Game Design, BA

Programme Overview
The BA in Game Design programme combines the theory and practice of game design and user experience with coursework in the humanities, social science, art, and the fundamentals of mathematics and computer science. Students learn about the artistic and narrative principles that make interactive experiences both intuitive and compelling, as well as the tools and processes that professional designers use to implement, test, and refine their ideas in a real-world production environment. The result is a skilled designer who has a deeper knowledge of how writing, art, and the social sciences all come into play when creating games, interfaces, and other interactive experiences.

Curriculum
Students in the BA in Game Design programme focus on the following subjects:

  • Game design and development, including game mechanics and history,  design documentation, scripting and programming, 2D and 3D level design, character design, playtesting, interface design, product management, and team game project implementation.
  • The humanities and arts, including writing, psychology, film, audio, architecture, drawing, and 2D and 3D art, with the option to study advanced topics in these areas.
  • Foundational math and science courses, including the fundamentals of scripting languages, mathematics, and physics.

Career Opportunities
Graduates of the BA in Game Design programme are prepared to enter the video game industry as:

  • Game Designer
  • System Designer
  • Level Designer
  • User Interface Designer

Learn more about DigiPen's Bachelor of Arts in Game Design.

Eligibility and Exemption

All full-time diplomas awarded by the five local polytechnics

Applicants who are not graduates from a Polytechnic in Singapore, but have completed a formal 12th year education equivalent to A-Levels, are eligible to apply for the following degree programme at SIT:

Overseas University Partner

Degree Programmes

Subject Requirement(s)

DigiPen Institute of Technology

Bachelor of Arts in Game Design

  1. A/H2 Mathematics
  2. HL Mathematics
  3. Also see programme-specific requirements for all DigiPen programmes

Note:

Credit transfers and duration of studies will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. 

Students who have relevant post-secondary qualifications may complete DigiPen’s degree programmes within seven semesters. To be eligible for the abridged programme, students must successfully satisfy the following criteria:

  1. The course(s) being evaluated must be taken at a bona fide, legitimate institution recognised and approved by a regulatory authority that oversees the educational system in the country where the institution is. These courses must appear on official transcripts from the institution.  The final decision regarding the transfer credits remains at DigiPen’s discretion.

  2. The course(s) must be comparable in academic quality to DigiPen courses including the number of credits or contact hours. Application will be denied for courses not meeting this standard.

  3. Transfer credit will be considered for courses in which the grade of “B -” or better is recorded. “Credit” or “Pass” grades will not be accepted for transfer credit.

  4. Course(s) transferred to a student’s major may also require a validation examination in order to be accepted.

Actual number of credits may vary from one student to another depending on the individual course work completed. Any course(s) not transferred must be completed within the duration of the programme.

Study Trip

All students have to complete a 12-week immersion programme at the home campus of DigiPen Institute of Technology in Redmond.  Students will take classes in Redmond’s summer semester and work with faculty and students from different programmes. The estimated cost for the programme ranges from S$8,000 - S$9,000 (based on prevailing currency exchange rates and flight ticket prices).

MODULE SYNOPSIS

Semester 1
CS 116 Introduction to Computer Technology and Programming

This class introduces programming environments to students who are not enrolled in a science degree program at DigiPen. The course provides students with an introductory overview of the fundamental elements on which computers are based, including basic computer hardware systems, operations, and structures. An introduction to basic programming includes simple logic, programming flow, loops, variables, and arrays. Conditionals, evaluations, and other control structures are also included. The instructor may cover special topics in programming or scripting and may focus on currently popular scripting languages in the video game industry.

ENG 116 Storytelling

This course covers the principal elements of storytelling including theme, character, perspective, setting, plot, and dialogue. It emphasizes non-visual media such as short stories, novels, and plays, though visual media including film and video games may be discussed as well.

 

GAM 100 Project Introduction

This class presents an overview of the way the game development industry works and a history of game development. It exposes students to the positions and job responsibilities that each member of a game development team has, along with the industry requirements for concept pitches, design documents and schedules. It also introduces sprite animation, object motion, and input processing, which students use in the creation of a game of their own design.

MAT 100 Precalculus with Linear Algebra and Geometry

This course presents fundamentals of college algebra and trigonometry, with an introduction to concepts in 2D geometry and linear algebra. Topics include: polynomial, rational, trigonometric, exponential and logarithmic functions as well as their inverses; analytic trigonometry, trigonometric identities, the unit circle, and trigonometric functions of a real variable; introduction to linear systems, basics of linear transformations in 2D; vectors, parametric lines, dot product, and projections in 2D.

Semester 2
ART 105 Art Processes

This course provides a basic working knowledge of the processes used in making art. Topics include the origins and techniques involving drawing, tone, color, composition and artistic process as well as a simple overview of art history.

COM 150 Interpersonal and Work Communication

This course provides an introduction to interpersonal and professional communication. Particular attention is paid to verbal and nonverbal communication skills, small-group communication, and conflict resolution.

CS 175 Scripting Languages

This course covers the concepts and implementation strategies for using high-level scripting languages in game development. Students will focus on object-oriented programming, high-level English-like structure, speed of development, and ease of use. The course includes a survey of commercial languages, as well as proprietary scripting languages from industry applications. Students will examine the process of conceptualising a syntax for a game-based scripting language and examine how such a language is compiled and interpreted by a game engine. Using the syntax they have created, they will create a number of scripts that could be used in a game. Additionally, the class will cover such relevant topics as data-driven technology, modular coding, function calls, and procedures.

GAM 152 Scripting Project

This project focuses on the creation of a simple game or simulation. Students work together on teams of three or four members. All projects are created using a scripting language in a rapid development environment. Topics include effective team communication, planning, documentation, debugging, source control, testing, and iterative software development techniques.

GAT 210 Game Mechanics I

In this course, students start building a foundational knowledge of game mechanics by creating, analysing, and testing non-digital dice, card, and board games of their own design. Topics may include randomness, game state, hidden information, position, designing to a specification, writing rules, and playtesting.

MAT 105 Introductory Probability and Statistics

This course presents fundamentals of probability and statistics without calculus. Topics include: data representation, population mean, variance, and standard deviation, finite probabilities, events, conditional and marginal probability, discrete random variables, binomial distribution, normal distribution, sampling distributions for mean and variance, estimation of means, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, inference, and chi-square tests.

Semester 3
CG 102 2D Raster and Vector Graphics for Designers

This course introduces the software and basic interface customization options and strategies in 2D raster graphics. Interface organization strategies, system components, bit depth, resolution, memory management, and output strategies are covered. The course also explores techniques and critical thinking skills for digital painting.

 

CS 176 Advanced Scripting

This course presents game implementation techniques and game architecture in a scripting language environment. Students investigate concepts of game architecture, such as game-system component separation and game flow while learning about essential elements such as the game state manager, input/output handler, and frame rate controller. Students learn how to create several different types of classic games in a variety of scripting languages most commonly used for professional games, learning the specific syntax and approaches of each language in the process. As part of their implementation, students learn how to use the specific graphics, audio interface, physics and math APIs found in the scripting environments used. Students survey concepts in space partitioning, particle systems, map editors and other elements so that they are capable of creating working prototypes of 2D games.

GAM 205 Project II For Designers

This project is divided into two semesters and focuses on the creation of a simple real-time game or simulation with 2D graphics (3D games are not allowed). Students will either work in teams made up only of BAGD students or with students from GAM 200. BAGD-only teams can use commercial game engines, middleware, or other libraries that teams with GAM 200 students cannot. Additional topics may include basic software architecture, essential development practices, fundamentals of team dynamics, and task prioritization methods.

GAT 211 Game Mechanics II

This course focuses on how to create the maps, characters, and combat systems needed for combat-oriented games. Students work to create a large variety of maps, create new character types for existing games, convert specific video games into tabletop games, and build a tabletop combat-oriented game of their own design. Topics may include map types and layouts, movement, visibility, force composition, character statistics and roles, melee combat, ranged combat, damage, armour and health.

GAT 240 Technology for Designers

This course is a survey of the technologies commonly used in game development. Topics may include spreadsheets, file formats, lighting, shaders, art pipelines, networking, databases, physics engines, audio engines, and artificial intelligence. These topics are covered only at a basic level—enough to be able to use them as a designer, but not enough to be able to implement them.

PSY 101 Introduction to Psychology

This course introduces major topics in psychology, specifically as they relate to cognition and learning. These topics include perception, cognition, personality and social psychology, and biological aspects of behavior. Students are also introduced to human information processing, memory, problem solving, attention, perception, and imagery. Other topics covered may include mental representation and transformation, language processing, and concept formation.

Semester 4
CS 185 C++ for Designers

This course introduces the C++ language with particular emphasis on its object-oriented features. Topics covered include differences between scripting languages and C++, data types, namespaces, classes, inheritance, polymorphism, templates, and fundamental STL components.

GAM 255 Project II For Designers

In this class, students work to complete and polish the projects they began in GAM 205. Additional topics may include intermediate software architecture, advanced debugging techniques, bug tracking, formal playtesting, game pacing, and game balance.

GAT 250 2D Game Design I

This course focuses on designing and implementing engaging games using a 2D engine. Emphasis is on using interactive elements to deliver feelings of challenge and accomplishment.

GAT 260 User Experience Design I

This course explores fundamental principles of interactive design and psychological principles related to design. Emphasis is placed on information architecture, graphic design concepts, user interface documentation, and interface prototyping techniques.

MUS 115 Fundamentals of Music and Sound Design OR Electives

This course offers an introduction to the fundamentals of music and sound design, and an overview of the production of music and sound for animation, film, and video games. Topics include music notation, key, meter, rhythm, melody, harmony, texture, tempo, genre and form; historical musical styles; dialog and timing; and digital audio production methods and techniques.

PHY 115 Introduction to Applied Math and Physics

We live in a world governed by physical laws. As a result we have become accustomed to objects’ motions being in accordance with these laws. This course examines the basic physics and mathematics governing natural phenomena, such as light, weight, inertia, friction, momentum, and thrust as a practical introduction to applied math and physics. Students explore geometry, trigonometry for cyclical motions, and physical equations of motion for bodies moving under the influence of forces. With these tools, students develop a broader understanding of the impact of mathematics and physics on their daily lives.

Semester 5
CG 125 Introduction to 3D Production for Designers

This course introduces game designers to the 3D production process. The course begins with the basics of interface organization strategies, equipment options, and production elements. The class also introduces techniques for texture mapping, modeling, rigging, lighting, cameras, and animation.

GAM 302 Project III for Designers

This course is the first semester of a three-semester project, which will be continued in GAM 350 and GAM 375, and focuses on the creation of a polished, professional-quality, real-time game or simulation. It provides the opportunity to work together on cross-discipline teams of three or more members, implementing the design and user experience of the project. This first semester focuses on pre-production to ensure the technology, tools, design, art, audio, and team are ready for full production in the following semester.

GAT 251 2D Game Design II

This course focuses on designing and implementing some of the more complicated types of 2D games, such as role-playing games, strategy games, or economic games. Students work to create several original games in these genres, including one in the genre of their choice. Topics may include character advancement, inventory, strategic balance, diplomacy, trading, and real-time economic systems.

GAT 261 User Experience Design II

This course explores elevating the user experience of interactive software through the intersection of visuals, audio, programming, and design. Emphasis is placed on the implementation of effective user input methods and the presentation of intuitive and engaging real-time feedback.

PSY 201 Cognitive Psychology

This course emphasizes emergent research and theory exploring the nature of human mental processes. Topics include neuroscience, attention, perception, memory, creativity, decision making, and information processing.

 

Semester 6
COL 499 Career Search Preparation: Materials, Logistics, and Communication
ECN100 Introduction To Economics

This course introduces the fundamentals of micro- and macroeconomics. Topics may include supply and demand, competition, market efficiency, auctions, barter, monopolies, externalities, welfare, unemployment, growth, inflation, interest rates, exchange rates, and budget deficits.

GAM352 Project III for Game Designers

In this class, students work to complete the projects they began in GAM302. Additional topics may include large project design, advanced testing techniques, internships, and an introduction to resumes and interviews.

GAT 315 3D Game Design I

This course focuses on designing and implementing games using a 3D engine. Students will work to create one or more levels from start to finish, including any needed modifications to game mechanics, controls, and cameras. Topics may include aesthetics, environment building, lighting, texturing, resource placement, player guidance, player controls, camera controls, scripting, and game mechanics in 3D.

GAT 360 User Research and Testing

This course covers a variety of user research and testing methodologies, with a strong emphasis on usability testing with a scientific approach. Additional topics include selecting research methods, selecting test candidates, focus group testing, end-user data collection, and end-user research.

Psychological Elective Any three-credit course with the PSY designation
Semester 7
Design Elective Any three-credit GAT course numbered 200 or higher.
- English Elective Any ENG course of three credits or more
GAM 375 Project III

This course is the final semester of the three-semester project begun in GAM 300 or GAM 302 and continued in GAM 350. This semester focuses on post-production and shipping the final project.

 

GAT 316 3D Game Design II
GAT 370 Information Visualization

This course covers key techniques of information visualization, the primary tool for both analyzing and presenting data. This course will cover methods for collecting and building data sets, assessing the quality of those data sets, and selecting the optimal method of visualizing the data.

Semester 8
COM 250 Professional Communication

This course prepares students for the communication challenges that await them in the professional world. Topics covered may include professional networking strategies, career search materials, self-presentation and interview skills, and effective communication across all levels and functions of the workplace.

 

Design Elective Any three-credit GAT course numbered 200 or higher.
GAM 400 Project IV
HSS Elective Any three-credit course with the COM, ENG, ECN, HIS, LAW, PHL, PSY, or SOS designation.
MGT Elective Any three-credit course with the MGT designation
Campus Location
SIT@SP Building
SIT@SP Building

Singapore Polytechnic
510 Dover Road, Singapore 139660