Champlain College Offers Degree in Game Development

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Anonymous May 14, 2004 at 20:42

BURLINGTON, Vt., /PRNewswire/ -- Computer-game-loving teens and industry professionals take note: a new Electronic Game and Interactive Development degree at Champlain College has been unveiled. The career-oriented college will offer a bachelor's degree in this field starting in the fall, and it's the first degree of its kind in the region. The program will prepare students for careers in the fastest growing segment of the entertainment market, which outpaced the film industry with $11.4 billion in sales in 2003.

Students will learn to work in development teams composed of artists, animators, game designers, marketers, producers and computer programmers to create a game from start to finish. While they get their hands on state-of-the-art technology resources -- including multimedia, 3D animation and game production labs -- they will also study psychology and history and they'll sharpen their research, writing and storytelling skills to prepare for their careers.

"The degree represents the convergence of entertainment, information, technology and art," DeMarle said. "Our students will be introduced to a wide variety of ways in which games can be designed and applied."

Nineteen-year-old Steven Tanzola of Morristown, NJ, is looking to parlay his passion for games into a career by enrolling in the new program. "I'm really into gaming -- what goes into making the games and why they make them the way they do," Tanzola said. "I want to push the envelope."

When it comes to developing a new game, teamwork is vital, according to Design Manager David Cook of Impressions Games in Cambridge, Mass., who serves on the new program's advisory board. "A top-flight game is a major production. You need strong artists as modelers, animators, texture artists, and technical artists who can get the most from your tools. You'll work with a whole team of programmers who specialize in fields such as graphics, networking, artificial intelligence and more."

In the United States, analysts report the electronic game industry requires 5,000 new hires a year. The Northeast states collectively are the second-largest employers in the US game design industry, while California is the top employer.

On Champlain's campus in Burlington, Vermont, students will study in the backyard of one of the most active regions in the world for game development.

Within a two-hour drive, Montreal, Quebec, is home to two of the largest game development firms on earth -- Electronic Arts and Ubisoft Entertainment. "I think of game development as being like the extreme sports of software development," said Clint Hocking, a program advisor who is creative director at Ubisoft Entertainment in Montreal. "It's a real thrill to be involved in trying to solve so many complex technical and creative problems in an aesthetically pleasing way -- under tight deadlines."

"As interactive designers, we have the opportunity to create something that has never been created by human beings before," he added. Students in Champlain's Electronic Game & Interactive Development program will choose from two career tracks -- Game Design or Art and Animation. The career path for a Game Design student includes game tester, level designer, interface designer, lead game designer and director of game design. The Art and Animation student can find a career as a 2D artist, 3D artist, animator, modeler, texture artist, character animator or skins artist, leading to lead artist or creative director, lead animator or lead concept artist.

Champlain College is a private institution with 1,600 full-time students. For further information, visit http://www.champlain.edu or call (800) 570-5858.

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