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Education / Gaming / Universities

MICA’s game design program is leveling up

The college is offering a bachelor's degree in game design for the first time, starting in the fall.

Playing "Mister Mart" at Gamescape 2016. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

MICA is already known for being a key training ground for game designers that go on to work at studios in Baltimore and Hunt Valley. But next fall, students will be able to get a degree in building games for the first time.
In the 2017-18 school year, the college will begin offering a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Game Design. The school previously had a concentration in game arts, but the program is another level up.


Since arriving about five years ago, faculty member Jason Corace established a game design presence with the MICA Game Lab and taught classes as part of the concentration. But it’s been growing to the point where the classes can’t hold all of the material. Plus, he wants to give students proper resources to produce.
“We expect our students to be game makers and make finished games,” he said.
The expanded program will allow for teaching in a variety of topics like 3D or mobile game design, or look specifically at building levels and tabletop games. It also means encouraging the collaborative atmosphere that is found in the industry.
“Students rarely, if ever, make a game by themselves. They’re always making games on teams,” he said.
That involves learning about project management, and how to iterate.
“You’re constantly having people playing it and improving your design,” Corace said.
The creative approach taken by an art school also encourages storytelling and a philosophical look at their cultural role that a more technical program may not look to approach, he added.
Plus, there’s the industry right nearby.
“Baltimore has one of the great hidden game histories,” Corace said.. “It’s an exciting place to have a program because we do have big industry players nearby.”
For those who may be a bit beyond the BFA, MICA is also set to host a game designer in residence for the first time in the fall of 2017. More info on that can be found in this PDF.

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