Monday, May 7

A Graduate Education That Prepares You To Head into Blizzard and Beyond

The famous adage “do what you love and the money will follow” may not always come true, but it could be an accurate message for video gamers who can learn how to design the next hot game. College students who cannot get enough of World of Warcraft or other online games may want to consider taking their passion to the next level by earning a degree in game design. And as graduate education expands online, it is possible to interface with other programmers around the world who have the same dream.

The University of Advancing Technology in Tempe, Ariz., offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in video game programming, game design, game art and animation or video game production. Students can complete their degrees both in person or online.

Full Sail, a well-respected college in Winter Park, Fla. near Orlando, offers bachelor’s degrees in video game art and game development as well as master’s in game design. According to Full Sail, “First person shooters, online role-playing games, rhythm games, sports titles – each genre is providing gamers with sophisticated gameplay, graphics, and storylines that could hardly have been imagined a decade ago. The gaming industry relies on strong leaders to coordinate the teams of artists, designers, and programmers working to create that level of immersion.”

Serious gamers who want to break into the industry will need serious education to back up their dream of a successful career in gaming. The first requirement for someone who wants to design games is imagination, but in order to turn imagination into reality, video game designers must learn computer programming and video graphic design. Both software and hardware knowledge is required, including video animation and an understanding of how the equipment works that consumers use to play games.

At Brown College in Minnesota, the Game Design and Development program is designed so that graduates have more career options than in video game design. For example, Brown College says, “Career opportunities for Game Design & Development graduates span a range of sectors. They can apply their skills to createthe next hit console title, military training simulations, medical diagnosis tools, educational systems, next-generation marketing of course, and a range of digital and traditional game types.”

One of the best-known video game companies, Blizzard Entertainment, has a campus in Irvine with some unusual employee perks. The workspaces for Blizzard employees are decorated with posters of some of the most famous characters from Blizzard’s games and outside the main building is a life-size statue of an Orc from the company’s breakthrough game “Warcraft: Orcs and Humans.” Employees have on-site basketball courts, sand volleyball courts, a state-of-the-art gym, a museum, a theater and a tiki lounge. Jobs at Blizzard are available for 3-D level designers, who can prove themselves and be promoted to a game designer. Programmers are also needed at Blizzard Entertainment with a variety of skills in probability, statistics, geometry and other math specialties.

College students can do more than dream of spending their days in the field they love most. If that field is game design, a degree program in video animation, game design, game production or game programming can be the first step on a path to success.

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