Not only are we... one of the best programs in the Dallas Community College District, but we're very fortunate to be here in the Dallas area, which is a hotbed for video game companies. It's a great experience, for me, because I love computers, and I love high-end computers.
It's not easy to make games, but in a place like Richland College, you're going to come to understand what it actually takes to become a professional game developer. Well, I hope that Richland can turn me into a professional animator, for both games or studios.
I would say my favorite thing is when a student comes in, and they know nothing about making games, or producing games, and I show them a little bit of everything, and then one thing they'll take to, and they'll say that's what I want to do! And that's our main focus, here at Richland College.
Well, I actually started programming when I was 11, with a program called Game Maker an amateur game development software. I first got interested in gaming when I was about three-years old, I wanted to be just like my big brother, so when he would be playing video games, on his Sega Genesis, he would sit down and hand me the player two controller and just let me button-mash away.
I've, I've been hooked ever since. I found Richland, just really, a simple Google search... I was trying to find, you know, good programs and everything, and this came up as one of the best programs in north Texas.
Actually, I was an international student, I lived in Vietnam... and then one day, my mom decided that I could expand my potential, my major potential... in America! My mom asked my uncle to find a good school, for me to learn, so he said well Richland College is the one, because my cousin once... studied here. He loved it, he missed it, when he transferred to UTD.
I would say that the majority of our students that come into our program may like playing games... but they don't necessarily know what it is to develop games -- what the process is there... and so when they take our Intro Development class
What I do is... I basically take them from becoming a gamer, and show them how to become a gaming professional. The best thing to start with, if you're interested in getting into the Video Game Design Program... is to start with the "Intro" class, because that gives you a great overview over, you know, you've got programming, you've got modeling animation, Some of the classes that we offer are: Character Animation, Character Modeling, Level Design, Programming, and... Concept Art... and our "Capstone" class, which is our... project development class. In that class, the students all team up, and we create a game in 16 weeks.
So another thing that Richland is really good at is... the fact that we're very production-oriented. We're getting to use this technology in an actual... projects-environment, where you know we've got specialized students who are going into animation, modeling... programming. They're getting to use a software, and technology, in an environment that simulates the industry.
There's some new technology that we've been working with, which is the "Leap" motion which not very many people have... and the fact that I get to work with the equipment that they're using... in the industry, right now, just really prepares me for what I'm going to be doing when I graduate.
We try and stay up to date with all the latest technology. Anytime something comes out -- we buy it, right away, and integrate it into our... pipeline, and make sure our students know how to use it. First and foremost, we start off with developing on Alienware computers.
We have brand new Alienware computers, which are super fast... and we have all the latest software -- we use Maya, Photoshop, Unreal 4, and the new Unity Engine, which allows us to prototype and build games, very quickly.
We have Oculus Rift Virtual Reality goggles. Another piece of technology that we're getting in... is the Virtuix Omni Treadmill, which allows you to actually... walk around on a treadmill, so you're walking around in a 3D-game environment. Another nice tool that we have in the Gaming Department is our 3D printer.
Last term, we actually built a board game and our students build 3D models of characters that we printed out as game pieces, and we're able to play-test that game, using the actual 3D... physical pieces that we produced with 3D printer.
We are getting a brand new, motion capture system. It's an organic motion system -- it's marker-less, so you don't have to put on the suits or the little balls, all that goes away. It's state-of-the-art... and we're going to be teaching our students how to use it, and exactly how the industry uses it, so that when they graduate, they can have those skills to go out and apply those in the industry.
In the field I'm going into is programming, so being able to make a 3D-model move, or act, or interact with an environment... is very very interesting to me. The prices here at Richland for getting a degree in gaming is... just extremely more cost-effective, than going to like a big university, and spending tens of thousands of dollars. Instead, It's just a few hundred dollars every semester.
You can go take a few classes, figure out if you like it, and if you don't, you haven't spent very much... and if you do... it really doesn't cost much to complete.
Each year, we have the Gaming and Multimedia Technology Festival... when we bring in the best possible people, we can get in, to talk to the students and give presentations, and show off and lecture.
It's cool, because they get up afterwards, and they're able to interact with these people, get their contact information, and if they have any questions, or whatever, they can ask them. It's just really good for the students to see the professionals.
Richland College is an excellent campus... to be at, I mean it's beautiful. We have a lake here, tennis courts, workout facilities, and lots of brand new buildings, it's really a gorgeous campus for the students when they're working really hard, they can get up and they can take a break, and there's really a good sense of community here, too. The students are very active and very diverse
We're in, you know, the technology industry. You're sitting down, you're at a computer for hours-on-end, but another thing that's great about the campus is, you know, it's got trees everywhere... It's great for... for de-stressing, to be able to walk between classes.
If there are any students that are interested in the program, they can contact me. My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll sit down with them, and discuss the entire program, and see if it's a good fit for them.