Profiles of Game Animation Programs & Schools

Our 2014 rankings of the top programs on the East Coast for game design and development.

We define the East Coast as Virginia, Rhode Island, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. 

For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

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Our 2014 list of the Top 75 Game Design/Development School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
The University of Southern California (USC) is home to USC Games. Created by the School of Cinematic Arts’ (SCA) Interactive Media & Games Division in collaboration with the Viterbi School of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science, USC Games offers several renowned graduate level game design programs and several undergraduate programs. Options include an MFA in Interactive Media, an MS in Computer Science with a Specialization in Game Development, a BA in Interactive Entertainment, and a BS in Computer Science (Games).

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Our 2014 rankings of the Top 20 schools on the West Coast for game design and development. 

We define the West Coast as California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, and Idaho. 

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Our 2014 rankings of the Top 15 game design and development programs in the Midwest.

We define the Midwest as Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota.

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Our 2014 rankings of the Top 15 schools for game design and development in the Southwest US. 

We define the Southwest as Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada.

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Our 2014 rankings of the top game design and development schools in the South. 

We define the South as Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas.

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The casual games market is booming! Jobs, particularly for 2D artists, are on the rise as the social and mobile game markets expand. While studios may seem to have a laundry list of requirements for potential art candidates, it isn’t too difficult to make an excellent impression on a prospective employer with these basic guidelines. Some of my points may seem simple or obvious, but having them covered will definitely give you a leg up on the competition.

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2K Sports

I interviewed Jerson Sapida a producer at 2K Sports who has been working on the NBA 2K series since its early years on Xbox and PS2. I asked him his thoughts on making it as a producer for a sports development studio and his career experiences.

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Mocap Suit

Sports games have been a staple of the video game industry since the birth of the home console. From Tecmo Bowl to Madden, the scale of sports games has undergone a massive change and requires very large teams to develop each iteration year after year. Gamers have come to expect their favorite sports stars and teams to look and behave exactly like their real life counterparts thanks to the power of the current generation consoles. This level of detail takes tons of resources and time, but one thing that never changes is the year time frame the game needs to be completed in. By the start of each sports season, developers need to wrap up their changes and get the game on store shelves to meet important deadlines and cash in on the excitement. Because of the unique timeframe constraints, sports game studios usually run a bit differently when compared with your average console developers that get 2 to 3 years to finish a game.

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There are many paths into game design and development, but most aspiring designers gain a foothold by beginning in Quality Assurance, commonly known as QA, where the bulk of video game testing is done. Some common questions:

What skills do you need for an entry-level Quality Assurance (QA) job? 

A good QA analyst needs to have an attention to detail to catch bugs, and the problem-solving skills to replicate these issues and to identify any relationships between errors.

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