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Game Design and Development Program

Undergraduate Multidisciplinary Program

 

Digital gaming industry is predicted to soon hit 140 billion US$ in annual worth internationally, making it one of the most exciting and fastest growing industries of the new millennium. Creative and lucrative careers draw young graduates from a variety of disciplines, as excellent employment opportunities are on the rise across the globe for artists, animators, writers, actors, sound engineers, designers and programmers with a passion for gaming.
 

With our new program (BSc) in Game Design and Development, Sarajevo School of Science and Technology (SSST) once again takes the lead in becoming the only university in the region to offer a 3-year, Bologna Certified, undergraduate degree in gaming. More than that, it offers a unique, globally competitive program, utilizing a multi-disciplinary approach that meets both the technical and the artistic challenges of this fast-paced industry.
 

The BSc program in Game Design and Development has been jointly created by the SSST’s Department of Computer Science and the Sarajevo Film Academy, and offers courses covering programming, digital animation, 2D/3D modeling, directing, storytelling, editing, cinematography for games, and other.
 

The outcome of the first academic year is a storyboard, while candidates will learn the fundamentals of game design and development. The outcome of the second year is a Beta prototype of a game, while candidates will have explored character and model creation, level design and game environment. The outcome of the final year is a fully functional computer game, ready to release. Throughout the course of the program, the students will move between disciplines – through classes in directing, cinematography, body movement, psychology of characters, interlaced with algorithms, applied programming and computer graphics – towards a singular goal, the creation of a unique world, where imagination and technical skill create a final, competitive product.

FIRST YEAR
In the first year, the emphasis is on learning the fundamentals of game design and development. The students have introductory courses in programming, game mechanics, 3D modeling, as well as basic calculus. The students will become familiar with the tools and software of game design, while getting an overview of the gaming industry, its history and its current trends. In addition, the students are taught the fundamentals of directing and cinematic narration, creative writing (storytelling), developing storyboards and learning about dramaturgical structures. The students will explore the relationships between art, literature and technology.
The knowledge gained in the first year of study will provide students with basic technical skills, but also narrative and visual literacy, helping them search for their original idea and graphic identity of their game, its universe and characters, while they develop the basic story and script of their game.

SECOND YEAR
Students are expected to produce an initial prototype of their game, working with an original game concept, script and storyboard. In developing the beta version of the game, the students are supported by courses in 2D and 3D modelling, rendering techniques, HCI, data structures and algorithms, among others. The students are taught to develop skills in project management. Students will again benefit from interdisciplinary and creative courses: from body anatomy and movement, character development, acting and action analysis, to cinematography for games. Students will be taught to distinguish and move between various components of graphic design such as architecture, space, objects, composition, and lighting.
The faculty brings together lecturers and experts from medical sciences, film art, philosophy and sociology, in addition to professors of computer sciences and information systems.

THIRD YEAR
Third year students will be capable of utilizing knowledge of game design, the understanding of game business and development practices in putting together their final project (documentation, presentation, portfolio). The students will have the opportunity to present their game (project and demo) to peers and industry professionals, gaining feedback and exploring employment opportunities through networking. A major requirement in the third year is for students to complete a practical internship, professionally fine-tuning the skills acquired in second year.
The final year of the program is devoted to applying all acquired knowledge and taking the beta version of the game to full release.
 

semester 1

  • FOUNDATIONS OF GAME DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT (3 ECTS)
  • ANALYSIS, THEORY, CRITICISM (2 ECTS)
  • PROGRAMMING AND PROBLEM SOLVING (8 ECTS)
  • BASICS OF DIRECTING (ECTS 5)
  • STORYTELLING AND DRAMATURGY (ECTS 4)
  • CREATIVE WRITING (ECTS 3)
  • CALCULUS (MATH FOR GAME DESIGNING) (ECTS 5)

semester 2

  • PROGRAMMING AND PROBLEM SOLVING (ECTS 8)
  • ANALYSES, THEORIES, CRITICISM (ECTS 2)
  • FOUNDATIONS OF GAME MECHANICS (ECTS 2)
  • FUNDAMENTALS OF 3D MODELING (ECTS 4)
  • DIRECTING FOR GAMES (ECTS 6)
  • SCRIPTWRITING (ECTS 3)
  • STORYBOARD (ECTS 3)
  • HUMAN COMPUTER INTERACTION (ECTS 2)

semester 3

  • DATA STRUCTURE AND ALGORITHMS (ECTS 8)
  • 2D AND 3D ANIMATION TECHNIQUES (FROM REALISM TO CARTOON) (ECTS 4)
  • GAMING INDUSTRY – PRACTICES (ECTS 4)
  • BODY ANATOMY AND MOVEMENT (ECTS 2)
  • CHARACTER CREATION AND DEVELOPMENT (ECTS 4)
  • CHARACTER MODELING AND ANIMATION (ECTS 4)
  • GAME ENVIRONMENT (ARCHITECTURAL, SPACE, LIGHTING) (ECTS 4)

semester 4

  • APPLIED PROGRAMMING (ECTS 8)
  • LEVEL DESIGN (ECTS 3)
  • RENDERING TECHNIQUES (ECTS 4)
  • SOUND DESIGN AND SPECIAL EFFECTS (ECTS 3)
  • ACTING AND ACTION ANALYSES (ECTS 3)
  • CINEMATOGRAPHY FOR GAMES (ECTS 4)
  • PROJECT MANAGEMENT (ECTS 5)

semester 5

  • VIRTUAL REALITY (VR) (ECTS 8)
  • ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) (ECTS 8)
  • GAME PRODUCTION (ECTS 8)
  • FINAL PROJECT (THESIS WORK) (ECTS 6)

semester 6

  • INTERNSHIP (ECTS 15)
  • FINAL PROJECT (THESIS WORK) (ECTS 15)
FIRST YEAR
Semester 1

FOUNDATIONS OF GAME DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT (ECTS 3)

This introductory course provides knowledge about the basic of game creation and an overview of different aspects of game development. Student will be introduced toGUI games on various platform with graphics, dialog boxes, and user control. The course also provides a basic overview of topics including game architecture, interface design, graphics for game, sound for game, prototyping and play testing. By the end of the course, students will be able to understand the complete flow of game development, andbe prepared toimplement their creative gaming idea by using the latest gaming tools which are easy and readily usable.

ANALYSES, THEORIES, CRITICISM (ECTS 2)

This two-semester course is created to give students a stimulating and interactive overview of major movements in art history, literature, politics and philosophy. The students will learn to recognize and interpret trends, symbols and narratives, examining the origins of modern thought and beliefs.
In the first semester, the students will take a closer look at 21st century dystopian literature, classical thinkers, and art movements from ancient art to Renaissance.
Throughout, the students will be motivated to examine and further develop their own aesthetics and hone their critical thought. The course aims to be a source of ideas and inspiration in both recognizing and creating realities beyond our own.

PROGRAMMING AND PROBLEM SOLVING (ECTS 8)

As an engineering tool, programming plays a vital role in driving most of the modern technologies surrounding us, including entertainment. Game designers know several programming languages in order to accommodate writing code for many different game platforms. The main aim of the module is to introduce students to the art of programming, as well as other means of using a computer to solve problems. Lectures build upon this basis to provide basic programming knowledge in C++ programming language. Laboratory work and programming assignments are an integral part of the course.

BASICS OF DIRECTING (ECTS 5)

An introduction to all the main aspects of directing is combined with practical exercises in shooting moving images. The course gives an overview and experience of the basics of directing, providing practical knowledge enabling students to direct a scene. The course provides understanding of shot descriptions, framing and composition required for game design. Students will be guided through the process of preparing a shoot and will film short scenes showcasing their knowledge acquired throughout the course.

STORYTELLING AND DRAMATURGY (ECTS 4)

Game designers must have an active imagination in order to create a story that is engaging and well-paced, but not confusing. The course introduces the craft of storytelling and dramaturgy as preparation for game storyline design. Students will discover what makes a game appealing to different audiences and learn how to make sure that the story elements work with design choices. Contemporary games are not limited by the storytelling constraints of one medium. This course examines how different media can be used as part of a unified story strategy that leverages the strengths of each, while capitalizing on the potential of the whole.

CREATIVE WRITING (ECTS 3)

Game designers must be able to speak and write in a clear, concise manner in order to express their ideas to the rest of the team working on the game development. Students learn how to create creative, yet clear scenarios for a game. The course helps students develop their own creativity while exploring different genres of writing. It aims to provide a solid ground in all aspects of creative writing, the principles of narrative and the importance of reading and writing in the contemporary world. Students will learn how best to use these skills to develop their range of expression, critical evaluation and presentation, all of which will expand their learning and imaginative thinking.

CALCULUS (MATH FOR GAME DESIGNING) (ECTS 5)

Mathematics are at the foundation of all computer programs. During this course, students learn fundamental mathematical concepts and how to overcome many common programming obstacles by knowing commonly used math techniques. It familiarizes students with mathematical concepts that are central to disciplines such as logic, sets, proofs, and graphs. The course covers staple topics in calculus and analysis, which include limits and continuity, differentiation and applications, integration and techniques of integration. The students are taught formal definitions as well as statements and simpler proofs of some classical theorems, with the majority of time spent on solving problems and developing problem solving techniques.

Semester 2

PROGRAMMING AND PROBLEM SOLVING (ECTS 8)

The course rounds up additional technical skills and knowledge that can help students with their final projects and beyond. The main aim of the course is to introduce the more advanced style of programming, including application of modern programming style for solving problems using a computer. Lectures build upon this basis to provide intermediate to advanced programming knowledge in C++ programming language, as well as advanced topics pertinent to game development. Laboratory work and programming assignments are an integral part of this module.

ANALYSES, THEORIES, CRITICISM (ECTS 2)

This two-semester course is created to give candidates a stimulating and interactive overview of major movements in art history, literature, politics and philosophy. The students will learn to recognize and interpret trends, symbols and narratives, examining the origins of modern thought and beliefs. In the second semester, the students will focus on the short story format, early thinkers (intro to sociology), and modern to contemporary art. Throughout, the students will be motivated to examine and further develop their own aesthetics and hone their critical thought. The course aims to be a source of ideas and inspiration in both recognizing and creating realities beyond our own.

FOUNDATIONS OF GAME MECHANICS (ECTS 2)

Game mechanics are the vital components of a game. The course will provide introduction to an array of game mechanics that can be employed in order to make the game more fun and exciting for the players. Aside of introduction to different game mechanics, students will learn how to choose the right one and implement it so that it contributes to and enhances the experience from a player’s perspective.

FUNDAMENTALS OF 3D MODELING (ECTS 4)

This course explores the basic of 3D modelling in the current most popular and most frequently used software. Initially, students will focus on basic modeling tools and interface customization through creating a few simple 3D models. Later, they will create high-resolution 3D models and learn how to reduce them to be suitable for import into available game engines. The course will also cover basic tools and methodologies of texturing.

DIRECTING FOR GAMES (ECTS 6)

Students will learn the basic of film directing relevant to game creation. Film directing requires both a specific point of view (and aesthetic) and technical skills to achieve it. This course introduces students to the skills and tasks associated with directing in video games. Emphasis is placed on developing the ability for creative visualization and communicating the vision successfully to others. Skills explored include script analysis and shot composition.

SCRIPTWRITING (ECTS 3)

Building on the fundamental theories of story structure and scriptwriting principles, students are taught to develop the essential blocks of their story. The course will help students in understanding the deep and varied aspects of interactive digital storytelling, as well as enable them to think critically about narrative decisions and how these decisions interact with design choices. Classes focus on dramaturgy, conflict, character vs. characterization, backstory and dialogue.

STORYBOARD (ECTS 3)

Storyboards are set up by game designers in order to illustrate to the rest of the team how the story will proceed visually. The storyboard is a visual outline of the game and acts as a blueprint for the programmers and animators to follow. Through the course, students learn different techniques for visual storytelling and are taught how to compose and draw their own storyboards. Exercises are conducted to help students generate ideas and learn methods used in story boarding, depending on actions present in the game. The assignments will help students build a starter portfolio and equip them with the basics for creating their own game stories.

HUMAN COMPUTER INTERACTION (ECTS 2)

This course aims to introduce students to the fundamental concepts and principles of human-computer interaction (HCI). HCI is an interdisciplinary field that integrates theories and methodologies from computer science, cognitive psychology, design, and other areas. In particular, it ensures students gain knowledge of all key features and techniques essential for the design process and how these are applied to different types of systems, users and contexts. Students will carry out an individual project practically demonstrating knowledge of the theoretical underpinnings of understanding requirements, designing and evaluating interactive products, services and experiences.

SECOND YEAR
Semester 3

DATA STRUCTURE AND ALGORITHMS (ECTS 8)

The course introduces students to fundamental data structures and basic performance measures, analysis and design of computer algorithms. Both the theoretical and programming underpinnings of data structures are taught, as well as main applications and usage scenarios.The course emphasizes the connections between mathematical analysis and programming aspects of data structures and how they affect performance.Presented with a computational problem, the students will be able to suggest the right data structure to solve it.Students will be able to analyze the asymptotic performance of algorithms, apply important algorithmic paradigms to problems at hand, and use algorithms in real-life engineering situations.

2D AND 3D ANIMATION TECHNIQUES (FROM REALISM TO CARTOON) (ECTS 4)

The process of creating both 2D and 3D animations typically begins the same way, from the storyboard. Once the storyboard is done, the animatic stage begins, moving the images into appropriate animation software – which is then different for 2D and 3D. It is important to have a clear vision of the final video a student wishes to create and the goals student wishes to achieve, as they will significantly influence the decision to create 2D and/or 3D animation. The course will cover theoretical concepts, tools and techniques that will help students in their creation process.

GAMING INDUSTRY PRACTICES (ECTS 4)

The course provides introduction to gaming industry and its practices. Understanding different business approaches to game making is crucial and students will learn how games are supported through models such as self-funding, crowd funding and more.

BODY ANATOMY AND MOVEMENT (ECTS 2)

Students learn about the mechanics of the human body and its movement, useful both for designing realistic action and interpreting non-verbal cues. The course proposes that a basic understanding of anatomy is vital to the practice of game art. Students will receive introduction to general anatomical and biological principles that help them understand and design variations in shape and size of human bodies and faces, as well as to understand how audiences perceive these differences. Students will handle generalized concepts and develop an understanding of archetypes. They will learn which body features they need to be aware of when designing their characters and their actions in order to solicit emotion and distinguish between positive and negative caricature.

CHARACTER CREATION AND DEVELOPMENT (ECTS 4)

Creating a game story involves more than an introduction, narrative plot, and conclusion. Game designers must create different characters which are both interesting and relatable. Students learn how to create and develop both the main characters (the hero or heroine) as well as supporting characters. Students learn different stages of character development, ranging from psychological aspects to physical appearance and costume. Special abilities, weapons, acquisition of skills and powers through game progression are all examined from the perspective of coherent character development. Students will also learn how to develop the non-player characters (NPCs), including their skills and attributes, and the reaction to the main character.

CHARACTER MODELING AND ANIMATION (ECTS 4)

The course focuses on the modelling and animation skills required to build characters. Students learn about character modeling techniques, gaining ability to create 3D characters. Advanced animation techniquesare presented, so that the students can add movement and animation to designed and modeled characters.

GAME ENVIRONMENT (ARCHITECTURAL, SPACE, LIGHTING) (ECTS 4)

With game levels spanning different environments, an understanding of set design is needed to enhance the game experience. The students will learn about different types of environments, their characteristics and how they communicate to the player. Among other, the students will examine the advantages and disadvantages of various venues, symbolism in architecture and various environments, as well as the effects of lighting design.

Semester 4

APPLIED PROGRAMMING (ECTS 8)

Throughout the course, students will learn core-programming concepts that apply to different programming languages and how to apply those concepts when developing games. Incorporating 3D interactive graphics including modeling, animation, transformations, lighting, shaders, ray casting, and other, will all be covered by the course. Students will also be able to write gameplay code, event-driven programming, code that allows high level control of gameplay behavior, movement, and events, as well as to simulate the physics principles of gravity and collision detection.

LEVEL DESIGN (ECTS 3)

The course continues to expand students’ understanding of game requirements with a focus on constructing a playable level. Students learn how to manage game scenario, define the character’s path and the ramifications of the scenario. The best practices and processes for designing and constructing levels for different game genres are introduced. By the end of the course, students have practical experience and develop their own approach to building game levels.

RENDERING TECHNIQUES (ECTS 4)

This course is designed to teach students techniques and algorithms used in modern real-time rendering and film rendering. Students will make use of a modern rendering API, such as OpenGL, to learn GPU shader programming and the various lighting and rendering pipelines commonly used in the industry today. Other cutting-edge GPU-related technologies are explored. The students will also be introduced to the concept and importance of visual perception and its impact on the choice of rendering techniques.

SOUND DESIGN AND SPECIAL EFFECTS (ECTS 3)

A key component of game experience, the course introduces basic aspects of sound design for games. Students will cover the topics of sound effects, game voices, soundtracks and music selection. Methodologies in conveying a desired mood through sound will be examined, as well as choosing music that elevates rather than distracts from play. Through practical exercises, students will be presented with different methods of sound design and examples of realistic sound effects.

ACTING AND ACTION ANALYSES (ECTS 3)

A successful game design is one where game characters are brought to life, their creators making them move, feel, breathe. During the course, students are introduced to fundamental and advanced acting theories and techniques for both human and non-human characters in order to enhance their feel and performance. Student will learn to utilize particular aspects of acting, movement, and rhythm, in order to create unique characters, distinguish between different character roles, the adjustments and thinking processes behind them. The objective is to provide an understanding on how to make a character unique, distinguishable from others in thinking, action, personality and emotion they entice from the player.

CINEMATOGRAPHY FOR GAMES (ECTS 4)

This hands-on course introduces game designers to the tools and techniques of cinematography that can be applied to game design. The course provides a comprehensive overview of camera operation, sound and lighting techniques, lenses and aesthetic principles. Demonstrations and lectures on cameras, camera movement and other areas are combined with practical experience, where each student writes a cinematic treatment for their game.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT (ECTS 5)

The development of games is not only about creativity, technical, and artistic elements; it also has diverse organizational and business aspects. The main aim of the course is to develop competencies and skills in planning, executing and controlling outcomes. Students will be able to define key aspects that should be determined before starting the project, including: project charter, schedules, risks, and team resources. The course guides students through fundamental project management tools and behavioral skills necessary to successfully launch, lead, and realize projects.

THIRD YEAR
Semester 5

VIRTUAL REALITY (VR) (ECTS 8)

The course is designed to introduce the principles of VR technology including optics, displays, stereopsis, tracking, and major hardware platforms, widely used in games. Students will learn the basic history of VR development, understand the physical principles of VR and how comfort and presence play a role in VR. The course will cover topics such as the increasingly diverse applications for VR, from native advertising through game engines and web platforms.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) (ECTS 8)

Students learn techniques for designing intelligent and lifelike behaviors in characters in order to provide realism, as well as computer opponents with ability to challenge players even after repeated gameplay. This course introduces many of the core concepts behind the use of Artificial Intelligence in video games. Students will explore decision-making techniques such as Finite State Machines and Behavior Trees, along with locomotion techniques such as Steering Behaviors and Pathfinding techniques for finding ways around a level.

GAME PRODUCTION (ECTS 8)

The course is designed to enable students to combine components of game development towards the final product. On one side, the students will build on the knowledge acquired through the Project Management course from the previous academic year, by addressing the requirements of the preproduction cycle, such as team building, scheduling, documentation, fast prototyping and concept creation of their own game. On the other side, they will also acquire knowledge in managing audio/video data through practical tutorials. Students learn how to use industry standard software for the realization of their final project.

FINAL PROJECT (THESIS WORK) (ECTS 6)

During the first semester, students will be required to complete a game proposal using set templates, as well as a draft storyline of their game. Students will have consultations with professors and industry professionals in embarking on the realization of their final projects.

Semester 6

INTERNSHIP (ECTS 15)

Through an internship in a game development studios, students gain experience in the industry and prepare for securing their first job position. The internship guides students through the process of company research, networking, résumé preparation and interview techniques. The internship allows students to showcase their artistic and technical progress and enhance their skills while being introduced to the current practices in working environment of gaming studios. At the conclusion of this course, students should have several first interviews arranged with local or regional game development studios.

FINAL PROJECT (THESIS WORK) (ECTS 15)

During the final semester, students will complete the final project, games in genres and style of their choice, in consultation with mentors. During this process, students will develop a game and its experimental gameplay prototype. Students will have the consultations and support of industry professionals in realization of their final projects.
 
The entrance exam for the multidisciplinary program in Game Design and Development is consisted of:
  1. English language test
  2. Math and logics test
  3. Synopsis of an idea for an original video game
  4. Storyboard
  5. Interview.
     
1. English Language Test
In order to follow courses and coursework at University SSST, candidates must have an adequate knowledge of English language. The English entrance test, with a pass mark of 61%, is a requirement for all candidates. HERE you can find the English Language Entrance Exam Guide and English Language Examination samples

2. Mathematics and Logics Test
The entrance exam consists of 10 questions. Five questions are related to a pure mathematical field including: algebraic expressions, linear functions and equations, the application of linear equations, probability theory, and linear equationsystems. The remaining five problems will relate to the following areas of logical thinking: logical reasoning, pattern completion, analytical reasoning, and number puzzle (table). The entrance exam in Mathematics and Logics, with a pass mark of 51%, is a requirement for all candidates.

3. Synopsis of an idea for an original video game
The candidates are required to submit a written synopsis of an idea for an original video game they want to design and develop. The synopsis should be in the range of 300 words minimum to 700 words maximum, and may include some of the following elements:
  1. a summary of the storyline
  2. explanation of the core idea and motivational background
  3. description of visual style/language/game environment
  4. description of leading character(s)
  5. game platform
  6. literary/graphic novel/philosophical or other references (if applicable).
     
4. Storyboard
The candidates are required to submit a storyboard of minimum 12 to maximum 30 panels, showing a visual and narrative progression of a representative scene from the game story. Points 3 and 4 should be submitted prior to the entrance examination by sending it to the email address gaming@ssst.edu.ba or at the entrance examination at the University SSST.

5. Interview
Candidates may also be asked to come in for an interview with a course professor and/or University administration, following the complication of entrance examination and submission of all required documentation. Candidates will be contacted via phone or email to schedule the interview date and time.
 
Please fill out and submit the Application Form for Undergraduate Studies. Please make sure to fill in all the required sections of the Application Form.

For all additional questions, please contact the SSST Registry Office. For further details on the multidisciplinary program Game Design and Development, please contact us at gaming@ssst.edu.ba or via telephone + 387 33 975 060/002.
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