BS in Game Programming and Development

Why Choose a Degree in Game Programming and Development?

Develop your Skills as a Game Programmer:
SNHU’s Game Programming and Development degree can help you move past simply playing games to actually making the next big video game sensation. The program balances a solid foundation in IT fundamentals with advanced training in the tools and techniques used by industry professionals today. Student learn and apply principles used in writing code, developing artificial intelligence, working inside of game engines, and designing realistic physics for video games. Courses mirror the standard workflow pipeline used in industry for the production of games across multiple platforms, including web, console, PC, and mobile, ensuring that when you graduate, you are ready for your new career as a game programmer.

Connect with Faculty Members who really know the Industry:
Faculty will push, inspire, and encourage you to realize your full potential as a game programmer. At Southern New Hampshire University, we keep classes small, allowing you to connect with faculty who are there to support you on your journey. Take Professor Ed Brillant, for example – a former Art Director at Seven45 Studios in Boston with over 10 years of experience in the game industry, having worked on games for companies such as Microsoft, Apple, and Sony. Students are consistently connected with faculty members who really know what it takes to be successful in the industry. At SNHU, we don't want you to just get a job - we want you to have a career.

Develop your Network:
In addition to faculty with industry experience, SNHU’s Game Art and Development program helps you develop deep connections with other professionals. Students have opportunities to complete internships with game development companies, interact with industry professionals who regularly speak on campus, and join a vibrant community of game developers in the game design club. Most importantly, students in the program work on teams to develop publication-quality games as part of GameJams and other competitions held throughout the school year. We want to make sure that when you graduate, you have connections in the industry and a rich portfolio of work to show prospective employers.

What Can I Do with a Degree in Game Programming and Development from SNHU?

Prepare for a Growing Industry
The game design industry is the single most lucrative field in the entertainment industry today, with an estimated $68 billion in annual revenue. Skilled game programmers are consistently in demand and SNHU’s degree in Game Programming and Development prepares you well for positions such as Game Programmer, Physics Programmer, Tools Engineer, Game Engine Programmer, UI Programmer, and Quality Assurance Administrator.

Required Core Courses

General Education Program

Game Programming and Development Major Courses

GAM-207: Information Technology and Digital Games
Introduction to digital games and information technology covers game genres and platforms, interface design, game implementation, artificial intelligence, business economics of the game industry, game marketing and design, e-collaboration, and e-commerce. Students learn how to use software packages to design and implement digital games and how to use the Internet to market and distribute digital games. The course includes a project which will culminate in the conception, design, and prototype of an original digital game. The course is designed for students who have an interest in IT and games, including original game concepts, design and implementation, and executive leadership in the game industry. Knowledge of computer programming is not required.
GAM-211: Interactive Animation
This course focuses on programming capabilities to enhance graphic animations and user interfaces to provide spectacular interactive results. Those benefiting from this course include students in game development, advertising, marketing, education, web development, art and other fields that can benefit from interactive animated graphics helping to convey concepts. The course is intended for those with no programming experience as well as those with some programming background. The use and creation of animations will be covered at a level of interest to both those new as well as experienced. The results can be displayed by a browser from the internet or as standalone results displayable on a range of operating systems. This is a hands on computer based course in which the students create a number of individual projects based on their interests and capabilities, focusing on creativity and programming aspects of interactive animation. The course utilizes emerging technologies in interactive animation.
GAM-303: Design of Virtual Game Environments
This core topic addresses the fundamental ideas behind the design of electronic games as virtual environments. It touches on relevant formal fields such as systems theory, cybernetics, and game theory. Included are basics of interactive design, including interface design, information design and human-computer interaction. Emphasis is placed on how virtual game environments function to create experiences, including rule design, play mechanics, game balancing, social game interaction and the integration of visual, audio, tactile and textual elements into the total virtual game environment experience. Game documentation and play-testing are also covered.
IT-207 or GAM-207
GAM-305: Digital Game Development
To provide a technically well-founded introduction to game development using programming languages and various gaming editors. On completing this course, the student will have acquired a fundamental understanding of the Windows API, the use of sprites, animation and audio in an integrated game environment. This course is cross-listed with IT 305.
GAM-450: Artificial Intelligence
This course explores contemporary tools and principles of artificial intelligence that focus on Web commerce applications and business intelligence in particular. Topics include mining data for business intelligence and collaborative software agents that utilize resources on the Web to carry out tasks for individuals and organizations. Offered as needed.
GAM-465: Digital Multimedia Development
This course presents digital multimedia theory and develops skills that meet the design and technical requirements of professionally created multimedia for World Wide Web commercial applications on a variety of platforms and Internet applications. Each student develops a professional portfolio consisting of CD-ROM material. Students also develop working Web sites that display their multimedia projects. Topics include sound, animation, video, interactivity and multimedia distribution. Offered as needed.
IT-375 or GRA-310
GRA-202: 3-D Modeling and Animation
In this course students will be introduced to 3DS max. It will give them an overview of what max does specifically for games. This course will be focused on modeling. Students will learn the basics of modeling low poly and high poly models. How they are unwrapped and used in conjunction with textures. It will also show a wide range of techniques used in the industry for modeling for mobile, PC and current generation consoles.
IT-201: Computer Platform Technologies
This course provides the hardware/software technology background for information technology personnel. Hardware topics include CPU architecture, memory, registers, addressing modes, busses, instruction sets and a variety of input/output devices. Software topics include operating system modules, process management, memory and file system management. Also included are basic network components and multi-user operating systems. Offered every year.
CIS-100 or IT-100
IT-210: Business Systems Analysis and Design
This course provides students with the necessary level of information technology education relative to understanding the uses and roles of information systems in business organizations. Students receive instruction on the information concepts and methodologies associated with the development of business information systems, and their effective application to the solution of business problems. Students learn the major issues of managing information technology in the contemporary business environment and the relationship between organizations' structures and information technology. Team approaches are utilized along with structured computer laboratories and cases using spreadsheet and database management tools. Writing intensive course.

Required Hardware and Software: Game Design Majors

It is essential that Game Design students have industry-standard hardware and software equipment. Student discounts are available.

Required Hardware

Laptop specifications:

Minimum Recommended
Intel i7 or equivalent processor Intel i7 or equivalent processor
16 GB of RAM 16 GB of DDR3 RAM
5400 RPM hard drive 7200 RPM hard drive and/or solid state
Screen size - 15 inch Screen size - 17 inch
Screen resolution - 1440x900 Screen resolution - 1920x1080
Dedicated video card, 1 GB Dedicated video card, 2 GB+

Must have accessories:

  • Drawing Tablet - A drawing tablet is consists of a stylus and pad that connects to your computer via USB. Tablets are used to draw in graphics applications like Photoshop or zBrush. If you are a game art major, the head of the department recommends purchasing a Wacom tablet. A great tablet is the Wacom Intuos. We recommend a medium size since the large is better suited for a stationary setup. A smaller tablet is more portable.
  • 32 GB Flash Drive or Hard Drive
  • USB Mouse

Required Software

  • Game Engines - Software that assists with the creation of games.
    • Unity - 3D engine that uses C# and JavaScript.
    • Unreal Engine 4 - 3D Game engine that uses C++ and Blueprint scripting
    • Construct - 2D engine for rapid prototyping and codeless development.
  • 3D Modeling Software - Used in the creation of 3D objects.
  • 2D Software
  • Adobe Photoshop - 2D software for texturing and painting 3D models.

Frequently Asked Questions for Game Majors

  • Should I get an extended warranty? - The school offers a help desk for most software related issues, but hardware repair costs can get expensive. An extended manufacturer’s warranty may help in the case of hardware issues. If you’re going to spend the money on a warranty, accidental coverage is recommended. Most laptops have a one year manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Mac vs. PC? - Either is fine as long as it meets the recommended hardware requirements. Macs will need a bootcamp installation so they can run Windows for specific software. The MacBook Pro usually runs over $2000 for our required specifications.
  • Are desktop computers available as well? - Yes! We have a gaming lab with desktop computers that have all necessary software preinstalled. Students are allowed to use the lab when there is no class in session, though some game design teachers will permit students to work while class is in session. Some students choose not to purchase gaming laptops, but be aware that the lab is not open past midnight.

University Accreditation

SNHU is a fully accredited university. Access our list of accreditations. More...