Press Start Button to Begin: New Game Design Class
Students at Santa Monica College will be given the chance to take game design courses in the spring semester at the Academy of Entertainment and Technology.
These courses will teach students the most basic to complex principles and elements of game designing such as play mechanics, system dynamics and its history.
Students will be able to grasp these skills so that they can compete in today's job market.
Currently, the video game industry makes about $14 billion; that is more than twice the annual income of the film industry.
Since video games are very popular at this moment and many well-known companies like Nintendo are looking for developers to make new games, many schools like SMC begin offering courses to fill the need for game developers.
Other schools are also beginning to offer courses in game design such as the University of Southern California, which has received a large grant from Electronic Arts, a well-respected company, in order to begin teaching students how to develop games.
SanFranciscoGate.com, the website of the San Francisco Chronicle, said that some schools have already begun to offer master's programs for video game design: For example, Georgia Tech has started one in the field of game development.
According to a story in The Argonaut of Feb. 3, not only will students at SMC be able to take courses on how to design games, but they will also be given the chance to acquire game certificates, which are degrees that they receive upon the completion of roughly two years or four semesters of game design courses.
One of the classes that students are required to take in order to get the game certificate is Game Design and Interactive Play Mechanics I, taught by David Javelosa.
Javelosa said, "I've been here for four years; we finalized the course outline last spring with a presentation we showed last semester to the school."
He worked with William Lancaster, chair of the academy's design technology department, in order to get the class up and running. They had no trouble on acquiring the class, and Javelosa was very optimistic on the turnout.
Javelosa started the semester on a light note, by explaining that "game academics is still brand new" and that the subject should not be considered only as "fun and play."
He explained different concepts to the class such as "game design is a group dynamic" and the necessity for working together on projects is the key for success in the field of video game design.
One of the basic theories of the class is "designing, prototyping, and testing." Students hung on to every word Javelosa had to say.
Enrolled student Mario Alarcon spoke excitedly about the new class. "I always wanted to learn how to make games," Alarcon said. He was one of the many who felt designing video games is a job worth having.
Fellow SMC student Isaias Rojas worried that he wouldn't be admitted to the class but felt it was worth a shot to check it out.
"The class seems very interesting. I hope there is still room for it," he said softly.
Alacron was lucky. "I signed up early, because I wanted to take the class," he said.
Not all students felt positive about the class. Student Jose Padilla wasn't optimistic about doing well in the course.
"I will try my best, but I do not have a backup plan," he said in a low voice. He is probably not alone, because video game developing is a demanding and very challenging career path, but it does have its perks.
Companies look at schools that have the game developing programs, and begin to hire students right out of school. According to SFGate.com, 22 percent of Sony's Computer Entertainment of America, in Foster City, is students who recently completed school.
Not only does SMC have game development courses, but it also has a club that is devoted to gaming. When asked, Javelosa mentioned that the gaming club would resume after a hiatus of a whole semester because of some personal issues. The "concept of gaming club will re-surge," said Javelosa.
Javelosa teaches the course in Interactive Play Mechanics on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 12:05 p.m. in the AET at 1660 Stewart St.