By Joe Wyatt

Opportunities abound in the burgeoning video-game industry, which is why Amarillo College established a Game Design certificate last fall that empowers students to take aim at careers in gaming and create portfolio-building games of their own.

The 18-hour certificate program, now in its second semester, is designed to appeal to career-minded individuals; however, hobbyists are equally welcome to complete the certificate, or to simply sample any portions of the curriculum they find appealing.

Offered through the Computer Information Systems (CIS) department, the certificate is comprised of four required courses drawn from CIS and art: Design and Creation of Games, Video Game Design, Basic Animation and Game Engine.

To round out the 18-hour program, students can choose two additional classes from several relevant electives in web programming, animation art, 3-D modeling and rendering, and game scripting – whichever ones fit their interests or aims.

As a capstone to the certificate, individuals, or those who choose to work in small teams, present their completed video games at a campus forum.

“I was very pleased with what our students had accomplished by the end of our first semester last fall,” said Joseph Melius, instructor of CIS. “Gaming is such a huge industry, and this certificate program gives our students a chance to get started in any number of career opportunities.

“The big draw,” Melius said, “is that game design is not one-dimensional – graphic artists, sculptors, programmers, script writers can all have their fingerprints on a given project. You get meaningful collaboration and really can create or invent whatever you want; it’s boundless.”

For more information about the Game Design certificate program at Amarillo College, please contact Joseph Melius –  806-371-5213 or jamelius@actx.edu, or Karen Boatman, program coordinator – 806-371-5930 or keboatman@actx.edu.