Game Animation Design

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The MS in Game Animation Design focuses on conceptual skills and the mastering of new technologies based on a strong foundation of traditional drawing, painting and storytelling. The program allows students to further their careers by synthesizing traditional art and design fundamentals with today’s ground-breaking technologies. Students enhance their skills through hands-on prototyping of game mechanics and art creation, followed by creating a thesis project and an industry-quality portfolio. The program provides a well rounded education in the use of animation, 3D and interactive design, so that students can develop their multimedia capabilities to design and build interactive products and casual games.

Program Length: 2 years or less, depending on course load.

 YR 1 (Suggested) YR 2 (Suggested) 
Required Core CoursesAGD501
Game Art TrackAGD503
Game Technology TrackAGD506
Game Special Efficacy TrackElective

I. All candidates must:
  1. Complete an application and pay a $50 application fee.
  2. Provide a degree from an accredited institution. Send official transcripts of all previous baccalaureate degrees. Official Transcripts of graduate study (if applicable).
  3. An overall undergraduate CGPA of 2.0 on a 4.00 scale.
  4. Submit a letter of intent describing your desire and interest in pursuing the MAGD degree, including why you think you have the qualifications to be successful in the program, and a resume. The purpose of the letter of intent is to demonstrate your preparedness for success in the MAGD program.
  5. Submit an updated resume.
II. International Applicants must meet the following requirements:
  1. Must comply with all criteria mentioned above.
  2. Send official transcripts of all post-secondary institutions – must have non-US academic degrees evaluated on a COURSE-BY-COURSE basis by an evaluator approved by NACES.
  3. Guarantor’s Statement (PDF) with supporting financial documents from a financial institution with current U.S. dollars exchange rates.
  4. The official score report of either TOEFL or IELTS English proficiency exam. The minimum score required is TOEFL (IBT) = 75, TOEFL (PBT) = 550, TOEFL (CBT) = 193, or IELTS = 6.5.Additional options to meet English proficiency requirements
    • Submission of a post-secondary transcript verifying completion of 8 semester-credit hours of baccalaureate-level (excluding remedial or developmental) courses with at least a B (80 percent) average from an institution in which the language of instruction was English.
    • Successful completion of an approved external Intensive English Program.
    • Submission of documents demonstrating successful completion of an Athena University recognized, intermediate-level English as a Second Language (ESL) course.
    • Completion with a grade of B (80%) or higher of two or more baccalaureate-level English writing or composition courses from an Athena University recognized, post-secondary institution or community college.
    • Transfer from an accredited college or university in the United States with a grade of B or higher in ENG 101 completed within the previous three years before admission to Athena University.

If you want to get started on the application or want more information about Athena University, contact us at or call 1-800-806-4711.

AGD5013Elements of Games
This course will provide an overview of professional practices and techniques of video games utilizing lecture and demonstration. Industry development practices are discussed and contrasts made between large and small companies, genres and types of games. Students will create their own game design document based on lectures and assignments. 3 Credits
AGD5033Modeling for Games
In this course, students have their first overview of art production methods for 3D games. Concepts introduced include real-time rendering specs, polygons, vertices, UV mapping, and texture creation techniques. Assignments will give students experience in designing and modeling environments and characters to game specifications. 3 Credits
AGD5043Visual Development for Games
Students will develop and demonstrate their understanding of visual language, drawing and digital painting skills to create designs and asset model packs which are ready for 3D modeling production. This class builds on core drawing and color skills, providing a venue to apply key skills to game-specific subjects. 3 Credits
AGD505 3Environment Art Production for Games
This course will introduce students to the various techniques and processes needed to create real time environments for games. The class will discuss the language, tools, and aesthetic guidelines needed to create industry ready assets and environments. Supporting a narrative through the environment will be a focus of this course. 3 Credits
AGD506 3Scripting for Video Games
This course is intended for students who wish to focus on level design or game design. This course introduces player interaction and events in video games using C# and game engines. Students will learn to break down problems and systematically build solutions individually and in teams. 3 Credits
AGD5073Capstone I
Part 1 of a 3-part Capstone Project that is designed to allow students to apply their knowledge in Game Animation Design by developing a novel application under the supervision of a senior supervisor/instructor. 3 Credits Prerequisite: Graduate students who have completed AGD501
AGD5083Game Theory & Level Design
This course will cover key areas of design, including game tempo, player path, game mechanics, artificial intelligence, level editing, non-linear story, and genres. Students will participate in intense levels of study and will produce papers and projects that combine to show their skill and understanding of game principles. 3 Credits
AGD5093Rapid Game Development
In this intensive class for game designers, students learn to be effective producers by shipping games. It starts with simple titles with one-week production schedules and scales up to titles with two-week production schedules. Students are graded on game pacing, high concept, consistent art direction, and timeliness. 3 Credits
AGD51033D Modeling & Animation
This course teaches students the basic theory of computer animation with an emphasis on character development. Discussion topics include traditional animation techniques. 3 Credits
AGD51133D Character Modeling
Creating 3D character models, students will hone their skills with an understanding of real-time rendering parameters. Models will be created in high and low resolution, optimized and refined. Advanced techniques such as normal mapping will be taught. Essential skeletal setups, rigs and different texture mapping methods will be reviewed. 3 Credits
AGD512 3Environment Modeling
In this course, advanced 3D modeling techniques will be introduced. Students will practice and develop core 3D modeling skills. Polygon budgets, levels of detail, and lighting scenes and structures will also be covered. Students will model integrated level designs and architectural environments that support and enhance story and game mechanics. 3 Credits
AGD5133Prototype Game Development
Student teams will work in a model production environment to build a working first playable. Students will have hands-on experience with a game engine to create their prototype game. Time management, organization, export and import pipeline, bug tracking and fixing will be refined. 3 Credits
AGD5143Modeling & Animation for VFX
This course covers the basic concepts of 3D modeling and animation as it pertains to visual effects. Fluids, particles, cloth, hair, fur, and soft/ rigid bodies will be introduced in a production setting. Students will use these elements for their portfolio projects. 3 Credits
AGD6013Capstone II
Part 2 of a 3-part Capstone Project that is designed to allow students to apply their knowledge in Game Animation Design by developing a novel application under the supervision of a senior supervisor/instructor. 3 Credits Prerequisite: Graduate students who have completed AGD508, AGD509 & Capstone I
AGD6023Texture & Light
Students will apply advanced practice and new techniques in a fast paced environment. UV coordinates and texture maps, projections, decals, billboards, unwrapping and digital photography and paint will be used to enhance student portfolios. Students will apply rigorous industry standards to their assignments. 3 Credits
AGD6033AI for Game Developers
This course introduces students to the fundamental concepts and current development in artificial intelligence(AI). Topics will include inite-state machine, fuzzy logic, swarm optimization, neural networks and etc. The course will be supplemented with demo code written in C/C++. From the basic movement (such as running, moving pattern, path) to anticipate gamer’s movement, this course will teach students how to utilize AI to make gaming characters seem more intelligent. 3 Credits
AGD6043Technical Arts and Practice
The main purpose of this course is to help student develop an understanding of art and modern technology and the ability to process technology-integrated art. Through case studies of technology-related artwork, students will learn about the history and application of technical art and express art through technology in the future. In addition, students will learn to use the popular software Arduino. 3 Credits
AGD6053Editing Essentials for Game Design
In this course, students will learn basic video and audio editing techniques and gain an understanding of the purpose and power of non-linear editing. Students will also learn techniques for managing and distributing media for game design, and further their knowledge of creative multimedia storytelling. 3 Credits
AGD6063Professional Practices for Animation, VFX, & Games
This course exposes MS candidates to the expectations of the professional animation, visual effects, and games industries, in both traditional and digital mediums, in order to best prepare students for their intended careers. Emphasis is placed on communication, collaboration, networking, marketing, and workplace pipelines. 3 Credits
AGD6073 Capstone III
Part 3 of a 3-part Capstone Project that is designed to allow students to apply their knowledge in Game Animation Design by developing a novel application under the supervision of a senior supervisor/instructor. 3 Credits Prerequisite: Graduate students who have completed Capstone I & II.