Training game designers of tomorrow


Staff Reporter

Attending college to create video games sounds like a dream come true for some. Now it can be a reality for students at Amarillo College.

A new program, which began this fall, is teaching students how to design, develop and build their own video games. 

Video game design is one of the many certificate programs offered through AC’s computer information systems department. Game design can be completed in only 18 semester hours, according to the program website. 

Mark Nair, one of the game design instructors, said he is excited about the program’s future. “My dream is that these students can build their own game design companies right here in Amarillo,” Nair said. “This program creates a supply chain for talent.”            

What makes this program stand out, according to Nair, is that it takes a new approach with classes that mirror the actual market, both conceptually and in design. AC offers classes that focus on game design, animation, programming and 3-D modeling. “My goal is to step into a video design career,” Ashton Payton, a game design major, said. 

 Nair said the video game design program integrates with AC’S new VFX program. VFX stands for visual effects used in film, television and gaming. 

Because the game design program will tie in with VFX, Nair said he sees the game design program’s potential to expand and offer more options in the future.        

The adviser for the program, Payton Noel, said the response from students has been positive. “I’ve been in contact with many new and returning students,” Noel said. “It’s been a pleasure to hear about their interests and curiosities surrounding design and creation of games. These students have varied backgrounds and goals uniquely grounded in programming, the arts and storytelling.”

There are three major course requirements, all focused on game design and game engines, but there are also options for students to choose areas of specialization. 

For instance, students can choose to take basic animation or they can take a different route and choose beginning webpage programming. The certificate program can be specifically tailored to a student’s interests in this way.

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