Get ready for your dream career – and study in one of the best cities in the country for the gaming industry.
Explore your options — classes, internships, research and study abroad. Find what interests you, discover what you love, and create a major experience that jumpstarts your future using the Video Game Development Major Guide.
As a Video Game Development major, you’ll learn every phase of the process of creating games: building a concept, prototyping, narrative design, asset creation, testing and release. You’ll become well-versed in interactive storytelling techniques, game design and game audio, and you’ll learn strategic software platforms.
But — just as importantly — you’ll learn how to think and adapt. Gaming is an industry where things change fast. Software tools, game engines, favored scripting languages and even business models will evolve between the time you start college and when you graduate. At St. Edward’s, you’ll learn how to be adaptable, so you’re never stuck clinging to one technology or an outdated idea of what consumers want.
You’ll apply what you learn in Austin, the third largest hub of game development in the country, home to 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, Devolver Digital and Aspyr Media.
What do our graduates do?
Video Game Development majors go on to a variety of careers from St. Edward’s. Here’s a sample.
- Support engineer at Atlassian Corporation PLC
- Associate producer at Electronic Arts
- User advocate at Box, Inc.
- QA tester at Aspyr Media
- Assistant director of IndieDEVCAMP
- Junior mobile applications developer at The Stars Group
St. Edward's Video Game Development majors are also accepted into top graduate programs, including SMU Guildhall, one of the first and most prestigious graduate programs for game design in the United States.
For more information about the Video Game Development major, please contact Robert Denton Bryant, director of the program. The Video Game Development major is part of the Department of Visual Studies.
Odyssey of a Video-Game Designer
One student's journey from at St. Edward's has taken him from student to credited video-game designer. Read his story.
The Classroom and Beyond
As a student in the Video Game Development program, you will divide your learning between hands-on game development and conceptual creativity. You’ll create both discrete assets and playable games in our design and development classes, using industry-standard game creation software tools. You’ll learn from accomplished professionals who visit campus to share insights about the industry.
In Interaction and Analog Game Design, you’ll explore the fundamentals of play: its needs in human behavior and expression in games. You’ll study tabletop games and develop your own paper prototyping, with an emphasis on play/test/iterate methodology.
In your Senior Game Studios, you’ll work in teams to develop a video game for an outside client.
At the end of every semester, you’ll show off your work – and have the humbling experience of watching other people play your game – at a Game Fair. This student showcase brings together all Video Game Development students for a party in the game lab. Invite your friends and family to come play your game and offer feedback, and take time to play the games your classmates have been working on. During the final class of the semester, you’ll decide how to determine which pieces of feedback from the Game Fair to use and how to incorporate those changes into your game.
Outside of class, the “Meet the Makers” series brings accomplished industry veterans to campus. You’ll learn from – and network with – speakers like the following:
- Original Intellivision programmer Bill Fisher
- St. Edward’s alumna and game design veteran Sheri Graner Ray, author of Gender Inclusive Game Design: Expanding the Market
- “Castle Panic” board game creator Justin De Witt of Fireside Games
- Comic book writer and transmedia storyteller Janet Harvey
- Working professionals from Bungie, DC Comics, Rooster Teeth, Team Dogpit, SXSW Gaming and Worldwalker Games.
Studying abroad is a chance to immerse yourself in another culture and have an adventure. You can also learn more about game design and production through a semester at Abertay University in Dundee, Scotland, one of the first universities in the world to offer a game development curriculum. Abertay is a St. Edward’s partner university and offers one of the best game programs in northern Europe.
Game development as community service? You bet. You’ll help a community organization design and develop an educational game to advance its mission. Video Game Development majors have worked on the tablet game Monstralia, produced by Austin’s HealthStart Foundation, which helps children develop healthy habits. Monstralia will teach three- to eight-year-olds the importance of good nutrition, fitness, and taking care of each other and our planet.
You also will combine volunteering with networking at events like the Austin Game Conference and Classic Game Fest.
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.
Video Game Development majors recently have interned with organizations such as these:
- HealthStart Foundation
- Museum of Human Achievement, a multidisciplinary art space in Austin
- We Care Insurance
The Video Game Association holds regular game nights featuring a mix of console games, PC games, MTG, D&D, and handheld games.
St. Edward’s teams regularly participate (and win awards) at local and nationwide game jams, weekend-long events where a team gets a prompt on Friday afternoon and makes a game from scratch over the next 48 hours.
Topper Studios is the digital media club. Members are involved in creating podcasts, YouTube channels, short films, music videos and comedy sketches, and helping their fellow students produce digital content. Students in Topper Studios also frequently make promotional videos for other clubs at St. Edward’s.
The Digital Media Center in the Munday Library is a resource for creating your own content and learning new skills. Here, you can produce and edit videos, podcasts and visual design projects with the help of your fellow students. The lab is equipped with top-of-the-line computers running the latest software including the Adobe Creative Suite. It also has a group editing/podcasting room, a green screen room and a “whisper room” used for voiceovers. If you are skilled at software, hardware repair, graphic design or video editing, you can apply to work in the lab as a digital media specialist.
The St. Edward’s eSports team competes against other universities in games such as League of Legends, Rocket League and Hearthstone. The university also has a club team.
Command G is the graphic design club. Members visit local museums and design studios, host critique nights, and create their own designs in button-making, screen-printing and risograph workshops.
The St. Edward’s Maker Club attracts tinkerers and programmers who have worked on projects involving 3-D printing, soldering, programming LED strips, and creating art through programming.
Topper Radio is the student-run radio station.
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
Video Game Development 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.