Game Design Major

Student looking at a green-lit wall
The Game Design degree is a Bachelor of Science.

Gameplay systems, narratives, levels, quests, puzzles, worlds: become an expert in the game design areas you’re most passionate about. In Champlain’s Game Design program, you’ll learn to map out, develop, and create the gameplay that defines a player’s unique experience.

Choose one of three distinct areas of game production to focus on during your education:

  • Systems Design – Establish the foundational logic and mechanical plan for how a game operates and build the mechanics that bring the game world into existence.
  • Level Design – Create the step-by-step experience and determine parameters of play on each area in the game world.
  • Narrative Design – Define how the overall story is experienced by the player, through traditional narrative, dialogue, characters, and environment.

As a Champlain Game Design student, you will develop extensive game design skills in your area of interest and build an impressive portfolio of collaborative work as you prepare to enter the game industry.

Qualities of a Game Design Major:

  • Has a passion for making games
  • Loves deconstructing games to figure out how they work
  • Loves creating experiences for other people
  • Is creative and enjoys problem solving to find the best solutions
  • Loves technology and boldly pursues new concepts to improve their work 
  • Is intellectually curious and loves to explore a variety of topics and resources for inspiration
  • Is a good communicator, both oral and written, and likes working with others
  • Is a leader

Career Opportunities for Game Design Graduates

You can apply your skills as a Game Designer to many different facets of game development, choosing to focus on the storyline and narrative, creating individual levels of a game, or bringing concepts together to create playable game structures. The collaboration that happens in the Game Studio between game artists, designers, programmers, and producers will give you game-specific collaboration experience that it normally takes years of working in the industry to achieve. A number of recruiters attend our annual Senior Game Show and conduct interviews of Game Design graduating seniors whose portfolio reels were the most promising. Our game industry specific Career Coach will help you with your search.

Careers in Game Design include:

  • Systems Design
  • Level Design
  • Technical Design
  • Narrative Design
  • Content Design

Career Outcomes for Game Design Graduates

Champlain Game Design majors are in high demand and many find employment in AAA companies as well as indie studios.

  • Over the past six years, nearly three quarters of Game Design graduates were employed within six months of graduation
Profile image of smiling student

Michael DeFranco, ’17

Game Design

“Your job as a game designer, first and foremost — after, you know, actual game design — is working with your team and getting your team to work with you. The friendlier you are, the more you’re able to work with other people, the more success you’ll find. And often it’s better to have a game that everyone enjoys than just one that you think you will enjoy.”
View My Story

Game Design requires a broad range of knowledge from psychology to game engine scripting. You will find this depth throughout the curriculum and you’ll have plenty of options to specialize in Game System Design, Level/Content Design, or Narrative Design.

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Game Design Majors Admissions

The Game Design major requires you to submit a portfolio of your work. What are we looking for? Simply, we want to see you design something. We are looking for creativity, innovation, and we want you to demonstrate your ability to deconstruct a game and then re-envision it into something new and exciting. Important points to consider:

  • Follow all specifications. Design always comes with constraints. Your ability to be creative within those constraints will be highly valued.
  • Be original. Innovation will win you points over mimicking the latest hot, blockbuster game title or rehashing the old tried and true.
  • Communicate clearly and be technically accurate. That means spelling and grammar count! Show us you also value this characteristic.
  • Show us who you are and where your creative energies lie through your design. Show us your passion and your interests.

You may wish to enhance your application with additional materials. These are not required, but are recommended. Game designers need a broad range of skills from programming to visual design. Show us some of your other skills as they apply to communicating your idea. Follow the link below for more information on Game Design portfolio requirements.

Portfolio Requirements

Suggested Preparation:

Game designers need diversity in their education and experiences. Here is a list of some suggested areas of study and exploration:

  • Math through Applied Calculus
  • Science, especially Physics
  • Programming (any languages or scripting environments)
  • Graphic Design
  • Drawing and Painting
  • Art History, History, Sociology, Psychology, and Literature
  • Creative Writing
  • Digital Art Software such as Adobe Creative Suite, or any 3D package
  • Unreal Development Kit (PC)
  • Gamemaker (PC)
  • Game Salad (Mac)
  • Mod any game and share with a modding community
  • Make traditional card or board games
  • Be a dungeon master for D&D
  • Create game characters and develop their back story

Champlain awards course credit for AP courses taken with completed exams, including Computer Science, Calculus, Statistics, and more. Follow the link below for more information from our admissions team.

Apply Now
There’s a tremendous sense of community in the Game Studio. All our majors are challenging and demanding, but we’re all in this together, and you really get a sense of that.
Natalie Orlando, ’18, Game Design

Senior Show 2021

Enter the Show
Student game art

Six Majors. One Experience.

The Game Studio at Champlain College is the premier program for students looking to get a professional game development experience from day one of their education. Take major-specific classes and learn the skills and techniques that go into building your favorite games. Work as a team with other game students and construct fully functional games that you can download, play, and publish. By graduation, you’ll be prepared to succeed in a rewarding career in game development. At the Game Studio, we don’t simulate what game development could look like—we put you in the middle of the real game studio experience.

The Game Studio Experience

Interested in Learning More?

We’ll send you Game Studio info plus a game art poster designed by our students when you fill out this form.