Write the code that turns game ideas into digital reality. Use technical skills and computer knowledge to bridge the gap between imagination and the data that games run on.
Game Programmers write the code that takes game art and conceptual ideas and makes them into complex characters or a full-blown world. In the Game Programming major you’ll explore artificial intelligence behaviors, game physics, game architecture, and working with and rendering 2D and 3D graphics.
You’ll work with other game disciplines in a studio environment to combine your skills and create engaging, immersive games using the same methodology as the studios do.
Qualities of a Game Programming Major:
Dean LawsonProgram Director(802) firstname.lastname@example.org
Programmers are in high demand in the game industry and other disciplines. Champlain Game Programming majors are sought after not just for their technical abilities, but also for their experience working in a team environment in the Game Studio.Careers in Game Programming include:
Game Programmers graduates from Champlain College are in-demand by both AAA game studios and indie game studios alike. Because Champlain students work within the studio environment and know how to build games with a team, our grads are highly sought after by employers.
“My production classes made it easy to go from a classroom environment to working in a business where there were multiple projects going on.”
The Game Programming major is an intense and challenging degree built on a foundation of math, programming skills and software engineering practices. With this base, students can then explore the sub-systems that add graphics, physics, and artificial intelligence into modern game engines. They must then take this technical expertise and collaborate with content providers (artist, animators, and designers) in order to craft solutions to subsequently larger and more complex games. As a result, graduates understand how to engineer games from the low-level network protocols and graphics shaders to implementing high-level solutions for the latest game engines to artificial intelligence or game mechanics.
Introduction to Game Development introduces students to the full game development process from conceptualization to publishing, and to the language common to game development environments. Students learn about the different roles on a game development team, with emphasis placed on teamwork, group problem-solving, and effective communication. Students also create a series of rapid game prototypes.
Students will be introduced to and familiarized with their roles as Game Programmers. The course explores the various disciplines and vocations within game programming, provides an overview of the skills that make a game programmer successful, and presents both industry and academic contexts for their duties. Through hands-on projects using modern game technology, students will gain practical experience in their craft.
This course takes a shaders-first dive into modern computer graphics programming. Students are introduced to vertex and fragment shaders, 2D and 3D coordinate spaces, drawing primitives, lighting and shading, data flow and manipulation, and modern GPU capabilities. Linear algebra and 3D math concepts will be refreshed and/or introduced for applicable topics.
Game Architecture explores components and subsystems of electronic games and their associated architectures. Topics include game state representation, time management, the main game loop and game subsystems. Game design and planning from first concept to start of development are explored in detail. In addition to game architecture, we will also look into the issues of game design, team building, and management. The focus will be on those implementations that work well, and will include situations to avoid and how to fix errors.
This course provides a technical introduction to the core concepts of artifical intelligence (AI). Students will be introduced to the history of AI, agents (agent architecture and multi-agent behavior), search (search space, uninformed and informed search, constraint satisfaction, game playing), knowledge representation (logical encoding of domain knowledge, logical reeasoning systems), planning (search over plan space, partial-order planning, practical planning), uncertainty and probability, learning (inductive learning, linear separators, decision trees, boosting, reinforcement learning), and perception and cognition (natural language, machine vision, robotics).
Students will gain a profound appreciation for the graphics pipeline by implementing 3D rendering tools, post-processing algorithms and industry-standard shaders. The animation side introduces mesh manipulation techniques, such as morphing and skeletal animation, using modern GPU-based algorithms. Linear algebra and 3D math concepts will be refreshed and/or introduced for applicable topics.
In EGD 420, Game Studio III, seniors successful in pitching their games during the college capstone in the Fall semester continue into full production. Forming large production teams, games are taken to the perfect polished state of gold master, ready for publication. Academic emphasis for the class is focused on working successfully in a professional studio environment, preparing for entrance into the job market, and taking personal craft to the next level.
Students learn the architectural, design and implementation strategies used to develop online games. They develop and stress test reliable and efficient protocols to address network latency (game lag), security and scalability requirements. Students will utilize distributed object caching along with these protocols to implement registration, authentication, server discovery and game lobby systems.
Yolk is a platforming game about a living egg finding themselves
Hand-built animation toolkit in C.
A GLSL shader that creates the appearance of sequined fabric
Work in progress solo project. Narrative horror experience.
Simple trailer showing fall semester project
Portfolio Image for Aiden O'Connor
Box Voyage is a puzzle-lite adventure game that focuses heavily on interesting interactions, experimentation, and easy fun.
Camera Shy is an accessible, unique, and immersive adventure that is enjoyable for players of all experience levels.
Cash Force is a high-octane VR shooter about a cop gone rogue in a colorful 1970s-inspired setting.
Eira: Echoes of Adventure is an adventure game in which you journey through an icy world filled with curious alien wildlife, spatial puzzles, and hoards of treasure.
Frog Bath is an action capture-the-flag platformer with an emphasis on fun and flexible froggy movement.
Guilded is a game about characters, groups, and their stories. You play as the leader of an Adventurers Guild, where you send adventurers on quests.
The 15-credit Mathematics Minor is designed for students across all majors who enjoy and are proficient in math. Prospective employers value employees who have a formally demonstrated mathematical ability, and the credential of a minor in Mathematics on your resume will give you an advantage in the marketplace, no matter which career field you wish to enter.
Game Programming Major
Game Programming Major
How has the Game Studio prepared you for the professional world?
Everyone takes the C++ intro to advanced courses, so you get a really good summary of the language. In order to do well in classes and projects throughout your college career, you have to push yourself and be able to ask questions, pay attention, and learn to work independently as well as in a team. The Game Studio is pretty much on point with what you would experience in the real world.
Can you tell us about the Ubisoft competition in Montreal?
Every year, Ubisoft sponsors a competition with surrounding game schools. They set a theme, and you have 10 weeks to make a game that the audience can interact with. I would say it was one of the most pivotal moments of my college career because we were able to work on such a large team. Usually we are on teams of five, but with eight members we got to make a fully-fledged game to show professionals to judge. It’s a signature piece in my portfolio.
So what does a Game portfolio look like?
In your portfolio, you put most of your projects or finals. I have the game we made for the Ubisoft competition, my Capstone, and final projects from upper level courses I took junior and senior year. Recruiters love to see side projects, and that’s a big culture at Champlain. You work with your friends and make a good game to throw in your portfolio. It shows recruiters that you’re driven, you’re active, and you genuinely enjoy making games.As a game programmer, your portfolio shows off the end product and points out specifically what you did on that project. You might provide a sample of your code and a detailed explanation of how it works. It’s more technical than a designer’s portfolio, for example.
What projects that you’ve worked on have you particularly enjoyed?
Team projects in the Game Studio and production are my favorites. It’s so valuable to work in a team and find out what the dynamic is and where you fit in. Then at the end of the project, you have a game that you helped to make – that’s a really cool feeling. I still remember how I felt after I made my first game. It’s amazing!
Have you worked on campus in either a part-time or work-study position?
I am a Programmer at the Emergent Media Center. It’s been an incredible experience. Working with students outside of my regular courses, learning how a professional environment operates, and working with projects applicable to my professional development has been so fulfilling and a great learning experience.
What do you recommend when exploring Burlington?
My personal favorite treasure in Burlington is a hidden gem called the Crystal Cottage of Vermont. It’s a short walk down College Street. I went there multiple times a week during the semester to de-stress and find cool things. A trip there, then dinner at the Skinny Pancake, then sitting at the docks, and my night was made!
Harnessing the power of today’s computers, consoles, and portable devices to make game images come alive—and knowing how to bring new possibilities to the next generation of games—is the fundamental passion of game programmers.
If you share this passion, start your application to Champlain College, which Princeton Review has repeatedly highlighted as one of the best places in the country to study game development.
Suggested Areas of Study
Academic preparation includes successful completion of a college preparatory curriculum, including Mathematics, English, History/Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, a foreign language, and a full course load of academic subjects through senior year.
While we know some Game Programming students may start with no programming experience, here are some suggested areas of study and areas of exploration:
Champlain awards course credit for AP courses taken with completed exams, including Computer Science, Calculus, Statistics, and more. Follow the Apply Now link below for more information from our admissions team. There is no portfolio requirement for this major.
If one of the elements of your academic profile is not as strong as your overall application we recommend a Personal Interview to demonstrate the personal qualities we look for in admitted students. We are seeking individuals who are highly motivated to achieve their professional and personal goals.
You can apply to Champlain College using the Common Application or the Champlain College Application. Both are free. Regardless of which you choose, all applications are considered equally.
Because game studios visit campus almost every month, I was able to secure a job at Infinity Ward three months before graduation.
Portfolio Tips from our Game Art Grads
Explore Your Passion for Video Games With the Summer Game Academy—Virtual Edition
Champlain College Featured in The Princeton Review’s Ranking of Top Game Design Schools 2021
Champlain Named a “Most Innovative School” by U.S. News & World Report
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.
We’ll send you Game Studio info plus a game art poster designed by our students when you fill out this form.