Are you a year 12 student apprehensively staring at the UAC guide? Rather be saving the galaxy from Reapers, blasting zombies, or tending a farm? Flip through Macquarie University’s section and you will find two new offerings for the year commencing 2012 that might be the solution to your problems.
Starting right now Macquarie is offering a Bachelor of Information Technology – Games Design and Development and a major within the Bachelor of Arts: Interactivity and Games.
Macquarie’s approach to this field is innovative and stands out from any other offering in NSW. Our philosophy is that videogames are more than software; they are art with all the critical and cultural baggage that goes with that. So our graduates, even the BIT students, will be exposed to the artistic, critical and cultural side of gaming with the aim to create better games, not just fancier graphics. At the core of both offerings are a series of new units designed specifically to bridge the gap between the technical and artistic sides of videogames. All of these units were designed collaboratively between the Computing Department (Faculty of Science) and Media, Music, Communications and Cultural Studies Department (Faculty of Arts). This means that students in either course will sometimes be in computer labs, and at other times be reading, writing and talking about videogames in Arts-style tutorial groups. You’ll be working together across the two Faculties to create these hybrid objects in the joint project units.
The BIT – Games Design and Development is built upon the existing BIT in software development, and is run by the Computing Department. This means that graduates of this course will have the vital grounding and experience in the fundamental technology and programming concepts required to build any complex software system, including videogames. There are a series of new videogame-specialist units required by this course which will focus your technology skills towards building videogames. The Arts/Media-style units will introduce Computing students to concepts of criticism and cultural theory in order to better understand how their creations will fit into the society that consumes them.
The Arts major, Interactivity and Gaming is the newest development from within the various media specialties offered at Macquarie. Graduates of this major will have a deep critical understanding of media, in particular interactive and digital media. This major is not purely theoretical, though. Students will complete practical videogame projects with their BIT colleagues, as well as gain some hands-on experience with interactive web design or other media disciplines offered within the department.
This is a growing area at Macquarie – we are constantly investing in world-class media production hardware, new games for the labs, or development tools for undergraduates. Further, our brand-new Interactive Media Institute is looking for projects and proposals from industry or interested post-graduate students in virtually any area of digital and interactive media. We are strongly focused on bringing together talented producers from any discipline or background, whether from film, audio, programming, design, graphic arts or writing to name a few.
For our undergraduates, we want to offer an education that is more than the contents of a C++ textbook. We want to explore not only how to make games, but why. What is important about videogames? How do we deal with the discourse around our favourite medium? How can we ensure that we really are pushing the medium forward, and creating art worth our time? These are important questions to answer as videogames mature – and it’s going to be this coming generation of developers that will do it.