A lot has happened in the world of game design education since our last report, so we are eager to share the latest news with you. First, Unity Technologies and University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts have teamed up to launch an online game design course titled, “Unity + USC Games Unlocked: Design and Publish Your Original Game.” This eight-week, self-paced, adaptive online offering is the first course co-created between a major U.S. university and Unity Technologies. The course teaches students and prospective developers how to design and publish their own original games.
Next, Fitchburg State has launched an IdeaLab for game design students and startups, with classes beginning just weeks ago. One course, Fitchburg State’s Game Design Studio Capstone, is designed to function as a real game studio in the Lab, where students will be creating and prototyping games throughout the semester.
And finally, University of California – Santa Cruz has launched the country’s first graduate program in Serious Games, and Villa Maria College has launched a new game design program that it says is the first program of its kind in the Buffalo area. Read on.
University of California – Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California
The Jack Baskin School of Engineering at University of California – Santa Cruz has launched a new MS in Serious Games. Per the school, the five-quarter, intensive program offers students “unparalleled access to a game industry experience,” thanks to the school’s location in the heart of Silicon Valley. Students will participate in-depth studio tours and learn from award-winning, game-industry experienced faculty, and they will also have access to a brand new state-of-the-art facility equipped with top-of-the-line equipment and software tools, and invite-only seminars throughout the quarter, featuring “lead programmers to tech directors to game designers to game changers.”
Students in the program can expect to take courses in design, coding, art, sound design and professional practice, which will prepare them for careers as “independent game developers as well as highly useful members of AAA teams.” Classes for the new program begin in this fall.
University of California – Santa Cruz (UC Santa Cruz) opened in 1965 with 650 students. Today, the schools serves more than 18,000 students enrolled in 65 undergraduate majors and 41 advanced degree programs. UC Santa Cruz has been fully accredited since 1965 by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
Villa Maria College, Buffalo, New York
Villa Maria College has launched the Buffalo area’s first Game Design BFA. The four-year degree program will focus on design (environments, characters, levels, etc., ) and not on programming. Per the school, “there will be a small programming component, but the majority of courses will focus on design with a strong foundation in the fine arts.”
Students in the new program will benefit from “ultra-small class sizes, which guarantee individualized attention in hands-on, studio-based environments where students will learn cutting-edge technologies and approaches.” Game Design BFA students will also have access to service-learning and internship opportunities, as well as the opportunity to work with students in Villa Maria’s new BS in Computer Software Development program to create a video game in their senior year.
Villa Maria’s new game design program is currently enrolling students who want to begin classes this fall.
Founded in 1961, Villa Maria College serves more than 500 students enrolled in dozens of art, business, health sciences, liberal arts, and music programs. Villa Maria College is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSCHE).