This September, Sheridan College (Oakville, Ontario) will welcome the first students in Canada to its new four-year BA program in Game Design. According to a 2012 report by the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, our country’s video game industry generates $1.7 billion in direct economic impact and it ranks third worldwide based on number of employees. The report adds that there are 348 companies operating in this sector and 77% expect to hire new graduates.
“Gaming is a rapidly growing cultural industry in Canada and one that’s maturing in complexity and sophistication,” said Ronni Rosenberg, Dean of Sheridan’s Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design (pictured previously). “We have a wide range of players, from young start-up studios to multi-national companies who tackle everything from traditional console games to games for mobile devices or social platforms. Yet Canada lacks a comprehensive educational program that can prepare the high-tech, high-touch game designers and artists needed to sustain the industry’s future.”
Students in the new degree program will learn to create compelling content for multiple gaming applications, including triple-A, serious, casual, and mobile. “But gaming is about more than entertainment,” said Avrim Katzman, Program Coordinator for the new degree. “It’s already being applied to help seniors combat memory loss, to make learning more immersive and to drive behaviour change.”
Students will study the historical, cultural, sociological and psychological aspects of computer games so they know how to engage with an audience. By designing within the framework of an overall narrative structure, they will learn to create interesting plots, subplots and gameplay to help people develop an affinity with the characters. Students will also take courses in mathematics, physics and artificial intelligence to satisfy Sheridan’s emphasis on computation and technology. By managing the production of a computer game from concept to distribution, students will also gain important business skills such as scheduling, budgeting and project management.
While the University of Ontario Institute in Technology does offer a Bachelor of IT with a stream in Game Development and Entrepreneurship, and the Vancouver Arts School offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a similar emphasis, Sheridan’s Game Design program will be the first fully dedicated Bachelor Degree in Canada. Its content is aligned with highly successful programs of its type in the U.S., Britain and Australia. Over 600 students applied for the program in a process that included a presentation of their portfolio and two short essays on design. Seventy-five students have been admitted for September.
More information: http://sheridancollege.ca/programs-and-courses/our-programs/bachelor-of-game-design.aspx.