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
CS116 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.

GAM100 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.

GAT110 Game History

This course covers the history of games from the very first games of ancient civilisations, to traditional tabletop games, to classic video games from the 20th century. Topics may include how the core mechanics of even the oldest games are still present in video games today, how games can be categorised by their core mechanics, and how social forces and technology drive changes in the games we play. Students are required to play, analyse, and modify a wide variety of games as the primary coursework of this class.

GAT120 Game Analysis

This course focuses on learning the fundamental design principles of digital games through repeated examination of existing games. Students will be taught how to analyze and reverse-engineer the designs of major works in gaming history, then will analyze a variety of games themselves. Topics may include game mechanics, actions, controls, rewards, punishment, intensity curves, teaching the player, visual aesthetics, and aural aesthetics.

MAT100 Precalculus with Discrete Mathematics

This course presents a review of college algebra and trigonometry, and an introduction to discrete mathematics. The most basic part covers a review of functions and their graphs. The introduction to discrete mathematics includes basic counting and finite probabilities. Topics may include polynomial, rational, trigonometric, exponential and logarithmic functions of a real variable. Other topics include systems of equations and conic sections.

PSY101 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 2
ART102 Fundamentals of Visual Expression

Students will be introduced to simple drawing techniques, constructed linear perspective, visual design methodology, and drawing vocabulary through lectures, studio assignments, and simple projects.

CS175 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.

ENG110 Composition

This course focuses on generating and discussing ideas for composition and engages in all stages of the writing process, with emphasis on the development and application of critical thinking skills. The primary focus of the course is developing the ability to construct, write, and revise argumentative/persuasive essays. Assignments may also include other types of writing, such as narrative, descriptive, and comparative essays.

GAM152 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.

GAT210 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.

MAT105 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.

PHY115 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 3
ART126 Principles of Composition & Design

This course continues to build students’ abilities to draw by exploring techniques for producing finished drawings, quick explanatory sketches, and rapid visualisations. Methods for use of tone and colour to convey mood and atmosphere are covered. Basic graphic design and typography are taught with particular emphasis on interface design. Classical forms of compositional organisation, such as symmetry, asymmetry, golden mean, and figure ground relationships, are also explored.

CS176 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.

GAM205 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 in this course). Students will either work in teams made up only of BA in Game Design students or with students from GAM 200. BA in Game Design -only teams may use commercial game engines, middleware, or other libraries that teams with GAM 200 students may not use. Additional topics may include basic software architecture, essential development practices, fundamentals of team dynamics, and task prioritization methods

GAT211 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.

GAT240 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.

PSY201 Cognitive Psychology

This course emphasizes emergent research on the theory and dynamics of consciousness and the “cognitive unconscious”. Students are exposed to recent research that has led to an unprecedented understanding of higher human cognitive processes such as creativity, learning, perception, information processing, and memory.

Semester 4
CG102 2D Raster and Vector Graphics for Designers

This course introduces students to industry-standard software and practices of raster graphics and animation. The course begins with basic information, such as interface organization strategies, system components, bit depth, resolution, memory management, and output strategies. Then it explores techniques and critical thinking skills for digital painting, scanning, character development and animation for 2D games. Additionally, it looks at basic interface customisation options and strategies in 2D raster graphics.

CG125 Introduction to 3D Production for Designers

This course introduces game design students to current software and production process of 3D animation, with a focus on implementing the art assets into a game engine. The course begins with basic information, such as interface organisation strategies, equipment options, and production elements. The class also introduces techniques for texture mapping, modeling, rigging, lighting, cameras, and animation. Additionally, it looks at basic interface customisation options and strategies in 3D graphics, culminating in a series of applied problems in 3D production techniques.

COM150 Interpersonal and Work Communication

Students explore how their culture, gender, economic status, age and other personal characteristics influence their work communications. The course explores verbal and non-verbal communication skills in a global work environment. Students learn written communication techniques most effective for use in the technology workplace. Additionally, students explore and practice negotiation skills, both internally and externally at their workplace.

ENG120 Research, Reasoning, and Writing

In this composition course, students practice advanced argumentative essay writing with a focus on research, critical analysis of the research, thesis presentation, and defense. During the semester students write several research essays on various topics using both traditional and new information technologies.

GAM255 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 in this course). Students will either work in teams made up only of BA in Game Design students or with students from GAM 200. BA in Game Design -only teams may use commercial game engines, middleware, or other libraries that teams with GAM 200 students may not use. Additional topics may include basic software architecture, essential development practices, fundamentals of team dynamics, and task prioritization methods.

GAT250 2D Game Design

This course focuses on designing and implementing games using a 2D engine. Students work to create several original games in common genres, such as platformers, shooters, brawlers, or puzzle games. Topics may include aesthetics, level construction, enemy placement, resource placement, player guidance, player controls, scripting, and game mechanics in 2D.

Semester 5
ART260 Graphic Design, User Experience, and Input

Students explore elements of visual design and apply them to computer user interfaces. They analyse various types of sensory interfaces and improve their skills in creating representations of information valuable to a system user. Additionally, emphasis is be placed on the overall enjoyment of the user experience, plus consideration towards relating the user experience to the theme of the game or system. Students learn how to use various industry-standard languages related to prototype interfaces.

FLM151 Visual Language and Film Analysis

Animation is ultimately “film making,” and animators should learn from the many classics on how to effectively bring various film production elements together. Students review several films and study how the relationships between scripts, cameras, lighting, sets, production design, sound, acting, costumes, props, directing, and production lead to successful visual stories. They also examine the fundamental theories underlying visual storytelling. Understanding the creative processes utilized by these influential filmmakers provides insight into how students may improve their own animations.

GAM302 Project III for Game Designers

This project is divided into two semesters and focuses on the design of an advanced real-time game or simulation. Students work in teams either made up only of designers or with students from GAM300. Designer-only teams can use commercial game engines, middleware, or other libraries that teams with GAM300 students cannot. Additional topics may include online portfolios, effective presentations, managing scope, and advanced team dynamics.

GAT251 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.

MUS115 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 technique

OR

**any course from the Elective Requirements list.

A 200 level or higher elective of the student’s choice from any department at DigiPen Institute of Technology Singapore

NA

Semester 6
ART300 Perspective, Backgrounds, and Layouts

This course explores the animation pre-production skills of background and layout art. Students review classical depth cue and perspective systems and apply this knowledge to the creation of animation backgrounds and layouts. Additionally, students explore means of using drawing to create camera lens illusions, architectural space, theatrical sets, level design, matte painting, and surface texture. The course emphasizes professional applications, techniques, and standards of quality. The work completed in this course serves as pre-production design for PRJ 300, PRJ 350, or ANI 300.

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.

GAT212 Advanced Game Mechanics

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.

GAT315 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.

A 200 level or higher elective of the student’s choice from any department at DigiPen Institute of Technology Singapore

NA

Semester 7
GAM400 Project IV

This project is divided into two semesters and focuses on the creation of an innovative game, simulation, or demo. Students may use current software and hardware technologies with instructor approval, such as web technologies, gaming consoles, mobile devices, commercial physics engines, commercial game engines, hands-free input devices, etc. These technologies can be used to implement technical features, such as 3D animation, advanced lighting and rendering, advanced 3D physics, high-performance networking, and advanced AI algorithms. Innovation can also come from the design, visuals, and/or audio components of the project. Students work independently or in teams, as appropriate to the scope of their project. Additional topics may include advanced interviewing techniques and writing effective resumes.

GAT316 3D Game Design II

This course focuses on designing and implementing 3D games in specific genres, such as first-person shooters, adventure games, role-playing games, platformers, or real-time strategy games. Students work to create an original prototype for each genre covered using a 3D engine of the appropriate type. Topics may include puzzle design, platforming design, boss fight design, cover mechanics, and terrain modification for a 3D game.

GAT330 Interactive Narrative and Character Creation for Games

This course focuses on how to write stories that integrate with gameplay and mechanics. From creating characters to writing branching and interactive dialogue, students work on storytelling in various genres by incorporating their stories and characters into an existing game engine. Topics may include the design and structure of dialogue trees, creating mood parameters for dialogue choices, interactive narrative, autonomous behaviours, emergent gameplay, adding emotional depth through the use of character archetypes, and weaving theme and story into the game in a way that resonates with the player.

A 200 level or higher elective of the student’s choice from any department at DigiPen Institute of Technology Singapore

NA

An elective of the student’s choice from any department at DigiPen Institute of Technology Singapore

NA

Semester 8
COL499 Career Search Preparation: Materials, Logistics, And Communication

College 499 is a capstone course for students to prepare their job application materials and learn how to effectively search for an entry-level job in their field. The goal of the course is for each student to have a polished resume, cover letter, business card, and online/web presence by the end of the semester, as well as a search strategy for seeking employment.

GAM450 Project IV

In this class, students work to complete the projects they began in GAM400. Additional topics may include working in the industry, personal networking, and career strategies.

MGT451 Project Management

This course provides in-depth examination of theories, techniques, and issues in project management. It covers various aspects of project management including team leadership, marketing, budgeting, long-range project planning, contract negotiations, and intellectual property considerations. The course includes exercises that give students insight into dealing with product conceptualisation, team effectiveness and performance issues.

Any three-credit course with the GAT designation

NA

An elective of the student’s choice from any department at DigiPen Institute of Technology Singapore

NA

Any three-credit course from the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences offered at DigiPen Institute of Technology Singapore

NA

Campus Location
SIT@SP Building
SIT@SP Building

Singapore Polytechnic
510 Dover Road, Singapore 139660