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Game Programming

Level up your career and learn the programming skills necessary to create engaging video games.

A student sits in front of multiple monitors.
Start Date:
Typical Length:
2 Years

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Game programmers develop and implement the software code that makes video games function. They work closely with game designers, artists and other members of the game development team to create the game’s core mechanics, gameplay features and user interface. Students in this 2-year diploma program learn in a collaborative studio environment and develop complete video game projects with students from the Game and Interactive Art program.

Using game development best practices, you learn to apply technical and problem-solving skills, critical thinking and logic to develop games using C# programming and the Unity game engine. With hands-on training, you learn the key fundamentals of game development, including object-oriented programming, algorithms, game systems/managers, software architecture and programming patterns.

Throughout the program, you'll develop your conceptual and collaborative skills while working on a variety of projects. You'll follow the full game development cycle from inception to completion while learning the tools and processes used by industry professionals to create cutting-edge games. Along the way, you will produce polished work that meets the demands of industry clients and mentors, leaving with a professional portfolio that showcases your skills and creativity.

Work experience

  • Work placement is a mandatory credit course, providing the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills outside of the classroom. 
    • Opportunities are typically unpaid and last approximately 5 weeks.
    • Transportation, accommodations and other costs related to work placements are your responsibility. 
  • This program is eligible for an optional cooperative education (co-op) credit course between year one and two.  
    • Co-op placements provide the opportunity for paid, full-time work in a field related to your program. Opportunities typically last 12 to 16 weeks.
    • Our co-op program follows Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL) guidelines.
  • For more information visit work experience opportunities.

Choose NSCC

  • Our instructors come from industry with world-class experience and skills.
  • You learn in a studio environment that reflects industry practice.
  • You use current technology and software.
  • You gain valuable experience working on a major project through all phases - from requirements to conceptualization, design, prototyping, development, testing and delivery.
  • This program was developed with industry – for industry, ensuring your skills are current and relevant.

Other info

  • This sector is experiencing significant growth in our region, and it’s anticipated this will lead to a growth in demand for graduates of this program.  
  • It's highly recommended that you gain familiarity with the software and processes used in industry prior to attending NSCC by exploring the following tutorials:

September 2024

Campus Full time/part time Delivery Availability
Truro Campus/Online
Full time Blended
Delivered through a combination of online and in-person classes. At least 50% of learning is in-person.
Seats available

Admission requirements

  • High School Graduation Diploma, or equivalent.
  • Entrance portfolio - an entrance portfolio is a significant factor in determining your admission into the program. For detailed information on what your portfolio needs to include, see the Game Programming portfolio requirements (PDF 192KB)

Program requirements

  • Portfolio development – As part of your studies at NSCC, you develop a portfolio of your work; the portfolio captures your achievements and profiles your skills to employers.


Tuition amounts are for the 2023-24 academic year. Program costs and fees (textbooks, supplies, etc.) are additional.

Tuition (Domestic):
Tuition (International):

Tuition, fees and program costs

In addition to annual tuition, there are program costs (books, tools, etc.) and student fees for College services, health and dental plans, your student association and parking.

View detailed program fees page(s). Please note that amounts on these pages are meant for planning purposes only. They don't represent final amounts owing.

Career options

Graduates of the Game Programming Diploma program may find employment in the following areas in entry level positions:

  • C# programmer
  • Unity/engine developer
  • Game programmers
  • Generalist programmer
  • Software developers
  • Software architect
  • Gameplay programmer
  • AI programmer
  • Project managers
  • Game designers*
  • QA (quality assurance) testers
  • Programming for AR/VR and other interactive applications and immersive technologies

*The Game Programming program focuses on preparing students to become game programmers and not specifically game designers. Some graduates have found success becoming game designers based on their own efforts of exploring game design through the development of their own games.

Courses may include

These are some of the courses offered in this program. It is not a complete list and courses are subject to change in advance of the academic year.

Recognizing prior learning / transfer credits
If you have previous learning (course, employment, etc...) that's relevant to your program, you may be able to apply to earn credit. Not all programs are eligible. Learn about our recognizing prior learning (RPL) process.

GAME 1030 - Communications
This course provides learners with the specific skills required to communicate effectively with clients and colleagues. Learners will have the opportunity to explore potential occupations and roles in order to identify personal strengths and areas of interest, preparing personal promotional materials. The requirements of daily communications are covered in both traditional face-to-face and digital forms.

GAME 1050 - Animation Fundamentals
This course provides learners with an introduction to the principles of animation in a variety of software. The learner will be introduced to concepts such as squash and stretch, timing, path of action and anticipation to name a few and will learn to apply them using a variety of technologies. This course will introduce the learner to the specifics of game animation requirements and they will create animation assets, sequences, and cinematics that fulfill the game project requirements.

GAME 2000 - Portfolio Development I
This course allows learners to apply the tools, techniques, and artistic skills developed in the first year to a team based or individual project where they will have the opportunity to develop knowledge of the production process. They will also be creating portfolio quality material in order to demonstrate their competency and abilities. This course will provide mentorship and will help learners focus on developing an online portfolio which will be tailored to the individual’s area of specialization.

GAME 2007 - 3D Light and Rendering
This course is an introduction to lighting and rendering techniques using an industry standard 3D software packages. Learners will explore various concepts and techniques from cinematography, design principals and graphic production to enable them to enhance their computer graphics. This course will help learners improve the artistic quality of their work and give them and understanding of the relevant aspects of optics, illumination and human perception. There will be a research and presentation component in this course that will enable learners to explore techniques in 3D lighting and rendering.

GAME 2014 - Level Design and Modelling I
Learners will explore the process of developing a working knowledge of modelling 3D characters, environments, architecture and objects using modelling, texturing and sculpting techniques. Optimization techniques will also be explored with models and textures for game integration. There will be a research and presentation component in this course that will enable learners to explore techniques in 3D modelling.

GAME 2021 - Materials and Texturing
Learners will develop a basic understanding of applying materials, shaders and textures in a 3D Development environment and apply them to geometry. An introduction to basic texture painting techniques and UV mapping will be covered.

GAME 2200 - Professional Portfolio
This course builds on the portfolio skills developed in the Communications and Portfolio Development I courses. This course covers the skills and knowledge that learners will require to find, apply, and compete for industry positions. This course will also provide mentorship and will help learners focus on developing an online portfolio and work samples which will be tailored to the individual employment opportunities.

GAME 2400 - Portfolio Development II
This course allows learners to apply the tools, techniques, and advanced skills developed in the 2nd year to work experience through a placement or working with an external client on a project. They will further their experience of working in multidisciplinary teams to strengthen their communication, problem solving and self-directed learning skills. Learners will identify personal outcomes they wish to attain, will assess their own performance and be evaluated by an industry partner.

GAME 2500 - Work Experience
The work experience component provides students with an opportunity to apply new skills and concepts appropriate for entry-level positions within the occupation they are studying. Students will assess their own performance and be evaluated by an industry partner. Students will identify personal outcomes they wish to attain during the work experience.

GAME 3013 - Rigging and Motion Capture
This course emphasizes the skills required to edit and assemble motion capture data. Learners with acquire the aesthetic and technical considerations necessary for working with motion data through lecture, hands on exercises and class critiques. Learners will be able to record real time motion and apply this motion data to a 3D character and edit and blend clips.

GAME 3014 - Level Design and Modelling II
Students develop 3D characters, environments, architecture and objects using modelling, texturing and sculpturing techniques. Optimization techniques will also be explored with models and textures for game integration. There will be a research and presentation component in this course that will enable learners to explore techniques in 3D modelling.

GAME 3016 - Dynamics
Learners will be introduced to the world of dynamics in 3D software such as Maya. Introduction to basic dynamics and scripts will be explored and utilized for 3D graphics. Learners will be expected to explore and apply dynamics and scripts which they have generated on their own.

GAME 3031 - Exploratory
This course concentrates on advanced topics of 3D. Learners will have the opportunity to research in specific areas of concentration that do not fall under the learning of other courses within this 3D stream. These areas may include; dynamics, Mel or python programming, compositing, special effects, exploring another 3D software. Learners will expand their knowledge into a specialized area of interest.

GAME 4001 - Studio Time
This course allows learners to apply the tools, techniques, and artistic skills to a team based project where they will have the opportunity to develop advanced knowledge of the production process and team work skills. Learners will be working in interdisciplinary teams which mimic industry and will be responsible for schedule creation, role assignment, and workload distribution, monitoring and reporting on the progress of the project.

GAME 4014 - 3D Advanced
Learners will mimic industry standards to keep current while they work. In industry this is achieved by learners researching topics outside of the projects they are currently working on. This can include watching YouTube learning tutorials, researching on the web, and/or meeting with other industry people and learning from them. Learners identify an area of interest, explain how it will help them, and develop a proposal of what they will achieve within a certain time frame. They will concentrate on taking the necessary steps to achieve their goals.

GAME 4020 - Self-Promotion and Entrepreneurship
This course provides some of the tools and knowledge needed for self-promotion. Learners learn how to identify potential self-promotional opportunities and become familiar with various methods and techniques such as guerrilla marketing to produce cost-effective, efficient material and devices.

INFT 2100 - Project Management
This course covers the basic theory and skills that introduce the learners to the process of effective project management and the unique challenges of Information Technology (IT) projects and methodologies.

SAFE 1000 - Introduction to WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems)
This course offers learners basic overview of WHMIS principles and establishes a solid foundation to support workplace-specific training on the safe storage and handling of controlled/hazardous products. Upon successful completion of the course, students receive basic WHMIS certification.

SAFE 1001 - Introduction to NS OH&S Act
This course offers students an introduction to the Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Act of Nova Scotia, which is required by any person employed in a Nova Scotia workplace. This is a generic, introductory course that provides basic knowledge of the Act for students and is considered to be the basis from which more specific training can be given.

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