Teen Gaming Academy Expands to Seattle and Chicago
“We have a lot of gamers who come to us expecting the experience to be easy—but developing games requires patience, the ability to work in teams—and you’ve got to be good. The industry is growing, and the competition is strong. We give our students a leg up,” says Pete Ingram-Cauchi, CEO of the iD Gaming Academy.
The Academy has locations at Stanford University, Villanova University, Emory University, and now the University of Washington in Seattle and Lake Forest College in Chicago. The summer programs are strategically located close to some of the country’s premiere gaming studios including Electronic Arts, Valve, Microsoft Game Studios, Hi-Rez Studios, and Big Huge Games. The Academy incorporates tours of many of these studios into its curriculum. “We want to give them a taste for what a real gaming studio looks like and feels like,” says Ingram-Cauchi.
The Academy hires industry professionals with game development experience. Jay Vales is a 3D Modeling instructor at the Academy, and has professional credits working on many well known games including the massively multi-player online role playing game (MMORPG) World of Warcraft. Alex Liebert, another Academy instructor, is an indie game developer and owner of Aqualux Deluxe which is a Web-based action/puzzle game.”It’s really gratifying to see the satisfaction in a student’s face at the moment something clicks—when they’ve wrapped their head around a tough concept and created something they’re proud of. There’s a thrill in seeing your (game) ideas come to life,” says Liebert.
Teen students look to the Academy to teach the building blocks of gaming. And it might be a smart choice for those considering the potential of the gaming industry as a career choice. A nod to the long term sustainability of gaming, a recent Business Week article outlined the fact that the video game industry posted $1.52 billion in March 2010 sales, up 6% over the same period a year ago. The growing importance of video games is hard to miss. A recent USA Today article stated that Erskine Bowles, head of the Obama administration's budget-balancing task force, had contacted Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to see if the company could build a video game that would allow gamers "to take a stab at balancing the budget."
And recently, Google Inc. CEO Eric Schmidt suggested that playing multiplayer video games “ is good training for a career in tech."
The summer gaming camp provides instruction in different two-week courses, and enhances the gaming experience with gaming tournaments powered by Nvidia. The teen camp courses include Modeling and Animation with Maya, and Programming for Game Consoles, which allows users to develop games for delivery on the PC or Xbox 360. Other academy courses include Level Design – Unreal Engine 3, where Teens mod Unreal Tournament 3 with the same engine used for the Gears of War and Bio Shock series.