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Courses | B.A. in Game Design and Interactive Media

Below are some of the courses you’ll have an opportunity to take as a student in this program. Take a look at the list below to get an idea of the types of available courses. Also, be sure to review core curriculum requirements and the official program requirements in the Biola University catalog.

Note: This list is intended to give you a quick glimpse into the program’s academic offerings, and should not be used as a guide for course selection or academic advising.

Program Courses

An introduction to the building blocks of storytelling: character, setting and plot. Students will read and study the steps of the Hero's Journey as used in current Hollywood films. They will analyze story structure, write short stories and create film ideas and short screenplays. Special emphasis will be given to the history, art and aesthetics of storytelling. Grade Mode: A.

Through an introduction to the building blocks of visual storytelling, students will learn to use film grammar to tell their stories effectively. Special emphasis will be given to lighting, color, shape, line, and space. Grade Mode: A.

An exploration of the history of digital games and the technology that supports them. Students will play and critically analyze games from different eras and genres, while exploring the underlying hardware and software, and learning the stories of the designers and game companies involved.

A comprehensive introduction to the basic components and principles of game design and game play. The course includes mechanics, system dynamics, dramatic elements, level design, and user expectations experience. Students design and playtest several original game ideas through iterative physical prototypes. Grade Mode: A.

Introduction to the techniques of storytelling across multiple emerging technology platforms and formats such as streaming on YouTube and virtual reality. Explores the history and convergence of the Internet with personal computers. Topics include web design, media streaming, small screen production, apps for smartphones, graphic design, interactivity, augmented reality, audio and video formats for new media; computer hardware, operating systems, networking and content management systems. Grade Mode: A.

Building on game design concepts learned in Fundamentals, this course focuses on creating digital prototypes in order to develop a design suitable for production in the advanced course. Topics include game balancing, control schemes, and testing for completeness and accessibility. This course also continues to explore how to design story and game mechanics that convey a Christian worldview

This course takes general game design concepts learned in Fundamentals and applies them to game levels. Like scenes in a movie, game levels define the individual moments where gameplay and story unfold. Topics include teaching the player how to play, emotional feedback systems, puzzle design, modular design, and parallels to architecture and theme park design.

An exploration of how storytelling acts as a vital mechanism for driving gameplay forward to tell emotionally-resonant stories using the medium of digital games. Relevant story-driven games will be analyzed, and techniques such as branching narratives, procedural stories, and environmental storytelling will be discussed. Students will create a design document for a game that tells a story. Grade Mode: A.

This course focuses on level design for video games using a professional game development framework. Students learn components of a successful interactive environment. Course modules include level building, materials, theme, mood, texturing, modeling, lighting, terrain, optimization, cut-scenes, animation, visual effects, streaming, responsiveness to player actions and testing. Grade Mode: A.

Working from a design document created in the intermediate course, students will develop a complete game or game level, suitable for submission to game festivals. Special emphasis will be placed on learning and using an iterative production process such as Agile Scrum.

A real-world learning experience beyond the university classroom. The focus is working in a media-related organization such as a production company, network, studio or media ministry. This course will test students' commitment, aptitude and stamina for work within the entertainment industry. Includes on-campus sessions designed to strengthen and expand professional skills. Notes: Sixty hours of internship is required for each academic credit. May be taken multiple times for a maximum of 6 credits. Grade Mode: A.

Student creates a capstone project with advice and guidance from faculty. The project will represent the student's highest achievement in media creation. Projects can include scripts, recordings, films, and other emerging media. Projects premiere publicly at the end of the semester. Grade Mode: A.

A rotating variety of topics and production experiences often employing special guests from within the media industries. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, Fund Raising, Event Planning, Visual Effects, Audio Recording, Cinematography, Production Design, the Sundance Film Festival, the City of the Angels Film Festival, the Biola Media Conference. Notes: May be taken multiple times. Grade Mode: A.

Fundamental concepts of computers and programming, focusing on the algorithmic aspect of quantitative reasoning in computer programming. Basic programming skills for writing small programs to accomplish useful tasks for modeling, information processing, and problem solving. No prior programming experiences are assumed. Notes: Approved for Core Curriculum Math credit. May not be counted toward the major. Grade Mode: A.

Introduction to computer hardware and software. Problem solving methods. Elementary concepts of algorithm development. C++ programming. Lecture/Lab Hours: Three hours lecture, one hour lab. Grade Mode: A.


A foundational course devoted to examining, exploring, and applying two-dimensional design concepts, including color theory and composition. Notes: Approved for Core Curriculum Fine Arts credit. Grade Mode: A.
A foundational course examining, exploring, and applying design concepts as they relate to time (the fourth dimension) and time-based artworks including focused studies in installation art, performance art, and video. Notes: Approved for Core Curriculum Fine Arts credit. Grade Mode: A.
Students develop methods of visual communication that draw on the cumulative experience of 2-D, 3-D, and 4-D coursework. Through the use of digital/analog tools and readings related to the current discourse, students explore the process of design and communication. Grade Mode: A.
Interdisciplinary studio exploration in analog and digital animation. Course focuses on experimental and theoretical movement, and choreography systems investigating culture and identity. Grade Mode: A.
Exploration of new media art including formal, conceptual, and narrative approaches. Emphasis on the use of new media as creative tools for personal expression. Notes: Students are recommended to provide their own video cameras. Grade Mode: A.
Advanced studio exploration in new media art. Emphasis placed on the history of video and film art. Notes: Students are recommended to provide their own video cameras. Grade Mode: A.

A survey of the major mass media: film, television, music, print, radio, Internet and others. Includes history, growth, societal, business practices, legal and technological aspects of each. Includes individual considerations for the influence, world views expressed, and integration within mass media. Notes: Open to non-CNMA majors with departmental permission. Grade Mode: A.

An introductory course to the art of writing for film and television. Includes emphasis on structure, especially the hero's journey, archetypes, genre and story outline. Students will develop a detailed treatment before creating a feature screenplay. Grade Mode: A.
A survey of current industry practices and careers in film, television, music and emerging technologies. Students will learn to research and analyze the career and business choices of current professionals in the industry and create long-term strategies for entering into and succeeding in the entertainment business. Special emphasis will be given to the unique ethical questions and biblical applications that arise within the Hollywood context. Grade Mode: A.
Covers the budgeting and scheduling necessary for media production. Students learn the parameters considered in making decisions to balance the creative goals and logistical demands of production. Matters of insurance; deal negotiation; contracts; union rules (including SAG-AFTRA, DGA, IATSE) copyright and clearance issues; management of crew; liaison difficulties with studios, clients and outside publics; and other issues will be covered. Evaluation of students' understanding will be based on a budget and schedule for a one hour single camera drama they will be required to complete, as well as pertinent test and quizzes. Grade Mode: A.

An introduction to the theory and practice of storytelling with sound. Topics include physics, acoustics and psychoacoustics of sound, field and studio sound recording, multi-track mixing and editing, Foley, automatic dialog replacement, and sound effects as applied to film, television, games, recording arts and other media.

This course will cover the effect of visual media on society and the noticeable absence of learning the grammar of visual language within the educational process. Instead of relegating the study of media to a simple inoculation against negative images, this course seeks to understand and celebrate the quite human process of media creation and consumption with the hope of restoring agency to the audience and accountability to the creator. Grade Mode: A.
Study of theoretical approaches to the First Amendment as well as specific areas of concern to professional journalists such as defamation, privacy, fair trial, obscenity, copyright, shield laws, sunshine laws, etc. Exploration of applied professional ethics and contemporary professional issues of ethics for media professionals. Grade Mode: A.
This is the capstone integration course covering what a Christian film is and what makes a Christian filmmaker. Films will be analyzed and discussed to understand how God's truth can be seen in films regardless of who creates them. Grade Mode: A.
Linear lists, strings, arrays and orthogonal lists; graphs, trees, binary trees, multi-linked structures, searching and sorting techniques, dynamic storage allocation; applications. Grade Mode: A.

Topics are selected from the following:

  • Compilers and Languages: Development of key compiler components based on the theory of automata and formal languages. Systems Programming: Development of utilities and shell scripts for Unix system administration.
  • Theory of Computation: Computational models for algorithmic design, complexity analysis, and problem solving in selected domains.
  • Computer Graphics: Design and implementation of 3D computer interactive graphics.
  • Artificial Intelligence: Computational frameworks for knowledge representation, automatic reasoning, probabilistic modeling, and machine learning.
  • Information Security: Concepts and techniques about cybersecurity and its implementation.

Notes: Course may be taken multiple times for credit with different content. Grade Mode: A.

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