School of Game Development | Developing Game Makers


[David Goodwine] So the whole vision
of this department is to have students coming in
to work on what makes them happy. [Charles Huenergardt] There’s many different
disciplines in game development — we specialize in animation for games,
and modeling for games. Level design and system design,
and visual effects for games. And now programming — so we have like the complete team
come together to actually
make student projects. [Andrew Miller] You can experiment with modeling,
you can experiment with design, camera layout, staging. [Michael Buffington] Every class
starts off with skill building. And then the latter part of the class
is all about applying those skills that were learned in the first part of the class. [Huenergardt] One thing that we pride ourselves on
is creating a real-world work environment. [Goodwine] They’re working on games in the pipeline. The whole goal is to publish the game. [An Chung] Our teachers are from the game industry
and they have experience for several years. [Pryce Jones] The game studios
in the Bay Area especially — we have instructors from those studios. They’re actively working in those studios. [Steve Goodale] The San Francisco Bay Area
is the biggest hub of game development
in the entire world. [Huenergardt] We’re constantly having
industry pros coming in, giving guest lectures to speak about
the latest workflows and tools in the industry. [Phillip Kauffold] The first time I tried VR,
I pretty much drank all the Kool-Aid. I find it to be an incredible immersive experience. The idea of kind of the world falling away
and you’re in this completely different place, it’s sort of games the way I always
kind of dreamed about them being played. As these things are coming along,
you have to be looking at them. How are you going to move around in VR? You can’t theoretically work on these things. You actually have to get your hands dirty. I think it’s critical to actually introduce it to students to give them an opportunity to actually
understand what that’s going to be. [Buffington] As much as I love being
in the industry full-time, I actually love being a teacher more, because I get to affect people in a positive way. And to me, that’s much more gratifying. [Kauffold] This is actually
one of the best organizations
I think I’ve ever been a part of. Everybody I know who’s teaching
absolutely loves it. [Huenergardt] What makes the Academy
unique and different is the camaraderie, the culture, and the tools that students walk away with. [Kauffold] The students actually
kind of charge my batteries in a lot of ways, because it’s just kind of this
raw creative energy. [Goodwine] So whether it’s art, game design,
programming — [Kauffold] You’ve got a level of enthusiasm
and just a passion for what you’re doing. I really appreciate just being
around that as an instructor and the work that I see coming out
of the students is amazing. [Toby Tau] My experience
in Academy of Art University — it’s been awesome. Without their support, I don’t think I would go this far — I’m grateful. [Buffington] When they do succeed
and they do get jobs in the industry — you know, I kind of have this feeling of pride. That’s something that’s really cool
and really special to me. [Miller] We have to create something,
but not just make it nice. We have to actually make it work. To create a character,
set up the controls, and to animate it, and see somebody else
out there play your game, and you know, see it come to life. It’s just a lot of fun.

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