smu guildhall specializations grey programming Learn to code games

Programmers at SMU Guildhall focus on writing code to breathe life into games by integrating the work of artists and designers, bringing characters and environments to life. You will practice each of the many facets of gameplay programming as well as the study of game engine architectures, both in commercial engines and your own game engine, which you’ll build from the ground up.

Who are Guildhall programmers?

Our passionate students and alumni embrace and exercise both sides of the brain through the creation of romantic constructs (gameplay, feel, and flow) by means of classical approaches (analysis, engineering, and testing). You might be a great candidate for our program if you...

  • Love games
  • Like thinking about new and unique player experiences
  • Have a knack for analyzing and deconstructing systems
  • Can envision a program feature & picture possible implementation paths
  • Enjoy solving new and interesting problems

What will I learn as a programmer at SMU Guildhall?

  • Game engine design & architecture
  • Data-driven gameplay systems
  • Artificial Intelligence, including individual & group behaviors, planning, and pathing
  • Networked multiplayer systems
  • User input, controls & user interfaces
  • Procedural content generation techniques
  • Advanced high-performance 2D & 3D graphics and shaders
  • Design and development of tools & content pipelines
  • Game physics techniques
  • Audio techniques
  • Memory management
  • Real-time application performance analysis & optimization
  • Strong 2D & 3D math skills used in game programming
  • Parallel processing in games
  • Working in teams with other programmers as well as artists, designers, & producers

What would my career path be as a game programmer?

Programming students prepare for careers as professional game developers at large companies, small studios, and as independent developers. Guildhall programming graduates have skillsets deep enough to be immediately useful in a variety of capacities on existing teams, and broad enough to fit into any number of roles — or all of them! Career options include:

  • Gameplay programmer
  • Engine systems programmer
  • AI programmer
  • Graphics programmer
  • Physics programmer
  • Tools programmer
  • Audio programmer
  • Lead programmer
  • Technical designer
  • Technical director

How do I prepare to be a Guildhall programmer?

The video game industry is heavily dependent upon C++ (for performance, power, and portability), so the single most valuable preparation for success in our software development track is solid C++ experience. Our curriculum provides a great deal of intermediate and advanced C++ guidance and practice, but doesn't teach the language from scratch. You will have a much easier time absorbing all of this if you are already comfortable with C++ to begin with.

Learn more: Software Development Preparation Guide