Lynchburg College is one of the 50 best undergraduate institutions in the U.S. and Canada for studying game design, according to The Princeton Review’s “Top 50 Undergraduate Game Design Programs” list. LC is one of only two schools in Virginia to make the list.
The first project of its kind, the list was developed in partnership with GamePro, one of the top publications in the video game industry, reaching more than three million gamers a month.
Lynchburg College’s gaming class is taught by Dr. Will Briggs, associate professor of computer science. “From the students’ perspective, the class is about making cool games,” Dr. Briggs said, “but from an educational perspective, the class focuses on 3-D graphics, sound, and user interaction. Even more importantly, they learn to work on large projects in teams.”
Briggs started teaching a games class in 2001 to introduce graphics work into LC’s computer science major. Most of the games created are 3-D shooters.
“We are learning how to implement multi-textured terrain generation, create a 3-D skybox, perform collision detection with static objects on the terrain, as well as moving objects like bullets coming from the player,” said Matt Pietsch, a senior in the class from Lynchburg, Va. “We are also going to try and implement a server/client multiplayer ability in our game. I like that we are able to learn about the theories of video game implementation, and we can actually watch the code affect the real-time game environment.”
Michael Holt, a 2009 graduate of LC’s computer science program, said the gaming class helped him prepare for life after college. He is now a software engineer at VGT (Video Gaming Technologies) in Charlottesville, Va., working on the server side of gaming technology. He said the collaborative work in Dr. Briggs’ class has helped the most in his new job.
The Top 50 list is reported in GamePro’s April 2010 issue and on the website of The Princeton Review. It names eight programs for top honors in rank order, with the remaining 42 programs listed in alphabetical order.
Of the roughly 500 programs at which students can study game design in the U.S. and Canada, The Princeton Review selected 50 based on a survey it conducted in 2009-10 of institutions offering game design coursework and/or degrees. The comprehensive survey numbered more than 50 questions and covered areas from academics and faculty credentials to graduates’ employment and career achievements.
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