Computer Game Design (BS)

Computer Game Design image

If you're a gamer or a designer interested in 3D design and simulation, DSU will teach you how to do it. You'll learn the fundamental skills for video game design, development, and production. Come build a better game at DSU. DSU’s Computer Game Design major is offered on campus in state of the art learning spaces.

Benefits of studying computer game design at DSU

DSU’s computer game design program is one of the strongest in the nation. It is the only bachelor of science game design program in the state, and one of a few in the Upper Midwest region. Coursework is rigorous, including calculus and physics along with computer programming and visual design classes.

Check out this “Quantum Tunnel” video about out program, created by Denis Dyack, the chief creative officer of Quantum Entanglement Entertainment. The video explains some of the reasons why the program was recently ranked as a top game design school for 2018 in The Princeton Review.

At DSU, you will study the history of game design to develop a perspective on the field, studying digital and non-digital games. Our faculty builds on that foundation with hands-on experience as you develop your own games in project classes. DSU's game design students also integrate game mechanics, narrative, aesthetics and technology to craft interesting and effective player experiences. Choose electives to focus on an emphasis of your choice, including narrative design, software design or technical art.

Video games are a major industry, and one that is continually growing. Games are used for many things besides entertainment, with applications for simulations, training games, marketing, and education, to name a few. A DSU game design degree includes experience with interactive and multi-media software and digital media, giving you flexibility in this multi-faceted field, and in related jobs such as interaction design and software development.

Students learn how to function well as team members, and how to communicate effectively. This skill is evident through student accomplishments as winners of Gold and Platinum awards at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in game narrative reviews.

The program is housed in the specifically-designed computer game design suite in the newly constructed Beacom Institute of Technology. Outside the classroom, there are a number of student clubs and activities to join, including the Computer Club, the Gaming Club, Game Design Club, and E-Sports Club. Scholarships and grants are also available for computer game design majors. The department also hosts an annual Nanocon and IDiG and faculty and students participate in the annual Global Game Jam.

Possible job titles

Job titles and duties vary by genre and company organization and jobs change rapidly as new technology emerges.

Next steps

See what classes you’ll be taking with our plan of study.

Schedule a campus visit to meet computer game design professors and students in the department and see the campus.

You can always contact us with any questions—or just to talk about what is possible.

What Alumni Say

Chris Leonhardt

"Ever since I was young, I was inspired by imaginative works of fantasy and games, such as Kingdom Hearts and Pokémon. I knew that I wanted to spark that same sense of wonder in others that I had experienced for years. However, growing up in Robbinsdale, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis, finding a place to learn how to accomplish such a dream while remaining relatively close to home was not the easiest task in the world. Then, I found Dakota State University and the Computer Game Design program. When I first began looking into the Computer Game Design program, I was mostly unaware of what DSU would be able to provide for me. Having both a love of art and having taken several art classes throughout my high school career, I determined that I wanted to work on art for games. What I didn’t know, however, was how closely linked all aspects of game development are. I discovered that DSU’s Computer Game Design program taught all aspects of development to its students, something which greatly benefited me during my time there. Learning this, I decided to attend Dakota State. While at DSU, I studied the fundamentals of computer programming, narrative design, game development, quality assurance, and, of course, art. Furthermore, with the program’s hands-on classes, ultimately culminating in two year-long projects, I was able to understand how to integrate each aspect of game design into a finished product, creating multiple games with my classmates, many of whom are now some of my greatest friends. In 2016, thanks in no small part to the wonderful professors and amazing students at DSU, I graduated with my Computer Game Design degree in hand. Now, three years later, I work as a QA Tester for Activision, beginning my journey into the game design industry. This journey is not an easy one, by any stretch of the imagination. A game designer must be knowledgeable in a variety of different subject matters, with their focus changing with each new game. Their skills must remain sharp and their experiences must be ever expanding. However, even if at times this path is difficult, creating games is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in my life. For this, I have DSU’s Computer Game Design program to thank. "

Chris Leonhardt '16
Hometown: Robbinsdale, Minn.
Job Title: QA Tester for Activision
Major: Computer Game Design