For more information about the Video Game Development major or minor:
Contact Robert Denton Bryant, Director of Video Game Development
Forging the Next Generation of Game Creators
The Bachelor of Arts in Video Game Development exposes you to every phase of the process of creating games: developing a concept, prototyping, narrative design, asset creation, testing, and release.
Grounded in the liberal arts and in St. Edward’s Holy Cross Mission, the Bachelor of Arts in Video Game Production is unique in North America. Our students bring a breadth of interests and skills from across the university to the video game medium, from computer science to visual art to creative writing. Rather than focusing on any one discipline in video game production, our majors learn the entire process of making games, from concept to release. By engaging in many different game projects over their years at St. Edward's, our graduates develop communication and problem-solving skills that prepare them for leadership positions in the games industry.
In keeping with our liberal arts tradition, courses emphasize core concepts, creation, and synthesis rather than the rigid tool-based training widely available from other sources. Because software tools, game engines, favored scripting languages, and even business models vary and can change very quickly, we prepare you to “learn how to learn” so that you develop a facility to adapt throughout your career as technologies, market conditions, and consumer tastes evolve.
Furthermore, you’ll earn your degree in Austin, Texas — the third largest hub of game development in the United States — home to scores of industry employers ranging from small indie developers to such global competitors as Blizzard Entertainment, Electronic Arts, BioWare, Cloud Imperium Games, Daybreak Game Company, NCSoft, ZeniMax/Bethesda, Kabam, Wargaming.net, Retro Studios, and Aspyr Media.
Major Requirements: The BA in Video Game Development requires 56 hours of major courses, which include courses in computational foundations, digital media, visual studies, and game development.
General Education Requirements: The degree requires approximately 40 hours of general education courses which students complete over four years in addition to their major courses and electives.
View and download the full degree plan for the Video Game Development major (PDF).
Courses offered in this major include:
- Interactive Storytelling – This seminar contrasts traditional storytelling with the particular challenges of interactive narrative. Students develop an ability to craft interactive narrative and explore the range of storytelling techniques available in video games.
- Game Design Studio I – Designed as a portfolio course, this course explores gameplay in 2D space and gives the student the opportunity to expand their game design portfolio by creating interactive projects using sound game design tools and methods.
- Introduction to Game Audio – This course will give students a solid understanding of physics of audio and sound design techniques used to record and produce sound effects, ambient tracks, and dialog for video games.
While it's easy to make a game hard, it's hard to make a game fun. The challenge for creators in the 21st Century is to use the expressive potential of the video game medium to create moving and deeply meaningful player experiences.
– Robert Denton Bryant, Director of Video Game Development
Though technical mastery is critical for a developer, game engines change, software is updated, and new tools appear daily. I emphasize the fundamentals of game design and how to craft experiences that are meaningful and enjoyable. Students who understand these concepts will be able to adapt and thrive in the rapidly evolving field of video game development.
– Jeremy Johnson, Ph.D., Visiting Professor of Video Game Development
Outside the Classroom
As a student in the Video Game Development program, you will divide your learning between hands-on game development and conceptual creativity, resulting in a broad understanding of the artistic, written, design, and algorithmic aspects of game production. You’ll create both discreet assets and playable games in our design and development classes, using industry-standard game creation software tools. As a result, you’ll have a solid, diverse skill set and the portfolio to prove it to potential employers.
VGAM students can explore a range of career paths and practical application of their studies through internships and interactions with the greater Austin games and technology community.
Industry Guest Speakers
Our faculty has strong connections to the local and international game development community, and strives each semester to bring a strong line-up of relevant industry professionals to the classroom as guest speakers or special guests at campus events. Recent guests have included working professionals from Bungie, Rooster Teeth, Quicksilver Software, Team Dogpit, and SXSW Gaming.
Access to Austin's Game and Technology Scene
- Our students have volunteered at such local events as the Austin Game Conference, and the Classic Game Fest, and ATX Hack for Change.
- Our faculty has sponsored events at SXSW Gaming.
- Our students are encouraged to attend regular community events held by such groups as The Capital Factory, IGDA Austin, and Juegos Rancheros.
Internships and Community-Engaged Service
In partnership with Austin's HealthStart Foundation, our students have worked both in the classroom and as interns to design and develop educational mini-games for its upcoming tablet game Monstralia. This game will teach three- to eight-year-olds the importance of good nutrition, fitness, and taking care of each other and our planet.
Our recent graduates have been hired by such organizations as Activision Blizzard; Treyarch; Future PLC; and Box, Inc.
Read about other successful alumni. See what they have to say about life after St. Edward’s.
ABOUT THE MINOR
A minor in Video Game Development can equip graduates with a wide range of degree options. Students must take the following courses, totaling 18 hours:
- History of Video Games
- Interaction and Analog Game Design
- World Building
- Interactive Technologies
- Game Design Studio I
- Game Design Studio II
- One additional VGAM course (cannot be Senior Game Studio I or II)
Are you a current student? Contact your advisor for next steps on declaring your major or minor.