Games and Simulation Certificate

About the Program

The UArizona's iSchool Games and Simulation certificate will service a diverse student population, training both 1) technically-minded students the nuances associated with effectively modeling real and imaginary settings, and 2) less technically-minded students the basic skills necessary for making ideas come to life in a digital space.

The Game and Simulation certificate will provide undergraduate students with the design and development skills necessary to create virtual interactive environments that span across devices and platforms. The certificate will provide students with the real-world skills and experience needed for successful game design, and will signal to employers that students have dedicated the time and energy necessary to build fluency with concepts that underlie virtual world development. 

Learning Outcomes

In completing the certificate, students will be able to identify the majority of known game genres and several games belonging to each genre, as well as the fundamental components of a game, understand the design issues inherent in different types of games and thoughtfully critique others’ game designs and design games from different genres, demonstrated by several working prototypes.

In addition, students will be able to clearly communicate game designs both orally to an audience and in the form of written documentation, gain familiarity with the field of game studies and the game design industry, develop intentional cross-cultural connections and relationships with others in game studies to develop digital games.

Required Courses

  • Complete 2 courses (6 units)

This course provides an introduction to game design and teaches students the fundamental concepts for creating games. Students will survey many different games, exploring the issues game designers face when designing games in different genres. Students will participate in a series of game design challenges and will be responsible for designing and prototyping simple games using a game building tool. Students will present their solutions to these challenges in front of the class for general discussion and constructive criticism.

This course provides an introduction to video game development. We will explore game design (not just computer games, but all games) and continue with an examination of game prototyping. Once we have working prototypes, we will continue with the development of a complete 2D computer game. The remaining course topics include: designing the game engine, rendering the graphics to the screen, and artificial intelligence. Students will be given periodic homework that reinforces what was learned in class. Homework will include developing a game prototype, game design documentation, some programming tasks. Students will work in small teams to develop a working game as a term project. Grades will be primarily based on the term project with some small amount of weight to homework. The examples provided in class will be programmed in Java and available for execution on any operating system. Programming homework assignments will be done in either Java or the language chosen by the instructor. The term project can be written in any programming language with instructor permission.

Elective Courses

  • Complete 2 courses (6 units)

This course will lay a foundation for understanding how stories shape communities, identities, memories, and perspectives on our lives. In addition, this course will provide opportunities for the theoretical analysis of self representation, composite narratives on behalf of others, cultural heritage, and memories as they are preserved and performed within stories and through narrative. Influences on digital digital storytelling such as the sociocultural context, the institutional contexts of production the audience, and the needs or goals of the digital storyteller will be examined. Students will be required to call on their own intellectual, emotional, and imaginative processes, as well as to develop their own skills in digital storytelling, interviewing, oral history collection, and the use of relevant digital storytelling tools.

This course examines the ways in which computing and information science support and facilitate the production and creation of art in current society. A particular focus of the course will be to discuss how artists have used advances in technology and computing capacity to explore new ways of making art, and to investigate the relationships between technical innovation and the artistic process. This class satisfies a Tier II: Arts General Education Requirement. Alternatively, this class can be applied towards the ISTA BA/BS and ISTA minor. Tier II Gen-eds can be double-dipped with a minor but not a major. 

This course will provide the student with the information and experience necessary for the creation and manipulation of digital audio. Students will have the opportunity to experience the music-making process with the technology tools and techniques that are common in both home and professional studios. The class will make use of a variety of software packages designed for contemporary music production, explaining the universal techniques and concepts that run through all major software programs. Topics will include musical analysis, MIDI control, synthesis techniques, audio editing, and audio mixing. Lab assignments will emphasize hands-on experience working with musical hardware and software to provide the necessary skills to create music based on today's musical styles. The course provides the foundation for further study, creative applications, and personal expression.

Virtual reality (VR) is an emerging technology that has recently been widely used in various areas, such as education, training, well-being, and entertainment. VR offers a highly immersive experience as the head mounted displays surround a 360-degree view of the user. It encompasses many disciplines, such as computer science, human computer interaction, game design and development, information science, and psychology. This course merges a theoretical and practical approach to give students the necessary knowledge that is required to design, develop, and critique virtual reality games and applications.

Algorithms are a crucial component of game development. This course will provide students with an in-depth introduction to algorithm concepts for game development. The course will cover basic algorithm and data structures concepts, basic math concepts related to game algorithms, physics and artificial intelligence based game algorithms that are supplemented with modern examples. Unity Game Engine along with C# programming language will be used throughout the class.

Transfer Units

Up to 6 units may be shared with a degree requirement (major, minor, General Education) or second certificate.