Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Game Development

General

Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

The MFA Game Development program allows students to further their careers by synthesizing traditional art and design fundamentals with today’s groundbreaking technologies. Students level up their skills through hands-on prototyping of game mechanics and art creation, followed by creating a thesis project and an industry-quality portfolio.

Course Description

Semester 1

  • GAM 601: Elements of Video Games
    Major / 3 Units
  • GAM 602: Game Design Principles
    Major / 3 Units
  • GAM 605: Scripting for Video Games 1
    Major / 3 Units

Semester 2

  • GAM 606: Rapid Game Development
    Major / 3 Units
  • GAM 608: Drawing Bootcamp for Games: The Human Figure
    Major / 3 Units
  • GAM 655: Scripting for Games 2
    Major / 3 Units
  • GLA 603: Anthropology: Experiencing Culture
    Graduate Liberal Arts / 3 Units / Recommended for summer
  • GLA 623: History and Techniques of Games
    Graduate Liberal Arts / 3 Units / Recommended for summer

Semester 3

  • ANM 623: 3D Modeling & Animation 1 (Maya)
    Elective / 3 Units
  • GAM 607: Action Adventure & RPG Level Design
    Major / 3 Units
  • GAM 631: Thesis Project Preparation
    Major / 3 Units

Semester 4

  • ACT 640: Movement: Creating Physical Character
    Elective / 3 Units
  • GAM 651: Prototype Game Development
    Major / 3 Units
  • GAM 778: Professional Practices & Portfolio for Game Developers
    Major / 3 Units
  • GLA 612: Writing & Research for the Master's Student
    Graduate Liberal Arts / 3 Units / Recommended for summer

Semester 5

  • GAM: Directed Study
    Directed Studies / 3 Units
  • GAM 800: Directed Study
    Directed Studies / 3 Units

Semester 6

  • GAM: Directed Study
    Directed Studies / 3 Units
  • GAM 810: Pipeline Process for Thesis
    Directed Studies / 3 Units
  • GAM 900: Internship
    Directed Studies / 3 Units

Unit Requirements

Degree Requirements

MFA Game Development Degree Requirements

  • Successful completion of the Final Thesis Project
  • Minimum grade of C in all required 63 units
  • Minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA and the following Academic Study requirement:
    • 1 Art Historical Awareness & Aesthetic Sensitivity course
    • 1 Cross-Cultural Understanding course

Academy of Art University / Academy of Art University

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduate students will meet the following student performance criteria:

MFA Thesis Project

  • Present an original thesis concept worthy of the MFA degree
  • Demonstrate the feasibility of the thesis project
  • Create a thesis project that demonstrates a professional-level achievement in the specialty

Visual Communication

  • Critically evaluate the aesthetics, meaning, and effect of imagery

Technology

  • Demonstrate mastery of the tools and technology related to the area of specialty

Presentation Skills

  • Present their ideas and solutions in a visually compelling cogent manner using industry-standard vocabulary and professional quality presentation materials

Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

  • Create project schedules and milestones and manage resources to meet project goals
  • Research and generate workable solutions under a deadline

Professional Readiness

  • Produce a professional demo reel or portfolio which meets industry standards
  • Work cooperatively and effectively in a production environment

Specialty Skills: Game & Level Design

  • Communicate abstract ideas using game design documents and 2D maps
  • Create playable games with 3D technology

Specialty Skills: Animation

  • Effectively apply the principles of animation to characters, environments/props, or VFX
  • Demonstrate continuity in visual storytelling when incorporating original animations into established game engines
  • Develop and showcase a consistent signature style

Specialty Skills: Environment Modeling

  • Translate visual research and reference to create 3D environments appropriate for the artistic style of the project
  • Model, texture and light forms in 3-dimensions that demonstrate a thorough understanding of organic, architectural, and industrial form
  • Produce assets such as buildings, vehicles, and foliage

Specialty Skills: Character Modeling

  • Sculpt, model and texture forms in 3-dimensions that demonstrate a thorough understanding of human and zoological anatomy
  • Translate visual research and reference to create 3D characters appropriate for the artistic style of the project
  • Produce assets such as humanoid characters, creatures, and props

Specialty Skills: Concept

  • Follow an industry-standard process, from thumbnails through final render to generate concept designs
  • Apply visual research to Concept art
  • Demonstrate an understanding of movement, proportion, and functionality of designs through effective orthographic or perspective drawings

Academy of Art University / Academy of Art University

Academy of Art University Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the Academy of Art University will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Produce a body of work suitable for seeking professional opportunities in their chosen field of art and design.
  2. Solve creative problems within their field of art and design, including research and synthesis of technical, aesthetic, and conceptual knowledge.
  3. Communicate their ideas professionally and connect with their intended audience using visual, oral, and written presentation skills relevant to their field.
  4. Execute technical, aesthetic, and conceptual decisions based on an understanding of art and design principles.
  5. Evaluate work in their field, including their own work, using professional terminology.
  6. Recognize the influence of major cultural and aesthetic trends, both historical and contemporary, on art and design products.
  7. Learn the professional skills and behaviors necessary to compete in the global marketplace for art and design.
Last updated Mar 2020

About the School

For nearly 90 years, artists and designers have called Academy of Art University their home. Founded in San Francisco and family owned since 1929, it is the largest private art and design university i ... Read More

For nearly 90 years, artists and designers have called Academy of Art University their home. Founded in San Francisco and family owned since 1929, it is the largest private art and design university in the nation. Read less
San Francisco