Gamers, programmers and animators alike will now not only have the opportunity to receive a certificate in game design, but a B.A. in game design as well.
Animation Assistant Professor Christopher Sagovac said the B.A. in game design will be a combination of both interactive digital media and animation. He said the degree will allow a student to focus on game design and development. A few of the classes offered will be in video production, games and society and a senior overview in which students are required to create their own games.
The game design program will launch next fall after four years of planning. Sagovac said after surveying the industry, student interest and other schools’ game design programs, the curriculum committee passed the degree.
Sagovic said St. Louis is a big start-up area for gaming companies such as Simutronics, a branch of Riot Games, and Butterscotch Shenanigans.
Webster junior Evan Luberda has anticipated this degree since he was a freshman. Luberda said although he can take classes in programming and animation, the new program will allow him to combine both and enable him to create his lifelong passion: games.
“Nothing beats sitting behind a computer, hitting a couple of keys and later seeing something happen, seeing something come to life,” Luberda said.
Luberda is the president of Webster University’s game developer’s club, where computer programmers and artists spend their free time creating games. This semester, their project is a web game called Time Traveler’s Tale. The story of the game is centered on a cashier named Anne who finds a book that teaches her to build a time machine. The game allows the player to travel through different realms and reach various levels. Luberda said the game should be finished by the end of the semester.
Luberda said each game the club creates not only builds student portfolios but also advertises for Webster by posting Webster University’s logo before each game. In late April, Webster University will be hosting Game Jam. Game Jam is a competition in which game developers have 24 hours to create a game.
Webster students interested in game design participate in Game Jam. Media communications major Travis Strong participated in University of Missouri – St. Louis’ Global Game Jam in January. Strong was part of an art team in the Global Game Jam that created digital art for a game called Act or Something.
Strong is near his graduation plan and is working on receiving a game design certificate but if possible he would prefer to obtain his degree in game design.
“I’m going to be up against other people who have specific degrees that are targeted toward the game industry and they would have an advantage over me,” Strong said.
Sagovac said the department is currently in a worldwide search for a full tenure track faculty member.