Bachelor of Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation

Program Overview

The electronic and digital entertainment industry is one of the fastest growing and most exciting career choices of the future. The video game, movie, and military industries are only a few of those that demand well-trained, enthusiastic programmers, designers, artists, and managers. DigiPen Institute of Technology is a key provider of these individuals, and the Bachelor of Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation prepares programmers for these industries. Designed and developed by industry experts and DigiPen faculty, the Institute's four-year R.T.I.S. program is a computer science degree that is highly focused on the technical area of graphics and simulations. Participants in the R.T.I.S. program specialize in the skills and tools necessary to create real-time simulations of real-world events.

The B.S. in R.T.I.S. program offers extensive training in mathematics and physics as a foundation for the various topics presented in general computer science and computer graphics. Throughout the degree program, R.T.I.S. students participate in several team-based projects. These substantial projects are designed to give students concrete experiences in which they apply the theoretical knowledge gained from their courses. Forming the cornerstone of the program, these projects exemplify many of the skills necessary in the video game industry today: teamwork, design, implementation, follow through, and business knowledge, among others. R.T.I.S. students gain the experience of designing, programming, and testing a variety of simulations and games, including text-based, scrolling, simulation, and two-dimensional and three-dimensional games.

Students in this degree program work both individually and collaboratively to learn the fundamentals of game design, production, and programming. Additionally, they write game design documents and technical design documents, learn how to schedule tools and techniques, and participate in the full production of several games. These game-oriented productions are a perfect media to present complicated subjects in a format agreeable to students. These productions:

  • Are graphics-oriented simulations, including two-dimensional and three-dimensional simulations.
  • Can realistically reproduce or simulate natural phenomena and real-life events. Flight simulators are excellent examples of such simulations.
  • Are highly interactive, requiring an elaborate and efficient graphical user interface (GUI). The development of a GUI requires the management of windows, menus, dialog boxes, and hardware resources including keyboards, mice, and display monitors.
  • React in real time. The implementation of such simulations requires a thorough knowledge of computer hardware and computer languages.
  • Are story-based simulations requiring a plot in which game objects must interact intelligently with each other. Therefore, in order to make games challenging and interesting, students must design and implement good artificial intelligence algorithms, which serve as the cognitive processes for the computer-controlled game objects.
  • Could be designed for either a single-player or multi-player environment. The development of the latter requires the understanding of subjects such as computer networks, TCP/IP, and Internet programming.
  • Are excellent examples of large and complex productions. Teamwork is essential to the successful completion of such productions. Therefore, students are divided into teams and are rigorously trained in object-oriented programming languages, paradigms, and software engineering techniques and practices.

Graduates of this program will gain the skills required to successfully pursue entry-level careers in the rapidly growing world of computer technologies in general, and computer graphics and simulations in particular. This degree prepares students to work in the computer and video game industry as intermediate-level programmers in graphics, artificial intelligence, networking, or general programming; beginning designers; or engineering tool staff members. Some of the job titles that graduates of this program may aspire to are Solutions Architect, Compatibility/Playability Tester, Game Analyst, Quality Assurance Engineer, Quality Assurance Supervisor, Computer or Software Programmer, Software Engineer, Game Programmer, Engine and Tools Programmer, Game Graphics Programmer, Artificial Intelligence Programmer, Audio Programmer, Web Programmer, or Software/Lead Tester.

Rather than attempt to provide a broad, general education, this degree program is an intensive educational experience in a specialized and highly technical area, and it prepares students for a career in several rapidly expanding industries. Staff and faculty are prepared to guide students desiring more general education course work about supplementary opportunities available through other institutions.

Degree Requirements

Number of Credits and GPA

The Bachelor of Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation requires completion of at least 154 credits with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better. The program usually spans eight semesters of 15 weeks each, or a total of 4 academic years.

Grade Requirements and Core Courses

Students must receive a grade of C- (or 1.7 quality points) or higher in all core courses for the BS in Computer Science and Real-Time Interactive Simulation major. (In a non-core course, a grade of D [or 1.0 quality points] or higher is considered passing.) The core courses are all those taken to fulfill the GAM, MAT, and CS requirements as described above. PHY 200 is also a core course.

Art and Music

The following courses are required: ART 210, CG 130 and 2 additional credits from the following: ANI 125, ART 400, ART 410, FLM 115, FLM 151, FLM 152, or MUS 115. (Total: 7 credits)

Computer Science

The following courses are required: CS 100, CS 100L, CS 120, CS 120L, CS 170, CS 170L, CS 180, CS 200, CS 225, CS 230, CS 250, CS 260, CS 280, CS 300, CS 315, CS 330, CS 350, and CS 365. Students must select four more courses (12 credits) numbered higher than 200. (Total: 60 credits)

Humanities and Social Sciences

The following courses are required: COL 101, ENG 246, and COM 150. Five additional ENG credits are required from ENG 116 and above. Students must take an additional three credits in HIS, PSY, or SOS. (Total: 15 credits)

Mathematics

The following courses are required: MAT 140, MAT 150 or MAT 180, MAT 200 or MAT 230, MAT 250, MAT 258, MAT 300, and one MAT elective numbered higher than 300, or MAT 256. (Total: 24 credits)

Physics

The following courses are required: PHY 200 and PHY 250. (Total: 6 credits)

Projects

The following courses are required: GAM 100, GAM 150, GAM 200, GAM 250, GAM 300, GAM 350, GAM 400, and GAM 450. (Total: 34 credits)

Open Electives

At least eight credits from any courses in any department at DigiPen. (Total: 8 credits)

Note on General Education Courses

The following courses satisfy the general education requirement for the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation: ART 210 (2), ART elective (2), COM 150 (3), ENG 110 (3), ENG electives numbered ENG 116 or higher (5), a social science elective in HIS, PSY, or SOS (3), MAT 150 or MAT 180 (4), MAT 250 (3), PHY 200 (3), and PHY 250 (3), for a total of 31 credits. 

Recommended Course Sequence Chart

The Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation requires completion of at least 154 credits with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better. The program usually spans eight semesters of 15 weeks each, or a total of 4 academic years. For more information, see Degree Requirements.

Semester Course Course Title Core Credits
Semester 1 MAT 140 Linear Algebra & Geometry X 4
CS 100 Computer Environment X 3
CS 100L Computer Environment Lab X 1
CS 120 High-level Programming I: The C Programming Language X 3
CS 120L High-level Programming I Lab X 1
GAM 100 Project Introduction X 3
ENG 110 Composition X 3
ART 210 Art Appreciation 2
Semester Total 20
Semester 2 MAT 150 or MAT 180 Calculus & Analytic Geometry I or Vector Calculus I X 4
CS 170 High-level Programming II: The C++ Programming Language X 3
CS 170L High-level Programming II Lab X 1
CS 230 Game Implementation Techniques X 3
GAM 150 Project I X 3
COM 150 Interpersonal & Work Communication 3
HSS Elective One humanities & social science elective from any three-credit HIS, PSY or SOS courses 3
Semester Total 20
Semester 3 MAT 200 or MAT 230 Calculus & Analytic Geometry II or Vector Calculus II X 4
CS 180 Operating System I: Man-Machine Interface X 3
CS 200 Computer Graphics I X 3
CS 225 Advanced C/C++ X 3
GAM 200 Project II X 4
PHY 200 Motion Dynamics X 3
Semester Total 20
Semester 4 PHY 250 Waves, Optics, and Aerodynamics 3
CS 250 Computer Graphics II X 3
CS 365 Software Engineering X 3
CS 280 Data Structures X 3
GAM 250 Project II X 4
MAT 250 Linear Algebra X 3
Semester Total 19
Semester 5 CS 300 Advanced Computer Graphics I X 3
CS 260 Computer Networks I: Interprocess Communication X 3
CS 330 Algorithm Analysis X 3
MAT 258 Discrete Mathematics X 3
CG 130 3D Computer Animation Production I 3
GAM 300 Project III X 5
Semester Total 20
Semester 6 MAT 300 Curves and Surfaces X 3
COL 499 College Search Preparation: Materials, Logistics, and Communication X 1
CS 350 Advanced Computer Graphics II X 3
CS 315 Low-level Programming X 3
Computer Science Elective Any 200-level or higher CS course not required X 3
GAM 350 Project III X 5
Open Elective An elective of the student's choice from any department at DigiPen 3
Semester Total 21
Semester 7 ART and MUS Elective Select one: ANI 125, ART 400, ART 410, FLM 115, FLM 151, FLM 152, or MUS 115 2
English Elective One English elective chosen from any ENG course, ENG 116 and above 2
Computer Science Elective Any 200-level or higher CS course not required X 3
Math Elective MAT 256 or any MAT course greater than 300 X 3
GAM 400 Project IV X 5
Open Elective An elective of the student's choice from any department at DigiPen 3
Semester Total 18
Semester 8 English Elective One English elective chosen from any ENG course, ENG 116 and above 2
Computer Science Elective Any 200-level or higher CS course not required X 3
Computer Science Elective Any 200-level or higher CS course not required X 3
GAM 450 Project IV X 5
Open Elective An elective of the student's choice from any department at DigiPen 3
Semester Total 16
Degree Total 154 minimum

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