One innovative career niche is the design and development of computerized games for both entertainment and training purposes. Scott Shaw is chairman of the game design and development program and the video and motion graphics program at Wilmington University. Here, he lends insight on this burgeoning field.
When did Wilmington University develop these programs, and how big have they become?
I came on board full time in 2009, and we launched the program in 2010. The major is called game design and development, and we currently enroll about 150 students.
What skills do students need to enter the program?
What’s most important is that students have interest and desire. It helps if they’ve learned a little about programming, design, animation, Photoshop, 3D CAD or 3D modeling while in high school.
When you talk about gaming, there’s more to it than entertainment, right?
Yes, and even when you look at games like Angry Birds, there’s a serious amount of math and physics and trajectories involved [in the movement of the birds]. There’s a lot of math that gets overlooked that is essential to entertainment games. And, our students learn how to create games with educational value.
We’ve utilized the higher-level portion of the game curriculum to build three versions of a flash-card game. One of my students is going to adapt that flash-card game model into a quiz for a game-design course. We also built a game for the university’s child advocacy course. It’s a simulation of a house that students look through to identify items or situations that could indicate that a child isn’t being cared for properly.
Where do students go when they graduate?
Some start their own companies. Others find jobs with game companies. And some have gone to work for bigger companies that may want to use gamification for in-house training but don’t have anyone on their team with that acumen.