Game Design

Still image from game design student Alexander Iveroth's The King is Dying!

Still image from game design student Alexander Iveroth's The King is Dying!

New for 2020

The University of Texas at Austin is launching a new, rich gaming curriculum for the 2020 academic year, called “The University of Texas Game Development and Design Program.” The program is a partnership between the Department of Arts and Entertainment Technologies (AET) and Computer Science (CS) and is intended for undergraduates with career interests in the gaming industry.

Newly offered classes focused specifically on game design will be offered by The Department of Arts and Entertainment Technologies, while coursework in coding for games and visualization will be offered by the Department of Computer Science. Under this joint endeavor, complementary minor degree programs to will be exclusively offered by both departments to provide a broad and comprehensive curriculum that blends instruction in computer science and design.

The Game Design Program

The Game Design and Development program offered through the Arts and Entertainment Technologies degree extends the core mission of the University and prepares students for entry level opportunities in the game industry and related fields by combining design driven hands-on experience with industry standard methods and practices. Students create presentation-ready work at all levels of study in design, art, tech, and production.

The game industry has been steadily expanding for many years. In addition to encompassing console, PC and mobile platforms, realtime interactive technology (a.k.a game engines) are increasingly used for enterprise design and visualization for architecture, automotive and filmmaking. Students will learn how to create and work with game content, design levels and game systems, as well as planning and production - all based on industry standard practices.

AET 339 Level Design

AET 339 Level Design

Faculty: MJ Johns

Creating a functional and aesthetically pleasing level using an industry standard game engine (Unity). Students create an individual level, and also a team level working in a small group. Topics covered include sketching/planning, white boxing, integrating art and sound assets, scripting simple interactions, adding particles and animation for juice.

AET 339 Game Pipeline

AET 339 Game Art Pipeline

Faculty: Michael Baker

An introduction to creating and working with game ready assets in 2D and 3D. Students will learn how to manage poly counts, create LODs, retopologize models, modify existing assets, export content from 2D and 3D authoring tools, create efficient UVs, work with realtime shaders, manage textures, work with audio, and test assets in a game engine.

AET 336 Game History

AET 336 Game History

Faculty: David Cohen

From humble beginnings in computer labs to a defining influence in popular culture, video games have led to altered laws, controversies in gender politics and minority representation, and new forms of artistic expression. In this course, students will study, analyze, and articulate ways in which video games have influenced the course of society, politics, and the arts.

AET 339 Game Building

AET 339 Building Game Worlds

Faculty: Michael Baker

In this course, students will use modular sets, props, environment tools, lighting, and VFX to create 3D game worlds based on theme and story. Emphasis is placed on production considerations, capturing sense of place through art direction, and communicating design decisions.

AET 346 Scripting and Modding

AET 346 Scripting and Modding

Faculty: MJ Johns

Beginner scripting course using C# in Unity to create functional game mechanics. Topics covered include: health and damage, key and lock, NavMesh for NPCs and Enemies, inventory systems, combat, crafting, picking up and placing objects. This course will eventually be called Scripting I and will be followed by Scripting II.

AET 339 Game Production

AET 339 Game Production

Faculty: David Cohen

An in-depth look at the "how" of making a video game. Students will identify the tools and techniques needed to break down a game into measurable components that can then be scheduled, staffed, budgeted and scopped. Students will determine which development methodologies (Agile/Scrum, Waterfall, Kanban, Spiral) are the best approach for the project type. 


What can you do with your AET degree with an emphasis in Game Design?

  • Gain the skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to be competitive in the video game job market and other fast growing fields that focusing on interactive media.
  • Apply concepts and ideas into fully realized, professional quality, interactive digital games and experiences.
  • Build virtual environments and worlds structured for intuitive and navigational user engagement.
  • Organize, schedule, budget and manage day-to-day development of a digital game production.

Selected Game Design Software

  • Game Engines: Unity and Unreal
  • Content Authoring: Adobe CC, Autodesk Entertainment Suite (Maya, Mudbox), Fusion 360, Zbrush, Substance Suite
  • Coding: Visual Studio, VS Code

Selected Game Design Hardware

  • A “gaming” PC laptop or workstation recommended. Minimum graphics: Nvidia GTX 1050Ti.
  • Mac laptop also ok, but not ideal for game development.
  • VR hardware: Vive, Daydream

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