Why should I consider a Bi in Game Design and Development?

If you’re not sure what the BI is, you might want to read this first, “What is the BI?” If you’ve already done that, then here’s what the BI for game design and development has to offer.

In Fall 2005 semester, an interdisciplinary team of faculty formed the Game Design and Development Program Committee to develop a proposal for a Bachelor’s degree in Game Design and Development. This degree program was officially approved by the Colorado Regents and we started offering this degree in Fall 2007.

The gaming industry is fiercely competitive. To give GDD students the best chance of success and the tools they need we included the Game Design and Development degree in the Bachelor of Innovation family of degrees. A Bachelor of Innovation in Game Design and Development will provide students with the technical knowledge needed for success in this field while also addressing numerous business issues like intellectual property, marketing, etc. This business knowledge will prove invaluable to our graduating students whether they decide to form their own  indie game development companies, pursue jobs at large game companies  instead, or pursue some other career path in this area.

What employment opportunities are there for a BI in GDD after graduation?

The main focus of the GDD program is to prepare students to form their own indie game development companies. That means that we’re less concerned about how our graduates can find jobs — we expect them to  create their own jobs by forming new companies. Our graduates certainly have the technical skills required to join established game development companies, or even to pursue traditional programming employment opportunities, but that’s really just a side effect of the technical rigor of the degree.

We also note that the Colorado Independent Game Developers Association has 723 members . Even those Game Design and Development graduates who choose to stay in Colorado will have an opportunity to interact with a large population of local game developers and other who are simply engaged by game development activities.

It’s also important to note that companies that build games designed for entertainment aren’t the only possibility for graduating Game Design and Development students who decide to work in the game industry. Serious games – those that are designed to teach as well as entertain, like simulation and training games, educational games, games for healthcare, and so on – are also a fast-growing game-related domain. Employment in this area of game development is also a possibility for graduating Game Design and Development students.

Game design and development is definitely a viable career choice, and the demand for new, compelling games from indie game developers and effective game developers in existing companies is likely to continue experiencing a significant growth for the foreseeable future. Even for those students who decide to pursue career options outside the game industry, the creative thinking, technical, and business skills that they learn in this program will also serve them well in other careers.

What does the BI Game Design and Development degree include?

The Bachelor of Innovation™ in Game Design and Development (GDD) provides students with a firm foundation in the basics of game design and development while also giving them the flexibility to pursue their special interests through concentration courses. In addition, students learn the business and communication background required for working effectively in the interdisciplinary teams that are the norm in game design and development. The Bachelor of Innovation™ in Game Design and Development therefore provides students with the technical, business, and communication background to work on innovative game design and development projects, including the ability to:

1. recognize the broader issues in GDD-related problems,
2. understand the technological, business, legal and societal constraints affecting this technology,
3. communicate the key issues, needs, potential options, and final solution to GDD challenges.

The program seeks to prepare students for successful careers and lifelong learning, whether they form their own companies or pursue traditional corporate employment.

Degree Requirements

The degree requirements for the Bachelor of Innovation degree in Game Design and Development requires completion of at least 120 credit hours and a minimum 2.0 grade point average in all GDD courses, computer science courses, and courses taken at the University of Colorado. The courses for the degree are outlined as follows:

GPS 1010 (3 Credits)

Innovation Core (24 Credits)

Cross Discipline Core (15 Credits)

Creative Communication is the standard cross discipline core for GDD students.  GDD students who select the Business of Globalization Core are required to take a Visual Arts course and a Music course as free electives.

English (3 Credits)

Mathematics (7 Credits)

MATH 1350 Calculus I 4
CS 2300 Computational Linear Algebra 3

Science (11 credits)

Required Courses 5 Credits
PES 1110 General Physics I – Calculus Based 4 Credits
PES 1160 Advanced Physics Lab I 1 Credit
Choose 6 credits from the following:
Biology, Chemistry, Geography and Environmental Studies, Geology, and Physics and Energy ScienceAny more than 6 credits count as free electives 
6 Credits

Game Design & Development Core (30 credits)

These courses work out to be about 70% programming and about 30% design/protoyping

GDD 1100 Introduction to Game Development 3 Credits
GDD 1200 Introductory Programming for Game Developers 3 Credits
GDD 2100 Game Design for Diverse Populations 3 Credits
GDD 2150 Fundamental Game Design Concepts 3 Credits
GDD 2200 OO Analysis, Design, and Implementation 3 Credits
CS 2250 Advanced Data Structures in C++ 3 Credits
GDD 3400 AI for Games 3 Credits
GDD 4900 Commercial Game Development Practicum 3 Credits
CS 3350 Team-Based Game Production 3 Credits

You can find descriptions of the GDD courses here and the CS courses here

GDD Concentration Electives (15 credits)

The typical mix for these courses is about 60% programming and about 40% design/protoyping, but they can skew a little more in either direction based on which courses are selected

Choose from: 15 credits
GDD courses, 3000 or above
CS courses, 3000 or above

Electives (12 Credits)

How Rigorous is a BI in Game Design and Development?

One of the most exciting aspects of the degree program described here is the combination of a set of required (core) courses to ensure all students develop a firm foundation in game design and development and business and innovation issues while also giving them the opportunity to their special interests through GDD-related concentration courses. The College of Engineering and Applied Science is responsible for the degree, with the GDD faculty housed in the Computer Science department. Given the significant programming requirements and the technical design issues covered in the courses in the GDD major, the technical rigor of the degree and the effort required to successfully complete the degree is comparable to other undergraduate engineering degrees.

What might my college schedule look like?

Sample schedules for the degree are outlined as follows:

BI in Game Design & Development

BI in Game Design & Development with a delayed start in calculus

BI-GDD Program Planning Self Advising Worksheet: SelfAdvising.xlsx

BI-GDD Prospective Course Offerings: GDD_ProjectedCourseOfferings_2018-2019

Intra-University Transfer Students:

Students admitted to UCCS into the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences as “Business Intent” or “Engineering Intent” students are required to meet the College of Business intra-university transfer requirements  within two semesters of enrolling at UCCS or the College of Engineering intra-university transfer requirements  within three semesters of enrolling at UCCS in order to progress into those respective colleges’ majors. Students not meeting business or engineering intra-university transfer requirements within the allotted time for each college become ineligible for future admission into that respective college and will be advised into another degree program at the University.

Students from other colleges at UCCS may transfer into the College of Engineering and Applied Science. Students transferring into the College must have completed at least 13 credit hours at UCCS and have a cumulative CU GPA of at least 3.3, including completion of Calculus I. Students completing 30 credit hours must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 at UCCS before being admitted into their major, including MATH 1350MATH 1360, and either CHEM 1401/CHEM 1402 or PES 1110.  All math courses must be completed with a grade of “B” or better for admission into the College.

Intra-University Transfer guidelines for the BI in Computer Science, Computer Security, and Game Design and Development are as follows:

  • A student may transfer into the College of EAS in a BI major without the explicit approval of an EAS faculty advisor in their major if they complete at least 15 credit hours in LAS with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better, AND each course in their intended major, in the Innovation core, and in math is completed with a grade of “B” or better.

What have BI GDD students done?

The link below show some example where BI graduates were part of commercial games as well as some student portfolio projects. In the program students build elements that can help build their professional portfolio that can help them in finding jobs.  We have multiple graduates in pre-existing game companies, and multiple other students started their own companies.