Gaming Development Certificate - The Behrend Beacon

Gaming Development Certificate

Posted on Monday, December 10, 2012 at 9:58 PM

Author: Karthik Palakode-Narayanan (staff writer)

The video game industry is a multi-billion dollar cash cow, making around $67 billion in revenue in 2012. It is expected to grow to $82 billion by 2017. 

The video gaming industry is a lucrative career to pursue. A lot of college students are becoming game developers, designer, and artists. The industry is experiencing rapid growth in terms of revenue and jobs. It is ideal for students to gain an experience in game development, which helps them succeed in the industry. 

Penn State Behrend recognizes this importance and offers a game development certificate to students interested in design and development of games. 

The certificate is split into two different categories: Digital arts ad design and technical programming.

The digital arts ad design certificate deals more with the mechanics of coming up with ideas by gathering data and converting it to useful information for a game. It focuses on the design aspect of the game where the majority of the time is spent on the process and production of a game. 

The technical programming certificate deals with programming, the development phase of the game. It delves into building game engines, using unity and JavaScript to develop games. Both the certificates have three different levels: Intro, advance, and capstone. 

At the intro level, the intro to game design course explains the various roles of game design and the process of game development. It looks at the narrative process of game development, with students doing Q&A testing, working on story and character development.

The technical game development course explores programming, rendering a game, using lighting, animation sequences and the game engines. 

At the advanced level, the digital arts certificate offers a game design course looking at different techniques involving animation and visualization. The technical certificate offers a game production course looking at game networking and 3-D graphic engines. 

The final level, called the capstone course, is where both the game designers and developers work together creating a game. The course lets the students apply the concepts learned in the previous levels to come up with a game concept, gather requirements, implement and test a game. 

Currently, due to Autodesk’s generous donation, students are getting first hand experience in using 3ds Max, a 3-D modeling, animation and rendering tools that allows designers and developers an excellent platform to hone their skills. It provides students with an experience of how an actual studio works, and gives them significant qualifications by using industry standard software. 

Professor Matthew White says the software is significant to the students. 

“It helps students who will be future game developers or designers to dive directly into projects working at a company without a learning curve,” White said.

Students who are hesitant to take the certificate due to the programming involved do not need to worry. The certificate is designed to provide students with the fundamentals of programming. Students are not expected to know programming, and it certainly is not the main topic that is covered in the certificate. 

Projects from the capstone course will be completed this upcoming spring, and the first set of games designed by students will be revealed. Behrend has provided its students with a game development lab that includes sound board, art studio, game development tools and software that is critical in developing games. 

The certificate is a great platform for students who are looking for an opportunity to build a career in the gaming industry. It teaches valuable concepts of game design, the process of developing a game, the challenges that one might run into and the rewards of a successful product.