Video Game Design University: Game Production Courses: The Game Institute

Game Design SchoolThe Game Institute
Have you dreamt about working with the development of video games? The Game Institute provides professional training in the field of video game production and digital game development. Their program includes a series of affordable interactive courses and access to an experienced faculty. This program is suited for students of any skill level, including absolute beginners. Through The Game Institute’s self-study online learning programs you can learn everything you need to start a career in game development from your home computer. Their courses are also offered with semester-based scheduling in accredited colleges and universities.

Game Design Courses at The Game Institute

Artificial intelligence programming

The field of artificial intelligence (AI) is vast and there are many areas that one can discover. However, there exists some fundamental techniques and data structures that are used time and again in almost every game application that incorporates AI. The purpose of this course is not to provide a comprehensive overview of the entire field of artificial intelligence, but rather to focus in on the most important data structures and algorithms that every game developer will need to understand if they wish to include intelligent NPCs in their games. As students progress through the course, they will develop their own extendable AI class library. This library will serve as the foundation for incorporating sophisticated artificial intelligence into their current and future game development projects.

C++ Programming for Game Developers – General Course Series Description

The C++ Programming for Game Developers series of courses has been designed to satisfy three major goals. First and foremost, the key goal is for the student to understand, and be able to apply (by writing programs), the fundamental components of the C++ programming language. The second goal of this series is to prepare you for the other courses at Game Institute, which require an intermediate level of proficiency with the C++ programming language. And finally, the last goal of the series is to introduce game programming related topics in an easier to comprehend 2D environment, which will serve as a stepping-stone to 3D game programming. This last goal is met by building up the tools needed to program a 2D game in the Windows environment.

C++ Programming for Game Developers – Module 1

In this first C++ course, you will become proficient with core C++ topics such as variables, console input and output, functions, loops, programming logic, pointers, strings, classes, and object oriented design and methodologies. In addition, you will study more complex C++ subject matter, such as operator overloading, file input and output, inheritance, and polymorphism. When practical to do so, game related examples are used to motivate the discussions. Quizzes, a midterm, and a final will make up your grade.

C++ Programming for Game Developers – Module 2

In this second C++ course, you will begin to move away from the text-based console applications we built in Module I, and begin to examine Windows programming with the Win32 API. With the Win32 API, you will be able to write programs that look a lot more like those that you are probably very familiar with; ones with resizable windows, mouse input, graphics, menus, toolbars, scroll bars, dialog boxes, and controls.

Of particular interest to us as game programmers is the ability to do graphics with the Win32 API, something which is not possible with pure C++. You will learn about fundamental graphic concepts such as double buffering, sprites, animation and timing, and masking. By the end of the course, you will have developed a fully functional 2D game, complete with graphics, physics, artificial intelligence, and input via the mouse. After completing this course, you will be adequately prepared for your first course in 3D graphics programming.

Quizzes, a midterm, and a final will make up your grade.

Game Mathematics

This course covers the fundamental mathematics used in the modern game engine development process. Combining key elements from the fields of geometry, trigonometry, and linear algebra, students will learn about the core mathematics used by all game developers to make realistic computer games.

Game Physics

By applying the laws of physics, you can realistically model nearly everything in games that bounces around, flies, rolls, slides, or isn't sitting still. This allows you to to create compelling, believable content for computer games, simulations, and animation. This course serves as a starting point for those who want to enrich games with physics-based realism.

Graphics Programming with DirectX 9 – Module 1

This course was specifically designed to be the first course that a student takes at Game Institute following their C++ training. However, even programmers with some experience are likely to encounter a significant amount of useful information and learn some new techniques along the way. This is the first course in a three-part series on DirectX Graphics version 9. The framework created in this course will be expanded in modules II and III of the series and as such, this is a pre-requisite course for students who intend to continue with the rest of the series.

Graphics Programming with DirectX 9 – Module 2

Students who have completed Graphics Programming Module I will continue their examination of DirectX Graphics and important 3D programming techniques. Now that students have a good grasp of the basics, it is time to tackle more challenging subject matter. The goal of this course is to start building a more robust set of 3D graphics technologies utilizing the features of the DirectX Graphics fixed-function pipeline as well as proprietary non-platform specific tools. Along the way students will implement a number of exciting new components for use in their games (dynamics scenes, animated characters, trees, a powerful collision system, etc.) as well as some helpful tools to aid in the game design process. In the conclusion to this course series, students will complete the construction of their own real-time rendering engine which will include support for all of the features that are studied in Modules I and II in addition to more contemporary concepts like the programmable pipeline, normal mapping, real-time shadows, and other highly advanced effects. This course will thus be a pre-requisite for students who intend to continue with Module III.

Graphics Programming with DirectX 9 – Module 3

The advent of hardware supported programmable shaders has redefined the level of realism and visual sophistication achievable in real-time applications. One need only look at new titles like Half-Life2, DOOM3, or HALO II to get a sense of how far things have come in the game industry. After completing Modules I and II in this series, students will finalize their game engine framework to include advanced 3D rendering support for visuals that are on par with current commercial titles. This course will provide students with the concrete experience they will need to be competitive in this rapidly advancing field.

Graphics Programming with OpenGL

This course is about developing the graphics technology that drives modern games. Concentration is on OpenGL - a powerful interface for graphics programming on the PC that has been used by many successful commercial games. It is also a tested and well thought-out interface, with a high level of stability. This makes it an ideal platform for teaching 3D graphics.

If you are an amateur or independent developer, this course will teach you to write an engine that does your game justice. If you want to become a professional programmer, displaying a good knowledge of OpenGL and the concepts that we will cover during this course at your interview is certain to help your cause, as engine programming is a fascinating and often highly sought-after profession.

Terrain Rendering

Terrain Rendering is a major component of rendering engines in today's games and many new and innovative algorithms have been developed in recent years. This course delivers detailed analysis of several algorithms, allowing the student to choose the one which best suits their project. But it is not enough to simply pick an algorithm, as any Continuous Level of Detail Terrain Rendering system will employ tricky techniques and opaque optimizations. This course delivers clear, simple, and understandable explanations and commented source code for each of the projects. The final project combines all the terrain algorithms into a demonstration that allows side-by-side comparisons of their efficiency.

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