Game Design, BA

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. 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
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.

DES 100 Introduction to Design Process

This course introduces the design process as it applies to interactive experiences. Topics include exploration, research, proposals, prototypes, iteration, and polishing of an interactive experience.

 

DES 101 Principles of Interactive Design

This course explores the principles of interactive design and how those principles are used to create engaging experiences. Topics include the nature of the design profession, how tension leads to engagement, complexity versus depth, and how to test interactive experiences effectively.

 

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.

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 2
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.

 

DES 105 Game Design Process

This course covers the process of designing complete games through the creation of non-digital dice, card, and board games. Topics may include writing rules, playtesting, game state, randomness, hidden information, and game balance.

 

DES 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.

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 120 Introduction to Digital Production

This course introduces the workflows, methodologies, and best practices for working within a modern digital game development environment. Topics may include game editors, components, basic scripting, input processing, importing art and audio, level creation, and source control.

 

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 3
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.

DES 220 Systems Design I

This course focuses on how to create interactive systems with the proper balance of complexity versus depth. Topics may include combat systems, economic systems, social systems, and system balancing.

 

DES 270 User Research I

This course introduces the basic principles of user research and formal testing methodologies based on the scientific method. Topics include selecting research methods, selecting test candidates, focus group testing, metrics-based analysis, and end-user research.

 

GAM 200 Project II

This course is the first semester of a two-semester project, which will be continued in GAM 250. Students will work together on teams of three or more to create a simple real-time two-dimensional game or simulation. Techniques are explored for working effectively on a team, following a development process, using discipline-based best practices, and applying core discipline-based skills to game development. 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.

 

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 4
COL 499 Career Search Preparation: Materials, Logistics, and Communication

This is a capstone course for students to prepare their 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.

 

CS 165 Programming Foundations

This course expands on basic programming skills through an exploration of object-oriented programming techniques. Topics may include classes, inheritance, interfaces, polymorphism, and data structures.

 

DES 240 Level Design I

This course introduces the basic principles of level and encounter design. The course focuses on the design of spatial environments, player guidance techniques, and controlling pacing through encounter frequency and variety.

 

DES 301 Game Design I

This course focuses on the design and implementation of engaging digital game prototypes. Topics may include building tension, effective feedback, teaching the player, and using interactive elements to create engagement through accomplishment, challenge, and connection.

 

GAM 250 Project II

In this course, students work to complete the projects they began in GAM 200. Techniques are explored for iterating effectively, formal testing, tracking progress, and integrating design, art, and audio into a unified experience. This second semester focuses on production to bring the project to the point where the target audience finds it engaging.

 

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.

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.

DES 302 Game Design II

This course focuses on the design and implementation of engaging digital game prototypes. Topics may include using space effectively, kinesthetic flow, motivating through autonomy, and using interactive elements to create engagement through discovery, sensation, and fantasy.

 

DES 365 Game Feel

This course explores how visuals, audio, programming, and design intersect to create immersive interactive experiences. Emphasis is placed on the implementation of dynamic user interfaces, intuitive real-time feedback, and immersive control systems.

 

GAM 300 Project III

This course is the first semester of a two- or three-semester project, which will be continued in GAM 350, and then in GAM 375 for a three-semester project. Students will work together on teams of three or more to create an advanced real-time game or simulation. Techniques are explored for creating high-performance teams, tuning development processes for specific projects, using advanced discipline-based best practices, and applying specialized discipline-based skills to game development. 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.

Semester 6
COL 499 Career Search Preparation: Materials, Logistics, and Communication

This is a capstone course for students to prepare their 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.

 

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.

DES 303 Game Design III

This course focuses on the design and implementation of highly original and engaging digital game prototypes. Topics may include originality in design, narrative engagement, motivating through connection, and using interactive elements to create engagement through fellowship, expression, and catharsis.

DES 370 User Research II

This course covers advanced user research techniques with an emphasis on information visualization. Topics include methods for collecting and building data sets, assessing the quality of those data sets, selecting the optimal method for data visualization, and creating user research reports.

 

GAM 350 Project III

In this course, students work to complete the projects they began in GAM 300. This second semester focuses on production to bring the project to the point where the target audience finds it engaging. Furthermore, techniques are explored for creating effective resumes, interviewing, and pursuing internships. The project may be continued for a third semester in GAM 375.

 

MUS 115 Fundamentals of Music and Sound Design

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.

This course was previously called FLM 275. Credit may be received for MUS 115 or for FLM 275, but not for both.

 

Semester 7
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.

 

DES 400 Integrated Digital Design

This course focuses on designing and implementing an original digital experience that integrates sensory, narrative, and interactive elements into an engaging overall work that is suitable as a portfolio piece.

 

Design Elective Any three-credit DES course numbered 200 or higher
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.

 

Psychological Elective Any three-credit course with the PSY designation
Semester 8
Design or Psychology Elective Any three-credit DES course numbered 300 or higher, or PSY course numbered 200 or higher
GAM 400 Project IV
English Elective Any three-credit course with the ENG designation
HSS Elective Any three-credit course from the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, except those with the COL 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