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Video games aren’t just entertainment — they’ve evolved into complex software systems that push the limits of what computers can accomplish. The Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation prepares you to build and optimize the technology at the core of these systems — from graphical algorithms to level editors to physics engines.

Through an in-depth study of mathematics and computer science — combined with real-world projects where you design and program your own fully playable games from start to finish — this program transforms you into an efficient software developer, able to understand, communicate, and solve problems at every stage of the development process.

Developers from all over the world have made their marks on the video game and technology industries after earning a BS in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation degree from DigiPen. Will you join them?


Who Should Pursue This Degree?

If you want to develop the software technology that makes video games and interactive worlds possible, the BS in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation program can help get you there. Program students have landed positions working on AAA video games and commercial software right out of DigiPen as skilled programmers, producers, and more. While all of DigiPen’s computer science programs prepare you for careers in software development, this program is the most focused on the skills and graphics technologies used to create cutting-edge 3D games and simulations.

As a student in this program, you will:

  • Become a Proficient Software Engineer

    Dive deep into core programming languages as you tackle coursework in data structures, graphics rendering, computer networks, and more.

  • Create 2D and 3D Simulations from the Ground Up

    Work with teams to design and develop 2D and 3D video games and simulation software, starting with your own engine technology.

  • Gain Experience in a Collaborative Studio Environment

    Learn how to collaborate with others on a shared codebase as you solve problems and tackle the challenges of game software development.


Academic Roadmap

As a student in this program, you will split your time between academic courses in mathematics, computer science, and other subjects with team-based project classes that will allow you to collaborate with students from other disciplines. Each course will build on your foundational knowledge, while the project coursework will give you the opportunity to apply your education in a setting that emulates the professional studio environment.

View a sample course sequence

Admissions Requirements

In order to apply for the BS in Computer Science program, you should have a strong foundation in math, science, and problem-solving. You’ll need to have completed precalculus (or its equivalent) prior to attending DigiPen.

View all requirements

Topics Covered

Students in the BS in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation program will learn how to:

  • Program a variety of simulations and games, including two-dimensional and three-dimensional games.
  • Draft game design and technical design documents to aid in the scheduling and organizational aspects of game production.
  • Implement efficient graphical user interfaces (GUIs), including the management of windows, menus, and dialog boxes.
  • Create robust artificial intelligence algorithms to serve as the cognitive processes for computer-controlled game objects.
  • Apply concepts such as computer networks, TCP/IP, and internet programming to a multiplayer video game environment.

BS/MS Accelerated Schedule

If you’re interested in pursuing both the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation and a master’s degree in the Master of Science in Computer Science program, DigiPen offers an accelerated schedule that allows you to complete both programs in just five years. See the BS/MS Accelerated Schedule page for more details.

ABET Accredited

ABET Computing Accreditation Commission Logo

The BS in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation degree program is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET. Learn more at www.abet.org.

Event Schedule

August 2021 Game Design Workshop

Saturday, August 14, 2021 - 12:00pm to 2:00pm

August 2021 Game Design Workshop

Saturday, August 14, 2021 - 12:00pm to 2:00pm

The art and science of game design is a field that many want to get into, but don’t know where to start. Fortunately, DigiPen’s faculty is full of video game industry veterans eager to share their knowledge with you. Join us Saturday, August 14 at 12:00 p.m. PDT for a free, one-day workshop taught by DigiPen faculty member Bill Morrison, as he introduces you to the fundamentals of game level design.

This two-hour online workshop is for high school students (sophomores to seniors) interested in learning more about game design and development. No previous coding or design experience is needed, and we will help you set up a free trial of the software you will need. Register for this free workshop now and be sure to join us online August 14!

Please contact Nick Sanchez at n.sanchez[at]digipen[dot]edu or (425) 629-5017 with any questions or concerns.

RSVP Today

Application Workshop

Wednesday, January 12, 2022 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm

Application Workshop

Wednesday, January 12, 2022 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm

The application can be a daunting process for many but we’re here to make sure it doesn’t have to be! We’re here to help you step-by-step during this session to review what all goes into the DigiPen application.

During the stream, you’ll be able to use our live chat platform to ask any questions you have about the application, DigiPen’s admissions requirements, and more, so RSVP for a seat now and join us January 12 at 3:00 p.m. PST!

RSVP Today

Application Workshop

Wednesday, March 2, 2022 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm

Application Workshop

Wednesday, March 2, 2022 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm

The application can be a daunting process for many but we’re here to make sure it doesn’t have to be! We’re here to help you step-by-step during this session to review what all goes into the DigiPen application.

During the stream, you’ll be able to use our live chat platform to ask any questions you have about the application, DigiPen’s admissions requirements, and more, so RSVP for a seat now and join us March 2 at 3:00 p.m. PST!

RSVP Today

Student Projects

Multidisciplinary team projects make up a core component of the BS in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation curriculum. As a student in the program, you will work with your classmates on a series of original game projects. In addition to building your own 2D and 3D graphics technology from scratch, you’ll have the chance to take on team roles in gameplay programming, artificial intelligence, game design, and other areas — applying classroom concepts toward tangible software products. These are just a few examples of what students in the program have created.

Meet the Faculty

Students in the program interact with experienced faculty from a range of departments, including Computer Science, Game Software Design and Production, Mathematics, Physics, and more. These are just a few of the faculty who teach core courses in the BS in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation program.

DigiPen Faculty Pushpak Karnick, Ph.D.

Pushpak Karnick, Ph.D.

Department Chair, Program Director (BS in Computer Science)

Dr. Karnick received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Arizona State University, in 2009. His areas of specialization were Procedural Modeling and Geospatial Visualization. His prior experience, academic and industrial, includes system and software development in the areas of VLSI Testchip compilers and visualization tools, Virtual Reality installations, and 3-dimensional geometric tools for domain scientists.

DigiPen Faculty Gary Herron, Ph.D.

Gary Herron, Ph.D.

Professor

Dr. Herron received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Utah, in 1979. His particular fields of study were Geometric Modeling and Computer Graphics. Since then, he has spent nearly 40 years working in those fields, in both academic and industrial settings. In academia, he conducted a research program that produced about 20 refereed papers, movies, and conference presentations, along with a number of master’s students, and a Ph.D. student.

DigiPen Faculty Justin Chambers

Justin Chambers

Assistant Dean of Articulation and Coordination

Justin Chambers is a graduate of DigiPen, having earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation in 2009. After working in the industry for several years, Chambers returned to DigiPen in 2016 to teach. He shares from many valuable perspectives — as a former student of DigiPen, a professional in the game industry, and now as an instructor of future game industry professionals.


Career Outlook

BS in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation graduates pursue a variety of entry- and intermediate-level positions in software engineering, especially in video game development.

Potential Careers

Engine and Tools Programmer

In general, an engine or tools programmer creates customized software systems (such as a level editor or scripting language) that will be used by other developers on the team to use or create game assets, or just make the overall development process more efficient.

Software Architect

The software architect is responsible for designing the high-level structure for a development project and making decisions related to technical standards. Essentially, the software architect creates the “blueprints” for the project’s codebase.

Gameplay Programmer

The gameplay programmer is responsible for implementing the mechanical features and systems of a video game, often working with designers to turn ideas into working, moving parts.

Entry-Level Job Titles

  • Software Engineer

  • Software Development Engineering in Test

  • Software Analyst

  • Computer Programmer

  • Gameplay Programmer

  • Artificial Intelligence Programmer

  • User Interface Programmer

  • Tools Programmer

  • Game Scripter

  • Technical Designer

  • System Designer

  • Level Designer

  • Content Designer

  • Encounter Designer

  • Game Designer

Senior-Level Job Titles

  • Lead Engineer

  • Lead Designer

  • Technical Director

  • Creative Director

  • Director

Other Job Titles

  • Producer

  • Program Manager

  • Technical Program Manager

Desert canyon ruins

For the DigiPen students of Spicy Dice Studios, their Dark Souls-inspired action adventure game Metamorphos was a two-year gamble that paid off.

DigiPen grad Jiyun Kang sits at computer workstation

As a software developer at Medzii, DigiPen graduate Jiyun Kang works on an app that educates users about adverse drug reactions.

DigiPen graduate and Spry Fox senior software engineer Molly Jameson poses in front of a cactus.

The Spry Fox senior software engineer discusses her work on the cute and acclaimed new life-sim.

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