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Game Design

Academics . Game Design . Overview

Game Design

In CIA's Game Design major, you'll develop gaming experiences and build the foundation for a career in game design in art- and media-related industries. Our students work with innovative production processes including 3D modeling, animation, programming, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), visual design, audio, interactive storytelling and game production.

You'll learn the techniques while understanding the theory, criticism and context of video game culture and digital media. While creating interesting and usable content, you'll build character and level development skills with an understanding of the physical, cognitive, cultural, and political aspects of human interaction.

As a Game Design student, you will:

  • Improve your character and level development abilities
  • Master the application of rule design, play mechanics, and social game interaction
  • Integrate visual, audio, tactile, and textual elements into a total game experience
  • Create both linear and non-linear media by applying post-production techniques
  • Master 2D and 3D technical tools to create sophisticated rigged models, and optimized computer graphics (including industry-standard game engines like Unity and Unreal)
  • Distribute your work as mobile apps, console games, and VR/AR content

Collaboration is a vital aspect of the studio experience at CIA. As a Game Design major, you will be part of our digital arts student community and take core courses with students from other digital arts majors. This ongoing exchange between students with differing perspectives and techniques helps build team skills necessary for effective brainstorming, efficient production pipelines, and strong communication skills.

You will be mentored by our talented faculty with extensive industry experience in gaming and interactive companies. Accomplished alumni will help you build connections and network with other professionals in the field.

Real-world experience for real-world careers

What may best set CIA apart from other colleges of art and design is its commitment to real-world experience. CIA’s Engaged Practice provides you opportunities to learn through experience by working on real-world projects with external partners or clients including local partners like NASA and 360 Alley or in the public sphere—all before graduation.
These opportunities allow you to put your classroom and studio knowledge to work in a professional setting while still being guided by faculty. You’ll learn what it takes to meet client expectations, and will emerge with confidence that will serve you as you launch your career.

What can I do with a degree in Game Design?

  • Game Designer
  • Virtual Reality (VR) artist
  • Technical Artist
  • Visual Effects Supervisor
  • Storyboard Artist
  • Animator
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Harrison Walsh


Harrison Walsh has been a member of the Cleveland Institute of Art's Game Design Department since 2013. He gra...more

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While at CIA, you'll learn from the masters through our rigorous, world-class curriculum and connect with working professionals to begin your career.