*||61%*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator
University of Central Florida
Sitting on more than 1,400 acres, the University of Central Florida offers about 212 degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition to its main Orlando campus, UCF also has ten regional campuses spread through central Florida. The main campus is made up of 12 colleges, including the College of Arts and Humanities where the game design program is located.
Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media
The game design track for the digital media bachelor's program teaches students to design and construct their own video game concepts. Students learn about digital media fundamentals like computer modeling, digital storytelling and electronic media. The game design coursework covers topics such as animation, illustration, computer programming languages, object orientation programming and video game design and production.
Master of Science in Interactive Entertainment
This 16-month program is offered at the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy, which is part of the Center for Emerging Media in downtown Orlando. Students can choose from three tracks in this program: art, production and programming. In the art track, students complete solo and group projects while learning about figure drawing, animation, modeling, special effects and editing.
Students in the production track learn more business-related skills as well as scripting, level design and industry software. At the end of the first semester, students must pitch video game concept ideas to their peers, and the winning concepts are used as development projects during the program's remaining two semesters. Students also sharpen their skills by programming several video games, and they enhance their business acumen by developing business plans for video game start-up companies
The programming track explores the technical side of game design. Students learn to create video games using programming languages. Program projects include creating a cross-platform game engine and creating a game using that engine. Students also learn about the latest programming trends in video gaming.
Individuals can enroll in any of Orange Tech's 18 career-related programs offered in arts and technology, business, consumer services, education and healthcare. The school also offers academic programs like GED preparation, adult basic education and adult English literacy. Orange County Public Schools manages Orange Tech, and the school is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Council on Occupational Education and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement.
Career Program in Game, Simulation and Animation Programming
This 600-hour program teaches students to design video games for various gaming systems, create 2-D and 3-D graphics and construct computer games. Students can prepare for careers in the gaming or digital media industry, such as game programmer or designer, computer game developer or simulation programmer. Full-time and part-time options are available for this program.
Stetson comprises a 175-acre campus that is made up of the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business Administration and the School of Music. It also has a College of Law located in St. Petersburg, FL. Students interested in learning game design can find a digital arts program in the College of Arts and Sciences, which offers more than 40 majors and minors.
Bachelor of Arts in Digital Arts
While this degree program doesn't include classes specifically in game design, it does offer a variety of classes that are useful in the field and can be found within other game design programs. Additionally, some graduates of the program have landed jobs within the gaming industry. Students learn about interactive media, digital design, 3-D animation and digital video while learning to use industry-standard software. Three tracks are available for students to choose from: computer science, art and sound.
While the Orlando, FL, area doesn't offer any other schools with programs directly in game design, it does have a couple other schools with programs containing applicable courses. Valencia College has an associate's program in digital media technology with a focus in video and motion graphics. The school also offers a certificate program in computer programming with a concentration in game programming. Seminole State College of Florida also offers an Associate of Science in Graphics Technology with a specialization in digital and interactive media design, which includes courses in electronic media, animation, interactive design and digital video.