The Bachelor Programme in Game Design and Programming gives you the tools to work with the game medium on a professional level and to develop new experiences within the field. The programme specialises in the technical aspects of game development. Former graduates have started their own studios and work at some of the world’s best known game companies. The programme is given at Campus Gotland, an environment characterised by the close proximity between professors and students.
Numerous profiles from the game industry and notable higher education institutions have given the programme high praise: “This game design programme is one of the best that I have seen, particularly the polymorphous approach to design. The code is only as good as the player experience, and this shows. Also, there is a political approach that inflects design that gives many of us hope for a mature and complex industry of the future.” – Prof. Derek A. Burrill
About the programme
The programme Game Design and Programming provides skills in developing games for commercial production, as well as a deeper understanding of how games work and how they affect us.
The education mixes practical game development with theoretical courses within game design and programming. In the programme we explore theories and methods in game design, game development and game analysis. Game developers need good communicative skills both to communicate with their team and to shape the experience that the game will provide. To reflect this, the programme provides training in expression through text, imagery and games, as well as verbal communication.
As a programmer, you acquire the logic and technical skills and knowledge that are required to develop games using current as well as tomorrow’s technology. The programme also trains practical production with other disciplines through several project courses.
In 2014 the Department of Game Design was entered into the Higher Education Video Game Alliance, a gathering of mainly North American higher game development educators where both education, research and industry questions are on the agenda.
Study Abroad The Department of Game Design today has cooperation agreements with four institutions in Tokyo and Erasmus-agreements with the University of Riga as well as Université d’Angers for the purpose of student exchange. A cooperation agreement with the University of Silesia, Poland, will soon be established. In addition to this, Uppsala University has a wealth of cooperation agreements providing many options for studying abroad.
The programme leads to a Bachelor of Arts with Game Design as the main field of study.
The programme is offered in the island of Gotland. Instruction is entirely in English.
The theoretical courses within game design are taught through lectures, workshops and smaller projects. The majority of the courses include group work. The programming courses are lecture-based with continuous practical programming.
Every year includes one or two project courses, in which you will work with your specific role in groups to produce complete games, and teaching takes the shape of guidance and tutoring.
Name: Erik Lindgren From: Sigtuna Studying: The Bachelor Programme in Game Design and Programming
Why did you choose this programme?
– I chose this programme because it was an interesting mixture of game design and programming.
Why did you choose Uppsala University?
– Since this mixture of design and programming is only taught at Campus Gotland, so it was natural to choose Uppsala University for this reason.
What is the structure of the programme?
– The programme is divided into different periods; teaching in the autumn semester is much more theoretical with lectures and small projects whereas in the spring semester we work in larger groups with a lot more individual responsibility.
What do you think of the programme? Does it live up to your expectations?
– I think that it meets my expectations. It is a very enjoyable class and exciting courses.
Where do you hope this programme will lead you?
– I hope to go onto a job within the gaming industry.
Do you find that there is a difference between your previous studies and your university studies?
– Above all, university studies expects much more from us, both in terms of studies and we are expected to constantly be up-to-date about our courses.
Do you have any advice or tips for anyone interested in applying to this programme?
– The programme is whatever you make of it; if you go in with the aim to do your best then the programme will be very rewarding!
Three quick questions The best thing about studying?
– Learning new things!
The best thing about Uppsala University?
– That they offered this programme!
The best thing about Visby as a city?
– When it is spring and the ice cream bar opens!
The programme comprises three years studies where the major subject Game Design is studied in parallel with the minor Computer Science through both theoretical and practical project courses. Courses within Game Design, where all project based courses are housed, are taken together with the other programmes within Game Design. Game Design makes up 105 credits, out of the total 180 credits, while the minor subject makes up 30 credits. The programme also has 30 credits where the student gets to choose what to study, which can also be used to deepen or broaden the studies in the major or minor.
The minor and major subjects are studied in parallel. Both subjects contain theoretical courses as well as practical, project based courses. The project courses test and train both game design and art production skills as students from all Game Design programmes collaborate to produce games. In this way, the programme provides a continuous opportunity to test and utilise your ability in realistic scenarios, since the project courses effectively model the challenges that must be faced when working in a diverse team of creative, artistic, organisational and technical individuals.
The projects, like the theoretical courses train academic writing and presenting, as training for the degree project that ends the third year.
The programming courses start from the very basics and will the first term lead to a small game development project, after which the education and the projects increase in complexity and size. Throughout the project courses, commercial game engines are usually used, where the focus is to code game logic, while the programming courses dives in under the hood and provides a deeper technical understanding of the technology.
Courses within the programme
Semester 1 Game Design 1 - Introduction, 15 credits Minor Subject, 15 credits
Semester 2 Game Design 2 – Game Development, 7.5 credits Game Production 1 – Arcade Game, 15 credits Minor Subject, 7.5 credits
Semester 3 Game Design 3 – System Design, 15 credits Minor Subject, 15 credits
Semester 4 Game Design 4 – Serious Games Design, 7.5 credits Minor Subject or optional courses, 7.5 credits Game Production 2 – Vertical Slice, 15 credits
Semester 5 Optional courses*, 30 credits *within major, minor or other subject, alternatively studies abroad.
Semester 6 Game Design 5 – Theory and Method, 7.5 credits Game Design 6 – Experimental Game Design, 7.5 credits Degree Project, 15 credits
The programme theoretically and practically prepares you for a professional career within business, organisations, authorities or as a business owner.
One of the programme’s strengths is its well-developed contact with the game industry. This is why graduates of the programme make up an especially useful network. Through yearly recurring events, notable individuals from the international game industry, former students and academics are invited to judge student projects and share their experience. This provides an excellent opportunity for you to build your own contact network for the career ahead of you.
Former students have gone on to become both business owners running their own studios and employees at some of the most successful game studios in the world. Notable examples of companies where graduates have found work include Blizzard Entertainment, Massive Entertainment, Starbreeze Studios, Crytek, Fatshark, Frictional Games, Ubisoft, Avalanche, Lionhead, CCP, DICE and Might and Delight. A number of former students also work within the Swedish higher education sector, teaching and running game design programmes.
The game industry is the largest and fastest growing business in the entertainment industry. It is in continuous development which leads to a large demand for a broad spectrum of creative professionals with game development as the common denominator. Games are also increasingly being used within education, training and medicine, under the name Serious Games.
As a graduate of the programme, you will be able to continue your studies at Master’s level in or outside of Sweden.