B.F.A. Game Design and Development

Do you want to learn what it takes to make video games?
Degree Type Bachelor of Fine Arts
Careers and Salary Annual Employment Report
Delivery On Campus

Computer and video game companies, directly and indirectly, employ more than 120,000 people in 34 states. The average salary for direct employees is $75,000.

UW-Stout's Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Game Design and Development is an award-winning program where students gain core skills in art and design such as drawing, 3D modeling, and animation. As a game artist, you will create the visual elements necessary for games including concept art, characters, level design, and animations. 

Awards and Honors

  • Named one of the best in the U.S. by Princeton Review
  • National co-champion at the E3 College Game Competition
  • Received the Student Showcase Award, International Digital Media and Arts Association Conference
  • Nationally ranked by Animation Career Review

Game developers work in entertainment, training, advertising, simulation, and education.

We offer:

  • Collaboration with computer science students
  • Courses covering two- and three-dimensional models, animation and visual effects for video games, television, movies
  • Three labs with industry-standard hardware and software
  • AAA development kits, Intuos Cintiq Displays, HD and 3D projectors, and virtual reality headsets

The world is going digital. Entertainment is no exception. Sales of computer and video games have grown consistently over the past ten years and the industry is predicted to expand even more. Serious games feature the use of interactive game technologies within non-entertainment sectors for training, advertising, simulation or education. This is the future. Do you want to be a part of it?

Freelance artist’s artwork part of Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game

University of Wisconsin-Stout alumna and freelance artist Emily Dillhunt created all the card backs and tag frames around the avatars of the Lord of the Rings:
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Modern games are among the most demanding of computer applications, requiring knowledge of advanced mathematics and physics which form the basis of the 3D graphics, artificial intelligence and game engines that make up the game programs. Using core skills in art and design such as drawing, digital imaging and animation, game artists create the visual elements necessary for the game including heads-up interface components, 3D environments and 3D characters.

Game design and development students in the "Interactive Environments in L.A." Winterm class traveled to L.A. last week to present their work to the Jim Henson Company. / UW-Stout

To be successful in the industry, you must be skilled and able to work with your counterparts and apply those skills to creating games. UW-Stout offers Game Design and Development programs focusing on both art and computer science skills to serve the industry. Students will develop deeper skills in either discipline before joining together in the three capstone advanced project courses. These courses simulate industry by creating games using a team environment.

B.F.A. Admissions Requirements

New Freshmen

  • Submit a portfolio and essay to be reviewed by a committee of School of Art & Design faculty, who will determine admissions into the major. The priority deadline is no later than noon on the second Monday in January of your senior year of high school for fall admission. You will receive direction on how to submit your portfolio in a separate handout accompanying your acceptance letter from UW-Stout.

If you are not accepted into the program, but you do meet the requirements for general admission to the university, you will be admitted as an "Pre-BFA" student. You may then apply for a change of major in subsequent semesters, depending upon available openings in the program. First-Year Foundations courses will be available to "Pre-BFA" students pending seat availability.

Transfer Students

  • Submit a portfolio and essay to be reviewed by a committee of School of Art & Design faculty, who will determine admissions into the major. The priority deadline is no later than noon on October 1st for spring admission and March 1st for fall admission. You will receive direction on how to submit your portfolio in a separate handout accompanying your acceptance letter to UW-Stout.

Transfer students are considered both fall and spring. This includes portfolio and essay submission priority dates. Students applying for one of the BFA programs will be admitted as a "Pre-BFA" student if you: 

  • do not submit a portfolio/essay
    or
  • apply after the BFA program has closed
    or
  • are not approved for the BFA program after submission of a portfolio essay. 

You may then apply for a change of major in subsequent semesters, depending upon available openings in the program. If needed, BFA Foundations courses will be available to "Pre-BFA" students pending seat availability. 

Game Design and Development Careers

In 2013, $21.53 billion was spent on video games, hardware, and accessories. Game software and content accounted for approximately $15.4 billion of that total. Computer and video game companies directly and indirectly employ more than 120,000 people in 34 states. The average salary for direct employees is $90,000.

The game entertainment industry is the typical choice for careers, but game development skills are also used for serious purposes, such as military training, education, personal medical assistance and business simulations.

Artists create two- and three-dimensional models, animation and visual effects for video games, television, movies, and other media. Employment of multimedia artists and animators is expected to grow by 6 percent through 2022. The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development predicts an 11.1 percent increase in the number of multimedia artists and animators from 2010-2020.

The video game industry is an emerging industry in Wisconsin. Raven Software, of Middleton, is largest and most established (1990). Other Wisconsin companies include Human Head Studios (Madison), Guild Software (Milwaukee), Filament Games (Madison),  Learning Games Network (Madison),  PerBlue (Madison),  ZyMo Entertainment (Green Bay), and Digital Iris (Milwaukee). 

Job Titles

Employers

  • 3D Artist
  • 3D Building and Environment Modeler
  • Interface Designer
  • 3D Artist and Animator
  • Graphic Designer
  • Product Photographer
  • Developer
  • Freelance
  • Big John Games
  • Finn Daniels Architects
  • Design Ready Controls
  • Wink Frozen Desserts
  • Find-It-Faster Online
  • Len Busch Roses
  • Pixel Spill Games

 

GDD Advisory Board

2018 GDD Advisory Board

Andrew Williams Program Director Department of Art & Art History
Dave Beck Director, School of Art and Design Department of Design
Mary Benetti Student Representative  
Ian Davis Professional in the Field ThetaREZ
Sam Herder Professional in the Field Periscope
Mark Jarman Professional in the Field PGAV Destinations
Karl Koehle Lecturer Department of Design
Jay Little Professional in the Field Independent
Kim Loken Assistant Professor Department of Design
Frank Marquart Professional in the Field Volition
Brian Pelletier Professional in the Field Human Head
Julie Peterson Associate Professor Department of Design
Dorothea Rossmeisl Professional in the Field Independent
Joshua Seaver Assistant Professor Department of Design
Lizzy Siemers Professional in the Field ADX Net
Jennifer Sly Professional in the Field Minnesota Historical Society
Megan Southwick Student Representative  

Game design programs again make top 25 in national rankings

For the sixth straight year, the game design and development programs at UW-Stout have been ranked in the top 25 in the country.
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School of Art & Design Facilities

Modern studio classrooms provide open, creative environments for learning. Extensive open studio hours allow access to these spaces outside of class periods:

  • Fine Art Studios
  • Design Studios
  • Computer Laboratories
  • Process Laboratory
  • Print Laboratory

Two galleries are housed in the School of Art and Design, a student gallery and the John Furlong Gallery. These, along with other spaces on and off campus, provide student, faculty and outside exhibition opportunities throughout the academic year.

HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE

Student Work

Our students gain experience working on real-world projects with a unique combination of art and technology.

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