Art Institutes

Visual &Game Programming

I want to bring ideas to life.

There’s a market for creative minds who have the talent and tenacity it takes to breathe life into the ideas behind video game levels, characters, and stories. Those who succeed in this competitive field are able to combine a programmer’s skills and an artist’s vision to take on both creative and technical challenges. If you think you’re ready to test yourself in that market, our Visual & Game Programming degree program is the place to start. Using industry-driven programming tools, you’ll enhance the skills you already have and develop the ones you’ll need to spark imaginations...and start a career where you do what you love. From start to finish, you’ll be surrounded and inspired by other talented, creatively driven students. And you’ll be pushed, challenged, and, above all else, supported by experienced faculty*. It’ll be intense. Demanding. All-consuming. And totally worth it.

*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty and instructors.

Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Arts in Visual & Game Programming

Quarter Credit Hours:
12 Quarters

Gainful Employment


Bachelor of Arts in Visual & Game Programming


See for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

Graduates demonstrate written and oral communication skills needed to present their work professionally, interactive communication skills essential to work as a team member, the skills to produce game design documents, and the ability to market themselves effectively.

Critical Thinking & Problem Solving
Graduates demonstrate essential skills to solve technical and conceptual problems. They can evaluate games critically and analyze computer code for correctness.

Technical Production
Graduates will demonstrate the ability to use technical programming concepts, and digital art methods in the production of gaming projects; an understanding of concepts and terminology in object-oriented programming; an ability to choose appropriate data structures and algorithms.

Quantitative Reasoning
Graduates will demonstrate knowledge of industry-specific quantitative methods required for gaming projects. They can apply algorithmic reasoning and computational theory to game design.

Graduates demonstrate the ability to analyze games based on game theory, strategy, and historical context. They are familiar with the physics of motion, light, and sound, applying the laws of physics to game design. They can apply the mathematical representations of position, motion, interaction, and shape to the representation of motion, curves and surfaces.

Professional Practice
Graduates demonstrate knowledge of the game production pipeline. They demonstrate knowledge of planning, scope, soft skills, deadlines and economics necessary to produce a market-ready interactive game from concept to final product.

Classroom Experience

I like the part about hard work and competition.

It’s not easy combining art and design skills with technical know-how. You’ll need to immerse yourself in our program, starting with the fundamentals—from design, color, and computer applications to image manipulation and cinematography. You’ll explore storyboarding and scripting techniques, build 3D models and create 2D and 3D animation. We’ll show you how to create an interactive game prototype, applying your design, production, scripting, and storyboarding skills. Then you can develop intricate design techniques for game levels, characters, objects, and weapons. You can map sophisticated textures and explore UV mapping and lighting techniques. You’ll work long hours—and you’ll find yourself challenged by other like-minded students. See our gainful employment pages for possible careers that match the program that interests you.

What Will I Study?


I want to make a name for myself. And earn a living.

The rigorous, intensely hands-on Visual & Game Programming curriculum combines traditional animation skills with the technical skills to create three-dimensional graphics animation. You’ll work with classmates on team projects as you study:

  • Interactive Experience Design
  • Programming for the Artist
  • Game Design and Game Play
  • Character and Object Design
  • Scriptwriting and Storyboarding for Games
  • Gaming Algorithms
  • Interactive Design Concepts
  • Logic and Representation
  • Physics of Motion, Light & Sound
  • Sculpture for Animators
  • Game Scripting
  • Interface Design for Games
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Developing Rich Media Applications
  • Level Design
  • Webpage Layout and Design
  • Programming for Visual Simulations
  • Interactive Game Prototyping

I'm looking for my proving ground.

At The Art Institutes system of schools, creativity is our core, our calling, our culture. Our Visual & Game Programming degree program is built on that creative foundation. It’s also built on our knowledge that a creative career is not for the faint of heart. Because it’s tough out there, it’s tough in here. But we temper the tough with the support you need to make your creativity marketable. We provide the mentoring and real-world experience you need to prevail, with faculty* who’ve worked in the field and internship possibilities at successful businesses. Here, you’ll be encouraged and expected to be bold. To take risks. To push yourself and the people around you. So if your heart is telling you that you belong in a creative field, you belong here. It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever love.

*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty and instructors.


Meet our Faculty

  • Lead Faculty of Interior Design Anne Holic

    Anne Holic

    Interior Design

    It's amazing to see students gain so much knowledge in a short amount of time. By the time they graduate they've acquired many professional skills and talents.

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    Anne Holic

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    As a child, I drew all the time. In college, I took architecture and design classes. I knew that was the perfect combination of my love for art, the humanities, and the sciences. Each interior design project is a mix of designing, drawing, working with people, and watching your idea become reality.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    I use my experience in both residential and commercial work every day, guiding students through projects. I use my contacts with the local design community to bring designers and architects in to meet students and review their work every quarter. And I’ve put together student work camps where we give back to the community by building at a Habitat for Humanity site for a day while learning about green architecture.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    In my introductory Design Basics class, I teach the elements of design: form, shape, texture, etc. The first day of class we cut open fruits and vegetables and study the elements within—then we apply the same process to architecture and design. It’s all about understanding that design is all around us.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    Our Interior Design students learn a lot from Graphic Design students and instructors. While they understand space planning and project design, the graphic input helps them learn to package and sell their designs. That collaboration is creating beautiful portfolios—and it’ll help my students sell their projects to clients down the road.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    Many of my former students have come back to thank me for teaching them about construction. In the field, designers are in contact with engineers, architects, and contractors every day. I always stress that designers must understand general construction and speak the language of the other professionals in the field.

    What’s your one piece of advice for a student embarking on a creative career?

    Students need to find where their talents lie, whether in product design, space planning, CAD detailing, client interaction, construction oversight, fabric selection, etc. There are so many opportunities if they can perfect their talents.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    It’s amazing to see students gain so much knowledge in a short amount of time. By the time they graduate they’ve acquired many professional skills and talents.

  • Lead Art Foundations Faculty Jason Axtell

    Jason Axtell

    Graphic & Web Design

    Learn all you can, whatever you can, while you can. It'll only make you more viable and resourceful—that's what employers want.

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    Jason Axtell

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    I knew early in life that drawing and painting were essential to who I was and what I wanted to do with my life. But it wasn't until my freshman year that I knew I had it in me to pursue a career in illustration and design.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    In my job, I’ve had to become very resourceful and flexible as I use traditional and digital techniques to create logo designs, illustrations, digital coloring, layouts, etc. The skills and work ethic I’ve learned help me design a course load of assignments that build upon and expand my student's knowledge and abilities.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    The one I’m best known for is my “apple” assignment. I provide a step-by-step guide to illustrating an apple in Photoshop from scratch. It forces students to take the time to understand where the tools are and how to use them. It also provides a strong basis for everything else that comes later in the class.

    How do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their perceived limits?

    On the “apple” project, for example, students who stick with it realize they have what it takes to work with this complex program.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    Art and creativity are subjective. Everyone approaches their chosen profession, discipline, and techniques in different ways. Having a class of people who are all there to learn something unique to their field helps everyone gain a broader understanding of color, drawing, and computer programs by watching how others work out a problem or assignment.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    Be punctual. You’ll earn a poor reputation in the creative community if you can’t deliver what you promise, on time. Beyond that, I encourage students to practice and learn everything they can while in school. Learn all you can, whatever you can, while you can. It’ll only make you more viable and resourceful—that’s what employers want. And learn more than just techniques and tools—learn about yourself. How do you work? What are you capable of doing?

    Anything else?

    This is the most rewarding and fulfilling job I've ever had. I inspire others and myself at the same time. I surround myself with like-minded individuals who keep me motivated, ambitious, and honest.