Career Education In Game Design And Development Aids Grads In Landing Fun But Tough Work With Steep Qualifications

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Brown College, the in Twin Cities, offers contemporary vision using game design skills in their innovative game department.

Game designers, artists, sound designers, programmers, and testers earn their pay working hard at play. Brown College designed its Bachelor of Science in Game Design and Development program to prepare students for positions in careers related to the creation of interactive 2D and 3D computer games. Students can learn how to use design software, programming languages, modeling and animation skills, networking principles, level and world editors, and game engines used to design and develop games. http://www.browncollege.edu    

These highly skilled workers create fun behind the screens of your favorite video games. A love of games is an advantage in an industry whose stock and trade is fun and fantasy. But game development jobs also require serious skills. Only highly qualified people find jobs, Occupational Outlook Quarterly reports. But the future holds much more for these designers.

The population born after 1960 – the Gen-Xs – are not likely to be satisfied with a blue print or drawing or seeing a 2D portrayal; they will expect interactive media, three-dimensional representations, mainly because they have grown up with video game technology and have been immersed in the 3D graphics.

Justin Spoelstra, Assistant Department Chair of Game Design and Development, has helped to design a curriculum that is unique to Brown College. This curriculum greatly expands the current vision and breadth of game building technology.

Spoelstra feels that “Although there are a lot of doers, we are creating visionaries. Our students are going to see past traditional uses for gaming and see the plethora of other opportunities video game technology has to offer. I want them to comprehend where gaming technology is headed.”

There are all kinds of business applications for gaming design and technology. “In the immediate future gaming will be used for training, sales, marketing -- wherever there’s a lack of communication,” says Spoelstra. “Visuals can augment any presentation. When you add the interactivity that gaming technology provides, your audience feels more engaged in the process. We are talking interactive, just like a game, but not with guns and bombs, or shooting hoops. ”

Spoelstra has worked on things like virtual houses to change wall color, move ceilings higher, change a fence, move walls, change a door handle, and more. In order to give the homeowner a true look and feel of what their home will look like before anything is built, allowing changes to happen virtually rather than being on site changes – which can be very costly. Simulations are a huge selling point, having it all in the 3D world, gives the buyer the feeling of driving and/or operating the piece of equipment, but in a safe environment. Deciding on vacation, visiting a museum, choosing a home, all can be done on a computer screen.

Spoelstra tells the story, “My in-laws, last weekend, were debating on how to build a deck in the backyard. I sat with them, and without any earlier conversation on the subject, created a 3D design for them and in two hours they had their dream deck ready to go to the contractor. A true international language is visuals, I kind of knew what they wanted, but until I created it on the computer we were both unsure.”    

The first nine months of the curriculum covers the theory and pre-production of why they are creating games, the business side of design, where industry going, why new games are created . It also covers procuring target markets, what is a genre and teaches understanding the uniqueness of one game versus another, as well as other vital marketing training. Additionally, they are taught important business basics such as how to communicate to employees and colleagues in ways to raise moral and keep people motivated, including focus and goal strategizing with them. After they are fully indoctrinated into the theory side of it all, beginning in the fourth quarter they learn how to actually build the games, and the in depth technology of advanced gaming techniques.

Brown has enjoyed success training and graduating students in technology, design, and broadcast fields for over 50 years. Brown College offers programs in criminal justice, television production, radio broadcasting, visual communications, and business management, as well as medical courses needed to become a medical office assistant.

Founded in 1946, Brown College provides students with career education including the knowledge, technical skills and hands-on training needed to succeed in fields such as computer technology, interactive game design, graphic design and visual communications, radio broadcasting, television production, criminal justice, business administration, medical office administration and message therapy. http://www.browncollege.edu

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Joe Zeigler
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