Student work

Game Design and Interactive Media

The A.O.S. Game Design and Interactive Media (GDIM) major within Pratt's Associate Degree Program is a professional degree designed for high school graduates and adults with or without previous college experience. We are excited to announce that we are now offering a two-year A.O.S. degree program in Game Design and Interactive Media. The curriculum specializes in gaming from an artistic standpoint and will cover game design, production, artistry, interactivity, prototyping, and programming. This degree program will prepare you for immediate entry into the work field, either with an established company or as an independent game designer.

Degree Requirements: Two Years (Four Semesters, 66 Credits)

Games, like other human activities are enmeshed in social meaning. Games are thus vehicles of expression by both the player and designer. Playing a meaningful game fires the imagination like nothing else.

An Evolving Industry

Over the last five years, as major game publishers have merged and consolidated, numerous independent designers emerged to create unexpected hits like Minecraft. These independent designers leverage crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter to raise money and use game design applications like Unity 3D to rapidly develop new games, mostly targeting mobile platforms like smart phones and tablets. At the same time, we’re living through a “boardgame renaissance,” in which new‐style card games, boardgames, and other “tabletop” games are regaining popularity as people seek more social forms of play as respite from screen‐based entertainment. In fact, paper‐based games are among the highest‐earning projects on Kickstarter, and it is standard practice for publishers of popular franchises like Game of Thrones and Harry Potter to release boardgame as well as videogame versions of their products. Recognizing the continuum of possibilities spanning analog and digital games and the crucial interplay of gameplay and narrative to create meaningful engagement, we crafted a program that equips students to thrive in this new and exciting era.

The software and production skills obtained in this degree program have applications in the game design industry as well as in medical, web, therapeutic and architectural industries. Students will also gain experience designing interactive prototypes and simulations focused on vocational training, education, and socially oriented messages; giving them skills applicable to a wide variety of industries beyond gaming. Numerous industries from aerospace to nursing, and from firefighters to forklift operators use simulations and video games to train employees, practice difficult procedures, and evaluate performance. Modern game design software can be used to render interactive 3D models and architectural walk‐ throughs. Similarly, surgery simulators are reaching new levels of sophistication analogous to the blossoming of computer‐ based flight simulators of a generation ago.

Beyond Entertainment

Game design principles also apply to diverse incentive‐based systems like behavioral science and perceptual learning. Behavioral science focuses on encouraging specific behaviors by adjusting messages and incentives. Games, like other human activities are enmeshed in social meaning. They are designed and played by social beings. Games are thus vehicles of expression by both the player and designer. Playing a meaningful game fires the imagination like nothing else. Beyond the technical skills students will learn in this program, we will impart to them that making games can be as expressive, provocative, and as immersive an art form as any personified by the nine muses. A game’s design, it’s playing pieces, it’s subject matter and rules are rich signifiers of the broader culture. As anyone who’s thrown down a joystick in triumph or exasperation can attest, games can toy with our expectations and provoke fervid emotional responses.

For example, Undertale is currently a very popular “indy” game. Temmy Cheng, a recent Pratt graduate, is among its tiny team of developers. This deceptively simple game rewards players who avoid “killing” any monsters. Winning the game “nonviolently” thus becomes the motivating goal. A growing body of research strongly suggests that well‐crafted games, like well‐written novels, reinforce and sustain empathy. The UN, in “an effort to use virtual reality to connect people with real life in the strife‐ridden parts of the world that too often remain distant and abstract,” commissioned a virtual reality game that reinforces empathy towards refugees in far‐off parts of the world. Not all games are competitive shoot‐‘em‐ups, and this program will highlight and explore the wider artistic and social phenomenon surrounding gaming in all its forms.

Games are increasingly becoming:

  • more tactile, breaking out of the screen into physical toys, wireless controllers, and networked interaction.
  • more about managing and understanding data in an intuitive way, requiring an artist’s eye as much as a mathematician’s brain.
  • more like multimedia narrative platforms that spawn unexpected iterations, like many faces of Lego and Minecraft.
  • ripe for reimagining beyond the paradigm and influence of original tabletop war-games. 
  • more about the joy of play than the precision of simulation. Popular minimalist and “retro” style games dispelled the notion that modern video games must always use the latest, most painstakingly rendered 3D environments.
  • more about the harmonious crafting of real objects: cardboard boardgames; finely-printed card games; pleasingly-carved wooden pieces.
  • both the driver and outgrowth of diverse sub-cultures, their memes and depictions. A video game is just as likely to be ancillary to a series of books (Game of Thrones) as it might be the inspiration for a slew of media products (remember the Angry Birds movie?).

Like the best games, the creative spirits animating Pratt are elusive, multidimensional, and oscillate between inspired creation and workaday practicality. This comprehensive game design program embraces the multifaceted nature of games beyond the screen.

Curriculum

Requirements for AOS Game Design, 2017