The program taps the needs of a growing industry that requires employees with an aptitude for the sciences and the creativity of an artist, said Scott Martin, GMU assistant dean and associate professor for arts management in the College of Visual and Performing Arts.
But with a curriculum that draws from computer science as well as visual and digital arts, the major is not just about fun and games.
A senior course is planned, for example, in which students will develop games for nonentertainment purposes such as business management and medical training.
said a huge growth area in the industry is the development of educational programs for teacher training and K-12 curriculums.
The military also uses games that run the gamut from preparing soldiers to go into war to helping them readjust to civilian life.
That's one reason for the high demand for game designers in the Washington area, Martin
The area is home to such gaming companies as EA Mythic Inc.
, developer of the online role-playing game Dark Age of Camelot, and ProGames Network, which distributes Hollywood action-adventure games including "Godzilla-Monster Mayhem."
has established an advisory board that includes executives from gaming companies to ensure the program curriculum meets the needs of the industry.
Currently, many in the industry have fine-arts backgrounds, "but the technical requirements are very difficult" and they often need retraining, he
program will focus on the creative design side while computer science courses will help students "understand what can and cannot be realized with current game engines and physics engines."
Martin, the program's director, expects GMU to have 35 to 40 students enrolled this fall, with about 130 by the third year.