DigiPen Video Game Programming

DigiPen Video Game Programmer students collaborating

 

  • Location: DigiPen Institute, Redmond Campus
  • High School Credits: Year 1 – CTE (2.0), AP Comp Sci Principles (1.0); Year 2 – CTE (2.0), Math Analysis (1.0)
  • 2 Year Program Available
  • No Tuition
  • Program fees may apply. Financial assistance may be available for qualifying students
  • College Credits: DigiPen Credits TBD
  • Prerequisites Year 1: Algebra 2. Prerequisites Year 2: Successful completion of Year 1 and instructor approval.

The DigiPen Video Game Programming track gives students an introduction to the art and science behind video game development. Through seven modules of instruction, students learn key art, math, and computer science concepts that are applied to a game project after each module. While developing their games, students also write a short essay defending the methods and reasons used to complete their project, as well as address industry issues like labor practices, intellectual property rights, publishing contracts and controversial game content.

The Pacific Northwest is a true hub of game development, with hundreds of big-name game companies as well as indie game studios contributing to the ongoing growth of the over $80 billion game industry in the U.S. The demand for skilled developers has never been higher.  For students who want to pursue a rewarding career as a game developer, this signature program provides the solid foundation that has already launched hundreds of high school students on their journey into this industry and beyond.

In this full-year, 3-period Skill Center class (3 high school credits) students will:

  • Understand concepts central to programming including Boolean logic, using correct mathematical expressions, abstraction, and choosing how to represent data
  • Write both collaborative and individual programs in C and other programming languages for both problems solving and creative expression
  • Write algorithms to solve problems, read algorithms made by other people, and judge whether certain algorithms are better than others for a specific problem
  • Use programming concepts more specifically related to games such as game loops, component-based engine architecture, and game- play programming
  • Practice the Video Game production process including pitches, design documents, scheduling, milestones, testing, time management, and working on interdisciplinary teams

Potential Careers:

Integration Engineer • Computer Consultant • Infrastructure Engineer • Network Engineer • Publishing Systems Analyst • Software Architect • Software Developer • Systems Coordinator • Software Engineer • Technical Consultant

Example Median Yearly Salary in the Seattle Metro area:

  • Software Developers and Software Quality Assurance Analysts and Testers $141,250
  • Computer Systems Analysts $110,290
  • Computer Occupations $94,980

*Source: careeronestop.org, U.S. Department of Labor 2021

PREPARE FOR COLLEGE AND A CAREER!

Course Expectations: DigiPen Video Game Programming Year One.  Located at DigiPen Institute of Technology 

Reading Expectations of this class: 

This course is not text heavy, however, many materials provided do require a more technical reading level. Students who have difficulty reading may struggle to understand some of the more technical vocabulary used.  

Writing Expectations of this class: 

Students are expected to have intermediate writing skills, as there will be a component of writing code. Due to this, students who struggle with typing may have more difficulty completing and expanding on assignments. Adding comments and descriptions to files is also a requirement on most assignments. 

Math Expectations of this class: 

Many different math topics are referenced, and students must have completed Algebra 2 to be accepted into this program. Understanding variables in algebra, how to rearrange terms, and using a coordinate system are all extremely important. We expand that in class looking at vectors, and how affecting physics over time makes simulations work. In addition, many assignments do rely on calculating different math concepts. This program is not for students who are averse to math. 

Science Expectations of this class: 

When making games, students will learn about physics peripherally. They will also explore how some of the first computers worked electrically. Most of the core science parts of the class are less central to the class, but an interest in physics is always helpful. 

Homework Expectations of this class: 

All the coursework for this class is intended to be done during class. Lab time is planned in class for every assignment, and students are expected to be self-motivated during this time. The goal is for students to have all the help they need while actively working on their assignments. Any work done outside of class is typically preparatory work, such as reading or reviewing a video in advance of the topic being introduced in the class. 

To be successful in this class, the student should be prepared to: 

Use class time wisely and ask questions if stuck on a problem for too long or something doesn’t make sense to them. Be willing to research new concepts on their own to expand their knowledge;, projects involve researching and adding their own unique ideas. Collaborate with other students on programming and game projects and learn to use tools, schedules, and documentation to work together.  

Applying and practicing skills is key to showcasing your competency. Embrace an attendance policy reflecting the norms of business and industry, where you take on the role of an employee or professional. Commit to full daily attendance and active participation for optimal learning and productivity. Dive into the program's array of hands-on activities necessary for earning credit. 

Additional Information: 
  • Prerequisite – Algebra 2
  • College credit may be available. 

Course Expectations: DigiPen Video Game Programming Year Two.  Located at DigiPen Institute of Technology 

Reading Expectations of this class: 

Students are expected to read and learn from technical documentation, programming tutorials, and assignment instructions, and read and comprehend code written by themselves and others. 

Writing Expectations of this class: 

Students are expected to write clear and concise documentation for each file and function they submit for their programming assignments, all with proper grammar and spelling. 

Math Expectations of this class: 

Students are expected to learn and apply concepts in several areas of intermediate mathematics, including trigonometry, vector and matrix algebra, and basic physics. This will be done through a combination of written problem sets and programming labs. 

Science Expectations of this class: 

An understanding of basic physics, including concepts such as position, velocity, and acceleration, is necessary for some of the game/simulation programming projects. 

Homework Expectations of this class: 

All the coursework for this class is intended to be done during class. Lab time is planned in class for every assignment, and students are expected to be self-motivated during this time. The goal is for students to have all the help they need while they are actively working on their assignments. Any work done outside of class is typically preparatory work, such as reading or reviewing a video in advance of the topic being introduced in the class. 

To be successful in this class, the student should be prepared to: 

Learn and work independently and in groups on highly technical projects involving object-oriented programming languages. An understanding of structures, pointers, and memory allocation is vital for getting the most out of these projects. These concepts will be reviewed, but prior knowledge with these concepts is highly recommended. Students who have successfully completed this course’s prerequisite should already have this knowledge.  

Applying and practicing skills is key to showcasing your competency. Embrace an attendance policy reflecting the norms of business and industry, where you take on the role of an employee or professional. Commit to full daily attendance and active participation for optimal learning and productivity. Dive into the program's array of hands-on activities necessary for earning credit. 

Additional Information: 
  • Prerequisites Year 2: Successful completion of Year 1 and instructor approval.
  • This is a full year 3-period Skill Center class (3 high school credits). Students in DigiPen Video Game Programming Year 2 continue to expand and refine their skills to create digital games and interactive experiences.  
  • CTE Dual Credit. College credit may be available.