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Game Art & Design

Game Art & Design
#WUGameart

Game Art & Design

Bachelor of Fine Arts Game Art & Design

The Game Art & Design BFA at Woodbury University brings together art, animation, computer technology, sound design, story development and game design. Students may choose from two emphases: Game Art, focusing on two-dimensional and three-dimensional character, environmental design, and animation; and Game Design, focusing on elements such as game conceptualization, play mechanics, game rules, story, program flow, scoring systems, and prototyping. The new degree aligns with both the Media Technology program and the Animation program, sharing many courses in their major sequence. This will allow students to work in a cross-disciplinary environment and encourage multidisciplinary capstone teams formed of artists, designers and technologists mirroring the professional World.

The Mission

Game Art & Design brings together stories, art, soundscapes, animation, game mechanics, computer technology and your vision in the creation of immersive experiences. Through the production of a variety of interactive projects, students will develop an individual creative voice, while at the same time experiencing collaboration in a creative production environment. Our mission is to provide students with the skills and knowledge to excel in the craft, while also preparing them to be lifetime learners, able to meet the challenges of rapidly changing technology, both in the production and distribution of today’s video games.

Imagine it. Make it. Play it. It’s your game!

Goals
• Discover and develop your own creative voice.
• Develop analytic and critical thinking.
• Focus your professional skill set.
• Analyze the interface between human and technology.
• Practice collaboration and leadership.
• Express yourself artistically and technically.

THE PILLARS

Our program is built upon these four pillars:

Transdisciplinarity: Thinking and acting holistically by bridging multiple perspectives and practices.

Design Thinking: Creating impactful solutions by linking needs and functions to limits and possibilities.

Entrepreneurship: Pursuing visionary opportunities to realize innovative knowledge, practice or product.

Civic Engagement: Strengthening communities by actively applying critical knowledge, skills and values.

    Are you ready to begin building your career?

    Students emerge from Woodbury’s communication program with the knowledge, tools, and networking skills necessary to build a successful career. Woodbury’s internship model combines theory with practice by offering hands-on experience. Through these internships, Woodbury students gain valuable workplace experience that build marketable skills prior to graduation.

    If you are interested in applying to WU, click the Apply button on this page. Questions? Click Live Chat or the Info button. Prefer to speak to someone? Just give us a call. To get on our emailing list, enter your contact information.

    Chair:

    Novak
    Phone: 818-394-3319
    Email: novak@woodbury.edu

    Administrative Assistant:

    Mary Hernandez
    Phone: 818-252-5123
    Email: mary.hernandez@woodbury.edu

    CONTACT US

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    GameArtDesign FACULTY

    Woodbury University takes pride in its accomplished faculty and intimate, family-like atmosphere. In addition to teaching, our faculty continue to work as professionals in their fields, passing along the latest technology, trends, and strategies in the current market to WU students. We foster close mentoring relationships between faculty and student. Through this individual attention, we are able to know you as a person, and how we can best help you find your path to success.

    Curriculum

    The Game Art & Design degree brings together art, animation, computer technology, sound design, storytelling, and game design. It aligns with both the Media Technology and the Animation programs, sharing many courses in their major sequence. The curriculum examines all aspects of video game design and the creation of art and animation for games. Students may choose from two concentrations: Game Art, focusing on character and environmental design and animation; and Game Design, focusing on elements of design such as game conceptualization, play mechanic creation and prototyping.

    GAME ART EMPHASIS
    GAME 101 Game Design 1
    The study of the inner workings of computer and video game design
    We will examine classic and contemporary video games focusing on game play, rule sets, user interface, level layout, art direction, basic animation, asset management, look-and-feel, introductory sound design, and user psychology. Study includes monitoring and discussing current industry trends, contemporary hardware platforms, and popular media. Working individually and in teams, students will design, develop and play their original game designs. Studio. 3 units.

    GAME 102 Game Design II
    Continuing the study of game design using digital and non-digital games, both old and new
    The second semester delves deeper into the introductory design topics by expanding into the areas of procedural thinking, ideation, game prototyping, the balance between chance and skill, an examination of various design theories, and the ethical considerations of game design. As the basis of student critiques, games will be played and broken down into their formal, dramatic and dynamic structural elements. Individually and in teams, students will design and develop games that are play-tested and critically reviewed in class. Studio. 3 units.

    GAME 114 Introduction to Game Engines
    Commercial software systems that aid in computer game development
    This will be an exploration and analysis of visual development tools and reusable software components for game asset creation and management giving attention to two-dimensional and three-dimensional rendering performance, collision detection, simple scripting, animation, play mechanics, sound and music. Students will design and implement simple game concepts and test for playability and design integrity. Studio. 3 units.

    ANIM 161Introduction to Digital Media
    This studio course introduces students to the fundamental computer applications and processes used for digital media production. Emphasis on software programs dealing with imaging, drawing and painting, editing, compositing, motion graphics, raster and vector artwork. Studio. 3 units.

    GAME 140 Environmental Design & Modeling
    Industrial Design and Architecture principles for game artists
    Students will be introduced to the concepts of high and low polygon modeling, image budgets, workflows, space planning, human scale factors, and rendering performance considerations. Traditional skills including sketching and mock-ups will be used to design and create digital three-dimensional models of buildings, vehicles, props and set dressing. Students will integrate their models into a game engine for evaluation and iteration. 3 units. Studio.

    GAME 237 Materials, Lighting & Rendering
    The physics of light in games
    We will study, experiment with and examine how virtual light interacts with materials by reflection, refraction, diffraction, and other methods. We will explore the conceptual development of materials and lighting with research, direct observation and the integrity of material properties. Topics include digital lighting tools, movie photography principles, “leading the player” techniques, material channels, and procedural and animated textures. Materials and lighting are integrated in-engine with the student’s three-dimensional model portfolio for evaluation and iteration. Studio. 3 units.

    GAME 238 Character Design & Modeling
    This course emphasizes the design and technical ability needed to model 3-D characters. Students will be introduced to design, sculpting and anatomical terms and concepts. Using 3-D software, students will design and build characters and other organic models. Level of detail exercises will introduce the concept of polygon and image budgets. Exercises in stand-alone software packages will teach advanced texture mapping. Studio. 3 units.

    ANIM 262 Introduction to 3D Animation
    This course will focus on instruction in the fundamental principles of animation as applied to three-dimensional digital animation. Emphasis on the basic processes of modeling, texturing, lighting and rendering. Students will create a series of simple animations, and model and light simple props using a 3D software. Studio. 3 units.

    GAME 223 History of Games: Case Studies
    A study of the contemporary interactive digital environment
    We will examine how modern game and digital technologies have continued to converge and shape our lives. Topics include the increasing ubiquity of the internet, the advances of game design and game hardware, digital distribution models, the human body as computer interface, and the freemium business model. We will discuss the implications of MMO’s, networked mobile devices, social media, personal ownership in the era of cloud computing, and the gamification of our society. Key games of the twenty-first century will be analyzed in terms of their social, cultural and economic impact on our world. Lecture. 3 units.

    GAME 224 History of GAMES: 20th Century
    The creation and evolution of video games in the twentieth century
    We will examine the origin and development of digital games and their technology. Our study will begin with the World War II era and the invention of the electronic computing machine. Our exploration will continue with the early uses of electronics in games, the emergence of digital media in everyday life, the placement of powerful game computers in the home, and the creation and advances of the internet. Key games will be analyzed in terms of their social, cultural and economic impact on our world. Lecture. 3 units.

    GAME 302 Capstone Research Seminar
    Research and pre-production, the first stages of preparation for the capstone experience
    Working in teams representing the three game emphases (art, design and programming), students will develop and present their final Game capstone project proposal signed by three members of the faculty from disciplines represented in the proposal at the end of the research semester. Proposals will include comprehensive game documents for each project presented. Students experience overall project management, including technical standards, documentation, and pre-production processes. One or more research seminar projects will be selected and produced in the senior year Game Capstone Studios I and II. (Meets With TECH 302) Studio. 3 units.

    GAME 411 Game Capstone Studio 1
    Putting it all together…Part 1 of 2
    Students in the GAME and TECH programs integrate the interdisciplinary elements of their curricula to produce a video game in the capstone project. Based on the Game capstone project proposal submitted in GAME 302, students will work with a faculty review committee and course facilitator to begin their capstone project. Studio.

    GAME 412 Game Capstone Studio 2
    Putting it all together…Part 2 of 2
    A continuation of GAME 411 Game Capstone Project I. Students will continue to work with their faculty review committee and the course facilitator to complete their capstone project. Capstone projects are presented and assessed in a final faculty review. Students are responsible for a written self-evaluation of their capstone project, analyzing theme, game goals, and their level of success. Projects are presented at the year-end Woodbury Game Showcase. Studio. 3 units.

    GAME 432 Professional Practices of the Game Industry
    Current professional practices in the game industry with focus on entry into the job market
    Topics will include:
    • economics and structure of the industry;
    • roles and skill sets within team structure including human resources;
    • creative processes;
    • business practices including publishing and marketing.

    Students will prepare professional project portfolios and resumes appropriate to the entry position sought in the video game industry. Faculty will evaluate materials in terms of creativity and quality of presentation. Studio. 3 units.

    GAME 490 Internship
    Welcome to the real world!
    This course offers commercial, on-the-job experience with media, video/computer game, entertainment, and marketing firms. 120 Hours of work experience is required to graduate. Internships may be taken one, two, or three units at a time, with a total of three being required. A minimum of forty hours of participation for each unit of credit is required.

    Students must be in their junior year and in good academic standing to apply. They must submit a Game Art & Design Internship Contract signed by their faculty advisor, the program chair and the host company’s supervisor prior to beginning. Grades are pass/fail only and are based on a signed evaluation form from the company’s supervisor, and an internship journal maintained by the student. The journal details what they learned about the industry, their thoughts on the experience, and the expectations of artists and designers working in the industry. Students will formally share their findings with classmates.
    GAME DESIGN EMPHASIS
    GAME 101 Game Design 1
    The study of the inner workings of computer and video game design
    We will examine classic and contemporary video games focusing on game play, rule sets, user interface, level layout, art direction, basic animation, asset management, look-and-feel, introductory sound design, and user psychology. Study includes monitoring and discussing current industry trends, contemporary hardware platforms, and popular media. Working individually and in teams, students will design, develop and play their original game designs. Studio. 3 units.

    GAME 102 Game Design II
    Continuing the study of game design using digital and non-digital games, both old and new
    The second semester delves deeper into the introductory design topics by expanding into the areas of procedural thinking, ideation, game prototyping, the balance between chance and skill, an examination of various design theories, and the ethical considerations of game design. As the basis of student critiques, games will be played and broken down into their formal, dramatic and dynamic structural elements. Individually and in teams, students will design and develop games that are play-tested and critically reviewed in class. Studio. 3 units.

    GAME 114 Introduction to Game Engines
    Commercial software systems that aid in computer game development
    This will be an exploration and analysis of visual development tools and reusable software components for game asset creation and management giving attention to two-dimensional and three-dimensional rendering performance, collision detection, simple scripting, animation, play mechanics, sound and music. Students will design and implement simple game concepts and test for playability and design integrity. Studio. 3 units.

    GAME 211 Level Design
    Level design is a data entry and layout component of the game development cycle. Students will study the theoretical and practical methods used for level creation. Topics include managing gameplay flow, large-scale environmental features, bottlenecks, special activities and behaviors, level consistency, dynamic features, puzzle elements, level prototyping and the effective placement of entities, player resources, start and exit points, and scripted event triggers. Studio. 3 units.

    GAME 221 Game Prototyping
    Design assessment prior to production
    Prototyping is that part of game development where designers and artists assess all aspects of a game design prior to full production. Attention is paid to issues of feasibility, practicality, and remedy of design flaws. Focus includes “fun factor”, development time and overhead system resources. Techniques include paper mockups, use of logic and flow charts, and advanced use of game engine software. Students will learn to prototype original game designs for group critique. Studio. 3 units.

    GAME 222 Player Analysis
    When creating a video game, development teams often lose sight of what they are doing and why, and who they are doing it for
    We will focus on the game player and how game creators can “play to their audience.” We will identify the types of players, why people play computer games, analyze player psychology, audience diversity, marketing to the player as consumer, and the role of quality assurance play-testers. Lecture. 3 units.

    GAME 223 History of Games: Case Studies
    A study of the contemporary interactive digital environment
    We will examine how modern game and digital technologies have continued to converge and shape our lives. Topics include the increasing ubiquity of the internet, the advances of game design and game hardware, digital distribution models, the human body as computer interface, and the freemium business model. We will discuss the implications of MMO’s, networked mobile devices, social media, personal ownership in the era of cloud computing, and the gamification of our society. Key games of the twenty-first century will be analyzed in terms of their social, cultural and economic impact on our world. Lecture. 3 units.

    GAME 224 History of GAMES: 20th Century
    The creation and evolution of video games in the twentieth century
    We will examine the origin and development of digital games and their technology. Our study will begin with the World War II era and the invention of the electronic computing machine. Our exploration will continue with the early uses of electronics in games, the emergence of digital media in everyday life, the placement of powerful game computers in the home, and the creation and advances of the internet. Key games will be analyzed in terms of their social, cultural and economic impact on our world. Lecture. 3 units.

    GAME 321 User Interface Design
    Analysis of effective user interface design techniques and devices
    Students will explore roles and uses of hardware input devices: mouse, keyboard, game console controller, gesture capture and multi-touch screen, focusing on display components such as, menu structure, clarity of icon usage, screen layout, program flow, game shell and motion sensing, and audio sensing devices. We will focus on tools used for information exchange between human and computer analyzing real-time action control (“gameplay”) vs. static control, such as menu navigation. Students will compare awkward vs. intuitive user interfaces measuring and enhancing “playability.” Study will include the psychological, perceptual, and cognitive elements behind interface design decisions.
    Students will design user interfaces for a wide variety of applications. Studio. 3 units.

    GAME 323 Story Development for Interactive Media
    Exploration of story in games and interactive media
    We will compare and contrast linear, branching, and emergent storytelling. Students will identify hybrid forms and discover new narrative modes. A variety of games will be analyzed from early text-based adventures to more contemporary role-playing, shooter, and strategy games. Students will create characters, situations, and narratives through game play and scripted scenes. Studio. 3 units.

    GAME 302 Capstone Research Seminar
    Research and pre-production, the first stages of preparation for the capstone experience
    Working in teams representing the three game emphases (art, design and programming), students will develop and present their final Game capstone project proposal signed by three members of the faculty from disciplines represented in the proposal at the end of the research semester. Proposals will include comprehensive game documents for each project presented. Students experience overall project management, including technical standards, documentation, and pre-production processes. One or more research seminar projects will be selected and produced in the senior year Game Capstone Studios I and II. (Meets With TECH 302) Studio. 3 units.

    GAME 411 Game Capstone Studio 1
    Putting it all together…Part 1 of 2
    Students in the GAME and TECH programs integrate the interdisciplinary elements of their curricula to produce a video game in the capstone project. Based on the Game capstone project proposal submitted in GAME 302, students will work with a faculty review committee and course facilitator to begin their capstone project. Studio.

    GAME 412 Game Capstone Studio 2
    Putting it all together…Part 2 of 2
    A continuation of GAME 411 Game Capstone Project I. Students will continue to work with their faculty review committee and the course facilitator to complete their capstone project. Capstone projects are presented and assessed in a final faculty review. Students are responsible for a written self-evaluation of their capstone project, analyzing theme, game goals, and their level of success. Projects are presented at the year-end Woodbury Game Showcase. Studio. 3 units.

    GAME 432 Professional Practices of the Game Industry
    Current professional practices in the game industry with focus on entry into the job market
    Topics will include:
    • economics and structure of the industry;
    • roles and skill sets within team structure including human resources;
    • creative processes;
    • business practices including publishing and marketing.

    Students will prepare professional project portfolios and resumes appropriate to the entry position sought in the video game industry. Faculty will evaluate materials in terms of creativity and quality of presentation. Studio. 3 units.

    GAME 490 Internship
    Welcome to the real world!
    This course offers commercial, on-the-job experience with media, video/computer game, entertainment, and marketing firms. 120 Hours of work experience is required to graduate. Internships may be taken one, two, or three units at a time, with a total of three being required. A minimum of forty hours of participation for each unit of credit is required.

    Students must be in their junior year and in good academic standing to apply. They must submit a Game Art & Design Internship Contract signed by their faculty advisor, the program chair and the host company’s supervisor prior to beginning. Grades are pass/fail only and are based on a signed evaluation form from the company’s supervisor, and an internship journal maintained by the student. The journal details what they learned about the industry, their thoughts on the experience, and the expectations of artists and designers working in the industry. Students will formally share their findings with classmates.

    Interdisciplinary Game Electives and Support Courses
    FILM 104 Sound Design
    This studio course introduces the students to audio concepts, recording techniques, mixing and playback methodologies and software. The emphasis is concept design and audio composition via pre and post production processes of mixing audio tracks for the Animation, Game or Film student. Studio. 3 units.

    FOUN 101 Beginning Drawing
    This is a fundamental course in freehand observational drawing. Various media and methods are introduced to develop perceptual and technical drawing skills. Through in-class projects and outside sketchbook practice, students study line, shape, form, proportion, perspective, and tone with an emphasis on spatial relationships and the effects of light on form. Drawing and composition are also studied as an opportunity to express conceptual content in individual design processes. Studio. 3 units.

    FOUN 102 Design and Composition
    This course introduces students to the elements and principles of design and to the processes of design thinking. Formal visual properties of line, shape, form, pattern, value, texture, and sequence are studied in their relationship to content and compositional organizing systems. Studio exercises using various media explore concepts of balance, harmony, repetition, rhythm, scale, and time in two, three, and four-dimensional organizations. Emphasis is placed on developing creative design concepts, gaining practical problem-solving skills, and communicating project solutions visually and verbally. Examples of historical and professional art and design are presented so that students may recognize their influence on contemporary design and to relate their own design efforts to a larger cultural context. Studio. 3 units.

    FOUN 103 Color Theory and Interaction
    This course investigates the principles, properties and interactions of color as well as the cultural and psychological implications of color across disciplines. A variety of media and sources are introduced through weekly exercises. Students will develop a working knowledge of additive and subtractive color systems, color mixing, and approaches to color harmony as well as an understanding of practical issues such as color matching, correction, and forecasting. Design thinking as it applies to visual communication is also considered in this course as an agent for mindfulness and engagement. Studio. 3 units.

    FOUN 104 Drawing Concepts & Composition
    This course builds on the direct observational drawing skills gained in FOUN 101 Beginning Drawing. Color media and a variety of subjects including life models and exterior environments are explored through in-class projects and outside sketchbook practice. Emphases are placed on developing individual expressive sketch techniques, bringing a point of view to the drawing experience, and realizing the visionary opportunities for drawing in the innovative practice of art and design processes. The work of professional artists and designers is studied to provide additional context for this investigation. Studio. 3 units.

    FOUN 105 Introduction to Figure Drawing
    Building on the observational drawing skills and methods gained in FOUN 101 Beginning Drawing, students in this course gain a practical understanding of the rhythms, proportions, movement, character, and anatomical structure of the human form. Through in-class study and outside sketchbook practice, additional emphasis is placed on developing the ability to visualize and adapt the human form for use in their design and related disciplines. Studio. 3 units.

    FOUN 1703 Introduction to Painting
    Open to all majors, this introductory painting course will take the concept and principles of pictorial, illusionistic space as a starting place for the exploration and experimentation with paint and painting techniques. Materials will include water-based media such as watercolor, gouache, tempera, and acrylic on various surfaces as well as digital painting using Photoshop. The course will look at painting references from many disciplines and the class will culminate in an assignment where students match their painting investigation to a project related to their discipline. Studio. 3 units.

    STUDENT WORDS ON WOODBURY

    • My experience at Woodbury has been incredibly fulfilling and nothing like what I thought the "college experience" would be like. I have been prepared for my career in my graphic design courses while growing as a leader through my roles in student government and residential life. The unforgettable memories and experiences I have had have shaped me to grow as a human being in ways I couldn't imagine.

      Gilberto Ruiz-Ortega