Students Showcase Original Video Games

RALEIGH, N.C. (July 22, 2020) Wake Tech’s 43 soon-to-be simulation and game development graduates showcased their cool video game development skills during a virtual presentation on YouTube Tuesday night.

For the past nine weeks this summer, nine teams of students worked together to make a finished video game from scratch. The teams ranged in size from one student to 8 students collaborating to design a different video game. Five teams designed an adventure/shooting game; two teams chose fighting-style; and one team picked puzzle game and another designed a simulation game.

Instructor Ken Turner said the capstone project allows students to learn how to build and design games for a game development company. During the development process, he said the students receive helpful guidance and feedback from industry representatives from Epic Games, Red Storm Entertainment, and Red Bull. This year, three Red Bull reps, including a professional esports gamer, mentored students, offered advice on what professional players are looking for in a video game, and helped evaluate the projects.

Turner said many students will receive job interviews from the local companies based on these game designs.

“The class is set up like a real-world scenario where the students are working for a development company,” Turner said. “There are lead meetings, general class meetings, deadlines, changing schedules and whatever else needs to be done to simulate a real job. Many of our students have never had a corporate job, so all of this gives them an idea how to work in a ‘real’ job. They cannot bring anything into the class that was pre-made and this helps them focus on deadlines, project and time management, and project planning skills.”

Usually, the presentations are highlighted during an in-person event on campus, but the pandemic forced the event online. During the event, students presented their game, discussed the roles of each team member in development, and shared skills they learned during the project. Some 650 people watched the presentations on YouTube.

Wake Tech offers a two-year associate in applied science degree and a variety of certificates in simulation and game development. Graduates should qualify for employment as testers, quality assurance analysts, artists, animators, programmers, designers, engineers, and administrators. Jobs are available in the entertainment industry, health care, education, corporate training, and government organizations. 

Wake Tech’s Simulation and Game Development program started in 2006 with a grant from the National Science Foundation. The program has about 375 students enrolled each semester. Graduates are employed by industry leaders such as Epic, Red Storm, as well as Puny Human, Imangi, and Limited Run Games. Many also publish their own titles. Thanks to two National Science Foundation (NSF) grants over the past year, the program is adding four new courses in 3D Data Capture, Technical Art, Photogrammetry, and Technical Animation as well as offering internship opportunities to 15 students once they complete one of the grant-developed courses.

Wake Tech is also adding esports as part of its competitive athletics programs.

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