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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:
September
Typical Length:
2 Years
Credential:
Diploma

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Overview

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

  • Field experience is a mandatory credit course, providing you with the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills outside of the classroom.
    • Opportunities are typically unpaid and last approximately 5 weeks.
  • This program is eligible for an optional cooperative education (co-op) credit course between year one and two.
    • Co-op provides an opportunity for paid, full-time employment in a field related to your program.
    • Co-op takes place in third term and must be a minimum of 12 weeks and 420 hours.
    • Our co-op program follows Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL) guidelines.
  • Transportation, accommodations and other costs related to work experience are your responsibility.
  • 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
Truro
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

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

Tuition (Domestic):
$3,620
Tuition (International):
$11,690

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 1001 - Career Development for the Game Industry I
This course introduces students to the various structures, cultures and opportunities associated with the game industry. Students will learn about the significance of a professional, creative portfolio and build an awareness of career planning.

GAME 1005 - Career Development for the Game Industry II
Students will begin to explore personal fit within the game industry through career planning. Students will also identify areas for improvement and develop plans to address gaps. Health and wellness and diversity and inclusion in the industry are also covered.

GAME 1012 - Introduction to Game Engine
This course provides an introduction to game engine tools and software used in the Game Development Industry. Students will create game related projects & prototypes and will apply industry best practices.

GAME 1015 - Game Programming I
This course introduces the fundamentals of computer programming and the process of software development. Students will use these principles to develop game components which may include systems and APIs that manage in-game player statistics, store 2D game maps, read player input, and conduct a game loop.

GAME 1018 - Game Engine for Programmers I
This course provides a deeper look at how game engine tools and software are used in the game development industry. Students will create game related projects and prototypes using industry standard game engine tools and software while adhering to industry best practice.

GAME 1021 - Game Mathematics
This course covers fundamental mathematical concepts applied to game development. Students will demonstrate the application of mathematical principles in the creation of simple projects, using various software and tools such as spreadsheets, programming languages, and game engines.

GAME 1025 - Game Programming II
This is a project-based course that covers an introduction to object-oriented programming (OOP) principles. Students will be introduced to OOP principles and develop a simple, yet architecturally significant, game.

GAME 1060 - Game Development I
This course introduces students to game development theory and methodology. Students will develop game concepts and cover topics such as iterative design, game design documentation and play-testing.

GAME 1070 - Game Development II
In this course, students apply development theory to design game components, such as systems and mechanics in readiness for development. Students will develop industry standard game design documentation to support consistency and quality throughout projects.

GAME 1075 - Game Mechanics
This course introduces students to the fundamental principles of programming game mechanics and provides a solid understanding of game development theory and methodology. Topics may include programming mechanics such as accessing user input, controlling the player character, interacting and causing change in the game world and automated movement of non-playable characters.

GAME 2005 - Career Development for the Game Industry III
Students will build and practice presenting industry targeted portfolios and participate in mock interviews. In addition, students will refine career goals.

GAME 2018 - Game Engine for Programmers II
This course focuses on how to use game engine tools to create executables for different gaming platforms and devices. Students will configure assets and components so they are adaptable to a variety of resolutions, platform limitations and requirements.

GAME 2025 - Game Programming III
Students will develop a properly architected game inside a game engine following stakeholder specifications. Students will develop algorithms, game components and test and debug using troubleshooting techniques.

GAME 2065 - Game Development III
In this course students build a game prototype following game development methodologies and documentation. Students will work collaboratively on a limited scope game project and follow the full development cycle from conception to a finished product.

GAME 2080 - Capstone for Game Programming
This course integrates the skills and knowledge gained in previous courses. Students will work in cross-disciplinary teams that replicate real-world environments to complete game projects.

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 3005 - Career Development for the Game Industry IV
In this course students refine professional portfolios and interview skills and build a professional profile in readiness for employment.

GAME 3018 - Game Engine for Programmers III
This course combines game engine skills and knowledge in the production of a term-long game project. Students will integrate game assets into the game project using version control software following stakeholder feedback.

GAME 3025 - Game Programming IV
In this course students apply skills and knowledge to the development of a game that meets standard functional and technical requirements, as well as stakeholder requirements. Students also examine maintenance and stability issues of version control repositories used by larger teams in larger games and build quality assurance processes into projects.

GAME 3030 - Procedural Generation
In this course students design and develop algorithms that procedurally generate game content, such as game levels and game assets. Procedural generation topics may include cellular automata, marching squares, gradient/value noise such as Perlin noise, 2D height map generation, 3D mesh generation, and randomization. Students will explore and create proprietary algorithms and improve algorithms via the iterative design process to meet final requirements.

GAME 3040 - Emerging Technologies
This course provides students with the opportunity to gain skills that relate to tools and technologies that are becoming prominent in the games industry. Areas of study may include, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), alternative game engines and frameworks, and other emerging technologies.

GAME 3075 - Game Development IV
In this course students build a term-long game project from inception to completion as part of a multi-disciplinary team. Students will assume individual roles and responsibilities that are modelled after actual game industry processes (agile development, milestones, reporting structures, communication, documentation).

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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