DigiPen Institute of Technology

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DigiPen Institute of Technology
DigiPen web logo.png
Established 1988
Type For-Profit
President Claude Comair
Academic staff
Undergraduates 964
Postgraduates 91
Location Redmond, Washington
Campus Suburban
Website digipen.edu

DigiPen Institute of Technology is a for-profit university located in Redmond, Washington.[1] DigiPen has campuses in Redmond, Washington, in Singapore, and near Bilbao, Spain. DigiPen offers bachelor's and master's degree programs.

DigiPen also offers summer programs for students in grades K-12, as well as online courses and year-long high school programs.


  • DigiPen Institute of Technology was founded in 1988 by Claude Comair in Vancouver, B.C., Canada[2] as DigiPen Corporation, a computer simulation and animation company.
  • In 1990, DigiPen began offering a 3D animation program and began collaborating with Nintendo of America to create a post-secondary program for video game programming. With Nintendo's support, DigiPen Applied Computer Graphics School accepted its first class of video game programming students in 1994.
  • In May 1996 the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board granted DigiPen the ability to award Associate and Bachelor of Science (BSc) Degrees in Real-Time Interactive Simulation (R.T.I.S) and Associate of Applied Arts (AAA) Degrees in 3D Computer Animation. This made DigiPen the first university in the world dedicated to computer and video game development.
  • In January 1998, DigiPen relocated the school to Redmond, Washington, U.S.
  • In 1999, the school offered its first AAA in 3D Computer Animation classes.
  • In 2000, DigiPen awarded degrees the first graduating R.T.I.S. class. The intensive R.T.I.S. program, renowned for the highly skilled game programmers that it produces, has since remained DigiPen's flagship program.
  • In 2004, the school added three new programs: the BSc in Computer Engineering, the Master of Science (MSc) in Computer Science (Accredited in 2006), and the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Digital Art and Animation.
  • In 2008, the BSc in Computer Science and Game Design, and Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Game Design programs were added.
  • In 2008, DigiPen opened a branch campus in Singapore.
  • In 2011, the school oprned a campus in Bilbao (Spain), and the Singapore campus was granted accreditation by the ACCSC.
  • In 2012, DigiPen added three new degree programs: the BA in Music and Sound Design, the BSc in Engineering and Sound Design, and the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Digital Arts.
  • In 2014, DigiPen added a new degree program: the BSc in Computer Science.


Main Campus[edit]

DigiPen's main campus in North Redmond, at 9931 Willows Rd. NE.[3] was built in 2010. This new campus has over 100,000 square feet (9,300 m2), for a student body of 1200 students and about 500 faculty and paid staff. It features many amenities, such as art and computer labs, a cafeteria with a professional kitchen, and a general store. DigiPen was previously located in a rented upstairs area of the Nintendo Software Technology building.

Branch Campuses[edit]


  • Started in 2008, DigiPen's main campus at PIXEL Building, One-North 10 Central Exchange Green, Singapore, occupies the first two levels of a 3-story building. All faculty are held under the same building.

The campus is a five-minute walk from Fusionopolis, which also houses Ubisoft Singapore.

The school received the first batch of "joint students" in Fall 2010.


  • Established in 2008


  • Established in 2010


DigiPen has five primary educational paths: RTIS - Real Time Interactive Simulation (core game engine architecture and programming), GD - Game Design (Game play architecture, programming and scripting), E - Engineering (computer hardware, and software architecture), MSD Music and Sound Design, and FA - Fine Arts (digital art and animation).

DigiPen is known for its rigorous computer science education, which in comparison to a standard curriculum, is accelerated, and more focused on the tools needed to producing games. Freshmen RTIS, BAGD, and BSGD students, for example, are quickly introduced to two programming languages Python (for use of using DigiPen's self built Zero Engine), and C, and are able to build a working and interactive game (using the Zero Engine) in the first semester. Later years students advance to object oriented C++, and utilize other tools they learn concurrently to build custom game engines to appropriately create outstanding and unique games.

Currently, DigiPen offers seven undergraduate degree programs. Three, respectively in the arts: BFA (Fine Arts), BAGD (Game Design), BAMSD (Music and Sound Design), and two respectively in computer science: BSGD (Game Design), BSRTIS, and lastly two in Engineering: BSCE (Computer Engineering), and BSESD (Engineering and Sound Design).

DigiPen also offers two Master's Degree programs -- MSCS (Computer Science), and MFA (Fine Arts); Comair plans to add a Ph.D. program as well.


Student Life[edit]

The academic year commences in late August, with 3 academic semester each. Each term is 15 weeks long, including a mid-term exam week and a final term exam week. Term 1 generally runs from late August to early December, while Term 2 begins in January and ends in April. Term 3 begins in May and ends in July. In most courses, students are assessed on the level of their class participation, a group project, a mid-term test, and possibly, an exam at the end of the term.[5]

In style with game studio, the environment in DigiPen is very casual. Students who require assistance in understanding course material can walk into the Academic Support Center where Teaching Assistants are stationed.[6]

Student Work (Games)[edit]

Each year RTIS students are formed into teams ranging from 4-8 developers. Art students are not required to work on the game projects but are awarded credit for participating in Junior level or higher projects. Starting in 2004, Freshman year DigiPen students work with an in-house integrated development environment (IDE) called the ProjectFUN Editor to develop a 2D graphical game. Second semester developing a text-based game over the course of the semester. Sophomore year, students game teams develop graphical games. Junior year requires that games feature 3D Rendering, and often serve as the first real experimentation with physics, artificial intelligence, and networking. Senior year students are significantly less restricted to allow for more artistic control, essentially allowing the students to focus on their specialization or the game's design.

The games are owned and copyrighted by DigiPen and are available for download.

Student Awards[edit]

DigiPen students have placed the largest number of student projects in the Independent Games Festival student showcase every year since it began, with a seven-year total of 24 awards given to 23 winning game projects.[7] More awards won by student games include:[8]

Year Award Game
2012 indiePub 2012 Winner Deity
2012 PAX 10 Winner Deity
2012 Indie Game Challenge Finalist and Gamer's Choice Award Winner Nitronic Rush
2012 Indie Game Challenge Finalist The Fourth Wall
2012 Honorable Mention, Technical Excellence Award, professional category, IGF Nitronic Rush
2012 IGF Student Showcase Honorable Mention Nitronic Rush
2012 IGF Student Showcase Pixi
2012 IGF Student Showcase Nous
2011 PC Gamer The top 10 free PC games of 2011 #2 Nous
2011 Gamasutra Best Of 2011: Top 10 Indie Games #9 Dig-N-Rig
2011 Gamasutra Best Of 2011: Top 10 Indie Games Honorable Mention Nitronic Rush
2011 Inside Gaming Awards 2011 Best Indie Game Nominee Nitronic Rush
2011 Indie Game Magazine Best Free Indie Game Nominee Nitronic Rush
2011 IGF China Best Student Game Void
2011 IGF China Student Competition Finalist Pixi
2011 IGF China Student Competition Finalist Terra
2011 Tokyo Game Show's Sense of Wonder Night Presenter Solstice
2011 PAX 10 Winner A Flipping Good Time
2011 Extra Credits Innovation Awards Nominee A Flipping Good Time
2011 Indie Game Challenge Finalist Solace
2011 Indie Game Challenge Finalist Subsonic
2010 IndieCade Finalist Solace
2010 PAX 10 Winner Solace
2010 Indie Game Challenge Non-Professional Finalist and Grand Prize Gear
2010 Indie Game Challenge Finalist Dreamside Maroon
2010 IGF Student Showcase Dreamside Maroon
2010 IGF Student Showcase Igneous
2010 IGF Student Showcase Honorable Mention Gear
2009 IndieCade Top 10 Finalist Sowlar
2009 IGF Best Student Game The Power of Paint (Link)
2008 Finalist, Excellence in Visual Art Award, professional category, IGF Synaesthete
2008 IGF Best Student Game Synaesthete (Link)
2008 IGF Student Showcase Empyreal Nocturne
2007 Finalist, Design Innovation Award, professional category, IGF Toblo
2007 IGF Best Student Game Toblo
2007 Slamdance Finalist Toblo
2007 Slamdance Finalist Base Invaders
2007 IGF Student Showcase Base Invaders
2007 IGF Student Showcase Gelatin Joe
2006 Intel's Best Game on the Go Toblo
2006 Northwest Games Festival Audience Award Toblo
2006 Finalist, innovation in game design, professional category, IGF RumbleBox
2006 Slamdance Physics Award RumbleBox
2006 IGF Student Showcase Winner Narbacular Drop
2006 Slamdance Guerilla Gamemaker Competition Finalist Narbacular Drop
2006 GameShadow Innovation In Games Festival & Awards Nomination Narbacular Drop
2006 Game Informer The Top 10 Games You've Never Heard Of Narbacular Drop
2006 Edge Internet Game of The Month Narbacular Drop
2006 Gamasutra Quantum Leap Awards: Most Important Games "Honorable Mention" Narbacular Drop (Link)
2006 IGF Student Showcase Orblitz
2006 IGF Student Showcase Sea of Chaos
2005 IGF Student Showcase Scavenger Hunt
2005 Slamdance Audience Award Scavenger Hunt
2005 IGF Student Showcase Rock Station
2005 Finalist, professional category, IGF Kisses
2004 Winner, innovation in game design, professional category, IGF Bontãgo
2004 IGF Student Showcase Ice Wars
2004 IGF Student Showcase Scrapped
2003 IGF Student Showcase Vektor Space
2003 IGF Student Showcase Crazy Cross
2003 IGF Student Showcase Valence
2003 IGF Student Showcase Mall Monster
2002 IGF Student Showcase Commando Attack Sub
2002 IGF Student Showcase T.H.U.G.S.
2001 IGF Student Showcase MatrixAttack
2001 IGF Student Showcase GenJox

It should also be noted that the Narbacular Drop team was hired by Valve straight out of school to rebuild the game in the Source engine, thus creating Portal. The team that developed Tag: The Power of Paint was also hired by Valve, leading to the paints in Portal 2.

Research & Development[edit]

  • Technology Supplier of The Boeing Company, winning the Boeing's 2008 Supplier of the Year Award and 2008 Performance Excellence Award. DigiPen has collaborated with The Boeing Company to develop a range of military and corporate products in simulation, agent based technologies, visualization, and analysis.
  • Technical Supplier of the Lotus F1 team (formally the Renault F1 Team) since 2008 developing the team's sole race-time strategic GPS software solution. DigiPen's software is a key system for race visualization and analysis, and is deployed to all trackside computers. DigiPen has participated in more than 100 race events and has assisted the team in winning more than 40 podium titles.[9]
  • Inflight Entertainment Software provider for Singapore Airlines, developing custom interactive software on the Panasonic Avionics Corporation EX2 & EX3 systems.

Notable Staff[edit]

  • Claude Comair
  • Xin Li, Ph.D
    • Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs
    • Director of Education
  • Prasanna Ghali
    • Chief Technology Officer - Asia Pacific
    • Professor, Department of Computer Science
    • Vice President of Engineering at Nintendo Software Technology Corporation(1998–2002)


Art and Animation[edit]

  • Master of Fine Arts in Digital Arts
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Art and Animation
  • Bachelor of Arts in Game Design

Mathematics, Science, and Engineering[edit]

  • Master of Science in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering and Sound Design
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Game Design


Different departments in DigiPen focus in different aspect of game development.[10] A wide range of courses is offered to covered for a wholesome education. Each department in DigiPen is normally chaired by a Professor or one who have been in long history in the related topic.

Department of Computer Science[edit]

  • CS: Computer Science

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering[edit]

  • ECE: Electrical and Computer Engineering

Department of Fine Arts and Animation[edit]

  • ANI: Animation
  • ART: Art
  • CG: Computer Graphics
  • FLM: Film
  • PRJ: Projects

Department of Game Design and Production[edit]

  • GAM: Game Software Design and Production
  • GAT: Game Application Techniques

Department of Humanities and Social Sciences[edit]

  • COM: Communications
  • ECN: Economics
  • ENG: English
  • HIS: History
  • JPN: Japanese
  • LAW: Law
  • MGT: Management
  • PHL: Philosophy
  • PSY: Psychology
  • SOS: Social Sciences

Department of Life Sciences[edit]

  • BIO: Biology Courses

Department of Mathematics[edit]

  • MAT: Mathematics Courses

Department of Physics[edit]

  • PHY: Physics Courses

Summer camps[edit]

There are several facilities which host DigiPen Advanced Computer Science classes for high school students to take during their regular school day. These same courses are available to everyone to take during the summer for a fee.

These courses, intended for grades 1 and up, include Game Programming, Art & Multimedia Production, Game Design, and Engineering. These classes focus on hands-on teaching philosophies. Each student is always working via a personal computer during class, and there is a “low student to teacher ratio.” Additionally, the summer courses provide students with the tools and environment to experience the gaming industry for themselves. There are frequent guest speakers from the gaming industry that come to speak to the students.


  • The Princeton Review ranked DigiPen the 2nd Best College for Game Design in 2010.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "College Navigator". U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved May 19, 2014. 
  2. ^ DigiPen: General Information
  3. ^ DigiPen celebrates new, bigger location on Willows Road
  4. ^ About DigiPen Institute of Technology « Singapore Institute of Technology
  5. ^ DigiPen: Academic Calendar
  6. ^ DigiPen: Academic Support
  7. ^ Independent Games Festival Website
  8. ^ DigiPen: Games
  9. ^ http://news.digipen.edu/industry/digipen-tech-helps-puts-lotus-team-on-the-podium/
  10. ^ DigiPen: Course Catalog
  11. ^ 8 Highest-Ranked Colleges for Game Design, Feature Story from GamePro

Coordinates: 47°41′20″N 122°09′02″W / 47.688762°N 122.150506°W / 47.688762; -122.150506