BS Online Game Programming and Development — Curriculum

Master Game Development Tools and Skills

The Game Programming and Development curriculum emphasizes mastery of a variety of computer programming languages, scripting, artificial intelligence, game engine development and deployment, visual design and the use of industry-standard software applications.

Students have a library of FREE software at their fingertips, including Microsoft’s Dreamspark® suite, Autodesk, and game engines Unity and Unreal.

To earn your degree, the following courses must be successfully completed.

Game Programming and Development Curriculum

Required Core Courses

Game Programming and Development (BS) Online Major Courses

COM-230: Graphics and Layout in Print Media
This course is an introduction to the principles and practices of graphic design. Students are introduced through lecture, demonstration and hands-on computer work to the basic elements of graphic visual communication. Adobe Illustrator is used as a primary tool in exploring visual perception through a variety of creative exercises that familiarize the student with basic visual principles such as figure/ground manipulation, shape grouping, letterform shape creation, and grid and system creation. Formal elements of graphic design such as line, shape, color, texture, pattern, balance, symmetry, rhythm, space and unity are thoroughly explored by example and hands-on computer exercises; special topics included are: designing with type, layout strategies, logo design, symbol and pictogram development and stationery systems.
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-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-310: Player-Centered Game Design
Digital games have quickly become the most dominant and popular form of entertainment in the United States, but that meteoric rise has garnered considerable scrutiny from the public. While early psychological research focused primarily on potentially negative effects of gaming, attention has more recently shifted to understanding the broader psychological principles at work in digital games. This course introduces students to the application of psychological theories, concepts, and methodologies to the study of digital games. Through course readings, discussion, and academic research, students will explore a variety of topics related to digital game psychology, including motivation, immersion, interaction, cognition, emotional investment, addiction, aggression, and prestige.
GAM-312: Scripting in C# for Games
This course is going to be covering C# fundamentals as well as how to script in a game engine using the C# language. Students will learn how to create basic script files and get an understanding for variables, functions, events, loops, conditional Statements, and classes. This course will also cover scripting solutions in multiple game engines.
UC take IT-232 and GAM 110; COCE take IT-230
GAM-415: Graphics Game Engine
Students get an introduction to advanced graphics topics including skeletal animation, ray tracing, particle integration, lighting, shaders and materials. Projects are introduced to implement these important visual effects. The knowledge obtained will be assimilated and applied to a wide range of usages and application. Linear Algebra algorithms will be refreshed and/or introduced specific to the topic at hand. Students will learn the basics of Direct X, Open GL, and Rendering solutions (forward and deferred).
IT-230 IT-232 GRA-202 MAT-350
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
GAM-495: Game Programming Capstone
This course represents the integration of previous coursework and practical experience with a focus on authentic demonstration of competencies outlined by the program. Students will develop a self-identified gaming project as a culminating capstone experience. The course will be structured around this critical task so that students have the appropriate support and resources required to be successful.
Must have completed 111 credits to register for th
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.
GRA-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.
GRA-220: Introduction to Digital Imaging
Using Photoshop and Illustrator software, this course is a Mac-based introduction to professional computer graphics creation and to the software and hardware typically used in the graphic design, video, photography and interactive Web/multimedia industries. Emphasis will be placed on the professional use of image- capturing devices, such as scanners, digital still cameras and video cameras. Image editing and color management systems will be discussed and demonstrated. The important differences between vector and bitmap graphics will be defined, as will the significant differences in preparing images for print, broadcast and Web distribution. Students will be encouraged to experiment with their own and preexisting images using sophisticated digital editing techniques such as layering, channel masking, filtering, cloning and montaging. Students will output their work from inkjet printers and record it on CD, video and film. Special attention will be paid to copyright awareness in the age of digital image.
IT-145: Foundation in Application Development
This course is an introduction to the design, implementation, and understanding of computer programs. The course emphasizes programming as a problem-solving technique in business and engineering applications. Students will write computer code in a logical, structured, and organized manner. The course also covers the key concepts of object orientation, including inheritance, encapsulation, polymorphism and communication with messages. Other topics include classes and objects, base classes and class hierarchies, abstract and concrete classes. Students will learn to write, review and document interactive applications and working with Software Development Kits and Integrated Development Environment tools. Offered every year. This is a programming course and lab intense. Prerequisite or Concurrent: IT 100
CIS-100 or IT-100
IT-200: Fundamentals of Information Technology
This course offers a broad introduction to the tools and applications students will need to become successful professionals in the IT environment. Students will examine the core information technologies of human-computer interaction, information management, programming, networking, web systems and technologies, as well as information assurance and security.
IT-230: Software Development with C#.NET
This course is designed to introduce C#, an event-driven, fully object-oriented, visual programming language. The course covers the Visual Studio.NET integrated development environment (IDE) while covering the basics of the C# language. Topics include input / output statements, arithmetic and logical operations, control structures, program modules (methods and classes) and arrays. Students will be involved in writing programs of increasing complexity throughout the course, offered every year. This is a programming course.
Take IT-145
IT-312: Software Development w/C++.NET
This course teaches students how to design, implement and test applications in the C++ programming language. Topics include C++ data types, operators, functions, classes and inheritance. The course introduces students to issues associated with developing real-world applications by presenting several case studies. The concepts of object-oriented design and programming are covered. Offered as needed. This is a programming course.
IT-135 or IT-145
IT-328: Project Management in Information Technology
This course covers project management strategies specific to IT projects. These project management strategies include: project initiation, scope definition, planning, execution, control, coordination, closure acceptance, and support.
IT-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.
IT-135 or IT-145
MAT-350: Applied Linear Algebra
This is a first course in linear algebra and matrices. Topics include systems of linear equations, linear independence, matrices of linear transformations, matrix algebra, determinants, vector spaces, eigenvalues and eigenvectors. After mastering the basic concepts and skills, students will use their knowledge of linear algebra to model a selection of applied mathematics problems in business, science, computer science and economics.
MAT-210 or MAT- 225 with a grade of C or better

Free Electives: 18 credits

Total Credits: 120

Graduates will come away knowing how to:

  • Create, execute and document clear and effective code in a variety of programming languages and game engines relevant to professional game development
  • Integrate methods and techniques for creating realistic, dynamic gameplay experiences, including game artificial intelligence, game physics, 2D and 3D graphics and interface design
  • Articulate and solve complex logic problems associated with programming interactive game systems
  • Apply effective, industry-standard design, production and testing techniques through all phases of game development
  • Adhere to the standards and expectations of the professional game development community, especially regarding effective communications, respect for all people and cultures, ethical decision-making and the ability to function effectively as a member of a team
  • Research, develop and contribute to advances and trends within the field of game programming 

Hardware and Software Requirements:

  • Desktop or Laptop; PC or Mac
  • Windows 7 64-bit or Mac OS X 10.9.2 or later
  • Quad-Core Intel or AMD processor, 2.5 GHz or faster
  • NVIDIA GeForce 470 GTX or AMD Radeon 6870 HD series card or higher
  • 8 GB RAM

Minimum Recommended
Intel i7 Quad-Core or equivalent processor Intel i7 Quad-Core 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+


  • Unreal Game Engine 4 (FREE for students)
  • Unity Game Engine (FREE for students)
  • 3DS Max (FREE for students)
  • Microsoft (through Dreamspark – FREE for students) & available on SNHU hosted virtual desktop
    • Microsoft / Visual Studio 2013
    • Microsoft / Visual Studio 2013
    • MS Project
  • Adobe Creative ($19.99 per month)
    • Illustrator
    • Photoshop
    • Dreamweaver
Optional 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


Contact Us

Phone: 888.327.SNHU