We have a classroom filled with Alienware desktops suited to helping students learn the tools to create games and animations.
Unreal Engine 4
Unreal Engine 4 is one of the most powerful and accessible engines used in the game industry. Unreal is a complete suite of game development tools, created by game developers for game developers. From mobile games to AAA games and the newer VR market, Unreal Engine 4 gives you the tools to start and ship your game. Unreal Engine 4 is installed on most of the desktops in the gaming department, making a very accessible engine readily available for students to use.
The Unity Game Engine is also a premier choice for most of the gaming studios in the world. It can be used to make AAA console games for Xbox, Playstation and Wii U, as well as 2D/3D iPhone and Android games and games that play right in your internet browser!
Our program has acquired multiple Oculus Rift Virtual Reality development kits, which we are currently using to develop games through Unity. This technology is just getting in the hands of game development studios themselves, so this allows our program to stay on the forefront of what’s going on in the industry.
Our students are allowed to check out these kits and play, test and develop games on their own. As we integrate this technology into our classes, we are learning each day how exciting it is. There are currently very few colleges that have access to it. Students at Richland in the ISGT department have access to our Cintiq 24 HD monitors, which allow you to draw incredibly precise art right on the screen. These tablets are top-of-the-line industry tablets used by gaming and art professionals around the world.
Samsung Gear VR
The Samsung Gear VR is available at Richland for students to develop games with. Connecting to Galaxy Note 5 phones, we are able to create content for Android. The Samsung Gear VR also comes with a touchpad and wonderful sensitivity settings.
HTC and Valve developed VIVE to deliver on the promise of VR. VIVE offers one of the most immersive VR experiences, tracking all your movements with motion controllers in a 10-foot space instead of just your seat. The ISGT department now has access to VIVE units that are ready to have some games developed for them. The VR market is still in its infancy, and being able to develop for such a device at the campus can give you an advantage in this competitive industry.
Tortoise SVN is a simple, easy to use revision control/version control/source control software for Windows. It has a very accessible interface and can be used by anyone, even in a commercial environment. This makes Tortoise SVN an excellent way for you and your team to consolidate and organize your projects and work on them together in a very cohesive way.
Animated 3D characters. No 3D knowledge required. Rapidly create, rig and animate unique characters for design projects. Rig your 3D characters automatically, create characters from scratch or grab from a collection of 3D models to get started with your projects instantly.
Microsoft Visual Studio
Microsoft Visual Studio is used to develop computer programs for Microsoft Windows, as well as websites, web apps, web services and mobile apps. It’s a code editor and compiler/debugger that supports different programming languages. Microsoft provides a free version of Visual Studio called the Community Edition that supports plugins and is available at no cost for all users.
Vicon Blade is a comprehensive software program that can be used as a motion capture editing application. The program can be used to record, track and solve motion capture data.
ISGT has become an official developer partner of Leap Motion. We are currently developing with technology and merging with our other technologies like Oculus and Unity.
Leap could potentially be the future of PC interfaces, ultimately doing away with the keyboard and mouse altogether, even more so than touch screens. Richland wants to be on the forefront of this with our instruction and development.
3D printing is here and not going anywhere. In the ISGT program, students have access to our MakerBot Replicator 2, which is one of the industry-leading 3D printers. Our students will learn how to use MakerWare software to print their own 3D models in a variety of classes we teach here.
3D printing technology will continue to evolve and get better and better. Learning how to use this technology is not only very cool, but will also be a must for the future, as the days of printing in 2D will soon be a thing of the past!
ZBrush is the primary 3D sculpting tool we use in the ISGT program at Richland. It is currently the industry standard for gaming and current- and next-generation 3D modeling and sculpting.
With ZBrush our students are able to sculpt high-resolution 3D characters, weapons, environment set pieces and much more. By using millions of polygons for detail, ZBrush then takes those assets into the game, while keeping all of the detail by using a technique called normal mapping.
Autodesk Maya is arguably the premier 3D animation tool used in the video game development industry. In the ISGT department we use Maya mainly for animation; however, we also use it for character rigging.
With its powerful graph editor, dope sheet, animation engine and suite of rigging tools, Maya helps our students at bring characters in games to life quickly and efficiently. Maya also directly combines our primary video game engine, Unity 3D, which makes integration of characters into games seamless!
Autodesk 3ds Max
Autodesk 3ds Max is the most prominent 3D modeling package for games there is. Mainly used to model and texture environments, as well as for seamless integration with ZBrush, this package helps our students learn how to develop great looking 3D levels for their games. 3ds Max also seamlessly combines with the Unity 3D Engine, allowing environments to be textured and lit in either package. Shader integration is also a plus, allowing our students to set up specific shaders in 3ds Max and port them straight into Unity.
Knowing how to use Adobe Photoshop is about as common these days as knowing Microsoft Word. At Richland, we go beyond just knowing the software, giving our students a deeper, more masterful exposure to the program, which they will use in 90 percent of their classes.
An essential art package, Photoshop allows us to make all kinds of art for our games, such as user interfaces, game logos, menus, textures for characters, environments and much more. This product is a must to master and seamlessly blends into Unity as well.
Houdini is a powerful 3D program with improved ease-of-use functions and a level of flexibility and control that will enhance the way you work creatively. Houdini has a node-based workflow and rapid prototyping and reusability. The tools are all procedural, and you can get access to attributes from spawn to final renders.
Perforce is version control software that gives management on game projects the ability to connect different users to work at the same time. This software is also used to revise, edit and compare different versions of a project. These tools are essential for the organization of group projects.
Modo is for design exploration, game content creation, character animation and the production of high-quality advertising images. Artists, designers and students are free to explore and focus on creative efforts that maximize quality output in less time. MODO offers modeling, sculpting, painting, effects and animation tools in one cohesive, easy-to-use content creation package, with unlimited network rendering capabilities and MeshFusion. Boolean tools included.
MARI is the 3D paint tool for VFX, animation and game productions. MARI is capable of handling multiple high-resolution textures and millions of polygons without ever compromising on speed or efficiency, allowing for painting directly onto 3D models in a fluid and flexible way.
Substance Painter is a 3D software used in the creation of textures on 3D assets.
Substance Painter works like painting on your 3D models. Each stroke applies all channels at once in real-time, with each map going to 4K resolution so you can get right into creating your artwork. Ultra-realistic weathering effects look natural.
Substance Designer 5
Substance Designer is a node-based texture creation software. The nodes can help create a nonlinear and nondestructive workflow that can be used for editing and creating variation. Substance Designer gives a lot of control to layering and generating effects.
Bitmap2Material is software that takes a single image and creates a full material with multiple maps to add to a 3D software or game engine. It is also able to work with different workflows to provide many possibilities.
Brekel Pro Hands is a Windows application that enables 3D animators to do hand and finger (and forearm) motion capture behind their desk using Leap Motion sensors. The tracker is based on computer vision algorithms and a trained tracking model of hands.
Faceware is facial animation
software featuring cutting-edge technology and an intuitive artist-friendly workflow. The software helps our students capture stunning, realistic facial motion from an actor with a single video camera, completely markerless. You can create high-quality, realistic facial animation on any character rig in Autodesk 3ds Max, Maya and other programs, and you can stream facial animation data onto any custom character in MotionBuilder or Unity.
Trello is an easy and flexible application that offers a great visual way to manage projects and keep them organized.
Discord — the chat app for gamers — is also a great way to work collaboratively with people in game projects and have meetings in voice channels. Our game department even has its own server on the front page. Check it out.