MSU game design program ranks in top 10, number one in Big Ten
Students at MSU are learning how to design the next big video game.
The Princeton Review recently released its 2017 rankings of the best undergraduate and graduate schools for students to study game design. MSU ranked number one in the Big Ten for undergraduate game design, ranking No. 10 for undergraduate and No. 11 for graduate programs, which are based off a different ranking system.
According to The Princeton Review press release, the schools are chosen based on its 2016 survey of 150 institutions in the U.S., Canada and abroad offering game design degree programs or courses. The survey consists of academic offerings, lab facilities, graduates’ starting salaries and career achievements.
“It’s an interdisciplinary program, so it's bringing in students from three different majors — computer science and engineering, studio art and media and information — together to flow through sequence of courses,” said Brian Winn, director of the Games for Entertainment and Learning Lab, or GEL, and associate professor in media and information.
With the addition of the new immersive media studio as a high-end game development lab and three new experienced faculty this year, the program continues to improve.
“We were to be able to bring on three new faculty that started just this year, and they represent both depth of experience in the industry and in academic research that they’re bringing to the program and enhancing what we do and what we teach,” he said.
Johannes Bauer, professor and chairperson of the Department of Media and Information, said the program integrates both the design aspect and programming aspect of game development and offers students opportunities to work with both serious games and entertainment games.
“There’s both serious games and games for entertainment, both very strong in our program. … Currently, probably the serious game program is a little stronger at the graduate level, but undergraduates can also participate in it and that's very unique about our program,” Bauer said.
The quality of the teaching, regarding what and how they can do it, has been greatly improved with the new studio space, Bauer said.
“It’s not only an immersive studio, but an immersive environment in which it takes place,” he said.
William Jeffery, the GEL lab manager and academic specialist and instructor, said the lab is a research and development lab that's housed in the same building as all the game designing classes.
“We look (through teaching) for the kind of best and brightest students in the program … then we offer them jobs in the lab to work on game projects with our clients to develop our software, our games and give them some real word experience working in the game lab, working on game projects and working with clients," Jeffrey said.