Back to top

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

Application Workshop

Wednesday, October 5, 2022 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm

Application Workshop

Wednesday, October 5, 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 October 5 at 3:00 p.m. PDT!

RSVP Today

Career Exploration Workshop: Game Programming

Saturday, October 15, 2022 - 12:00pm to 2:00pm

Career Exploration Workshop: Game Programming

Saturday, October 15, 2022 - 12:00pm to 2:00pm

Have you ever wanted to learn how to program video games? What about looking behind the curtain to find out how your favorite games work? If so, come to our remote Game Programming Workshop on Saturday, October 15, 2022 from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. PDT, hosted via Zoom.

In this free, one-day workshop, you’ll discover the basics of programming in a structured format, taught by DigiPen faculty member Chris Onorati. Learn how to build some basic games from scratch and see how some small edits in code can make a big difference in game. No previous experience is required, so even if you’ve never programmed before, you won’t have anything to worry about!

Space is limited and reservations are prioritized on a first-come first-served basis, so be sure to register early! You will need access to a computer for this workshop, and instructions to download the software required will be emailed to you prior to the event.

Please contact Brandy Xiong at brandy.xiong[at]digipen[dot]edu or (425) 629-5027 with any questions or concerns. We look forward to seeing you there!

RSVP Today

DigiPen is committed to providing equal access to its programs and events. Contact the event coordinator in advance with questions or to request accommodations at brandy.xiong[at]digipen[dot]edu, call (425) 629-5027, or text (425) 414-3633.

Deep Dive: BS in Computer Science Programs

Wednesday, November 2, 2022 - 3:00pm to 4:30pm

Deep Dive: BS in Computer Science Programs

Wednesday, November 2, 2022 - 3:00pm to 4:30pm

Deep Dive sessions are interactive livestreams that can give you a glimpse into the academic programs that interest you the most. Register for any or all of the sessions and hear from some of the faculty and students in the program.

Join us Wednesday, November 2 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. PDT, we’ll have faculty members and students live on stream to share their insights and take your questions about our undergraduate computer science degree programs.

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

A rook looks at a king down the barrel of its sniper rifle in FPS Chess.

The three-student DigiPen game team breaks down their viral hit fusing chess matches with deathmatches.

Four Saints Row IV characters pose against a brick wall with graffiti on it

We caught up with graduates Ryan Spencer and Jeff Keely, two veteran programmers at Deep Silver Volition who helped ship the new Saints Row reboot.

Screenshots from 2022 DigiPen student games

Check out trailers for the game projects that DigiPen students created during the 2021-22 academic year.

Take the Next Step

Get started with our in-depth information packet!

Sign up to receive our degree program viewbook and other resources to help you determine if a DigiPen education is right for you.

Request Information

Start Your Application

Ready to take your education further? Head to our secure application portal and submit an application for admission.

Apply Online