Video games are played in every part of the world and both by the young and old. The global video game market was said to hit 175.8 billion dollars in 2021 and this is expected to rise to a whopping 218.8 billion dollars by 2024.
This industry is very lucrative, which is why in this article, we have covered the best game design schools in Canada.
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Why Study Game Design in Canada?
Canada like other countries plays a major role in the global video game industry. The Canadian video game industry was worth 4.5 billion dollars in the year 2021 and will also rise to 6.2 billion dollars by the year 2024.
Canada is one of the best places to begin a career in game design. The first reason is that the Canadian government is very supportive.
They provide tax breaks and financial support for the video game industry and game developers.
Secondly, there is an active game development community present in Canada. During your studies in Canada, there are several game studios where you can seek internships to gain more experience and to network with well-established game developers.
Thirdly, the educational setting in Canada is exceptional and even more impressive for game designers.
There are several top-notch, accredited game design schools that you can attend here in Canada, some of which we have gone over in this article.
Lastly, the average yearly salary for game designers in Canada is 75,000$, which is quite impressive, and this can vary depending on your location, the game studio, and your experience level.
Entry Requirements for Game Design Schools in Canada
Below are some of the common requirements asked for by schools offering game design in Canada.
- A high school diploma or its equivalent.
- A portfolio showing previous works you have done.
- Grades in math, science, and English.
- Personal statement
Note: Some schools may ask for more requirements like extra courses in science, math, or computer science. They may also ask you to have proficiency in a programming language as well.
It is best to check for the requirements peculiar to the school you are applying for.
Best Game Design Schools in Canada
Vancouver Institute of Media Arts
The game design course at Vanarts can be taken in person or done 100% online from anywhere you are in the world.
The skills you will obtain from this degree go beyond game design, you will also be immersed in animation and visual effects as well.
Students that complete this degree have a chance to work in studios like Cyberconnect2, Waterproof Sudios, ICON Creative, Next Level Games, Koolhaus Games, Rogue Factor, Kabam, IGG Canada, Digital Domain, Animal Logic, Ubisoft, Electronic Art, etc.
The course is a 12-month course that costs 34,750 CAD for Canadians and 41,750 CAD for international students. Find more information here.
This is a minor program that begins in fall, it is 24 credits and is only available to students in their second year or higher.
This means that this minor degree must be combined with a major program, specialization, or honor. Find more information here.
This bachelor’s degree combines materials from several disciplines like game design and mechanics, level design, program and technology, game narrative and audio, 2D and 3D art animation, professional development, and project management.
This course is handled by tech-savvy professors who have industrial experience. They provide real-world skill development using assignments and classwork to design simulations, case studies, and various projects.
During your final semesters, almost all classes are project-based, and you will work in teams to develop a game. Find more information here.
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They offer a 6-semester advanced diploma degree called game programming. The intake date for September 2023 and January 2024 are currently open.
The program is held on campus and it is a project-centric diploma.
You will be engaged in team projects and cover topics such as OpenGL and Vulkan for graphics, C++ programming, AI, physics, math, Unity/Unreal game engine development, and computer networking. Find more information here.
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They offer a 3 year/6 semesters program that begins in the fall at their story arts center. There is also a remote option for people who cannot attend the onsite classes.
The program covers 2D and 3D design processes and they also teach you the foundations of computer programming.
Other things you will learn include collaboration with other artists and programmers, building your own prototypes, etc. Find more information here.
They offer a 3-year advanced diploma during which you will upgrade your 2/3D skills by being immersed in art and design theory, modeling, drawing, anatomy, texturing, and animation. Upon finishing this program, you will be able to begin a career as a game designer, animator, concept artist, or 3D modeler.
The program costs 19,226.04$ for Canadian students, while international students must pay 29,756.80$ to get into this program.
This is subject to change, and it does not include other costs like health and dental plan fee, program general expenses, or bus pass fee. Find more information here.
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George Brown College
This school offers 4 different degrees in game design, for both undergraduates and postgraduates.
There is the game programming course, and Game-Art course for undergraduates that both last 3 years.
There is also Digital Design – game Design Program and Concept Art for Entertainment course for postgraduates that last for 1 year. Find more information here.
This is a 3-year advanced diploma held in their Ottawa campus. They help you to apply your computer programming talent to build a career as a game developer.
Students in their 3rd year in this course form teams that collaborate to conceptualize and build a 3-D game and your final year project at this school is entered into internationally held game development competitions. Find more information here.
This is a 2-year diploma that covers 3D animation for film and games. They teach you key techniques of animation and 3D software, you receive lectures from industry professionals and lecturers who have a wealth of experience.
Several career paths are open to you upon completion of this diploma, and they include surface artist, rigger, lighting artist, hard surface modeler, environment artist, concept artist, character designer, and character, and creature animator. Find more information here.
The independent video game design program helps to set students on a career path to independent video game design, it also provides courses that will equip you with knowledge of entrepreneurship and self-promotion.
Those who complete this program will be able to design basic original video games and intellectual property, create a strategy for marketing their games, and use their acquired entrepreneurial skill to boost their video game project. Find more information here.
The AEC in game and level design helps students to become specialists in not just creating, but also designing video game environments.
Career prospects after completion of this program include video game narrative designer, video game designer, video game level designer, and video game architect. Find more information here.
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This is a dual-credit program jointly hosted by Niagara College and Brock University, where upon completion, you get a 4-year bachelor’s degree from Brock University and a 3-year advanced diploma from Niagara College in 4 years.
In this program, you will learn in a state-of-the-art game development lab, engage in team projects, learn about gaming history, platform, design, and production paradigms, etc. Find more information here.
Current Skills and Technologies You Must Possess as a Game Developer
Some of the important skills and technologies you must master during your study to become a game developer include:
- Collaboration: This is not a one-man show, so you must learn how to work with other developers and artists to achieve your goals.
You need to learn how to communicate with others effectively to pass your points across and to understand what others are saying.
- Programming: As a game developer you make use of programming language to design games, so you need to be good in one or all. C++, Java, or Python are the go-to programming languages for a game developer. Other important things you must understand include data structures and object-oriented programming.
- Design: You should be able to design games that are fun to play and games that engage the players. Starting from conceptualizing to building characters in the game, you must be conscious of the fact that the idea of creating a game is to let the users have fun.
- Art: Game developers must be able to create 2D and 3D models, textures, and animations.
- Audio: Music, sound effects, and voice acting are important elements of any game.
- Testing: As a game developer, before launching your game, you must ensure you have tested it and that it is free from bugs.