So, you want to learn to create video games? Within the Computer Graphics and Programming (CGP)–Game Development emphasis Associates of Applied Science degree you have the opportunity to use several really awesome programs. For example we learn to use Autodesk®’s 3DS Max® to model and animate anything you could ever imagine. In addition, we learn to use Adobe® Photoshop® to create realistic looking textures that are applied to the models.
In the CGP Game Development degree one of the hardest things for people to understand or realize is that we don’t just play games. We joke about that being our research! There is a lot more to making a good game than just writing a few lines of code and a creating good model. Sometimes creating the model that sells well or satisfies your employer takes hours to create and you may even have to restart several times. For example, it takes patience when learning to unwrap 3D models so that the texture we created fits it perfectly. When it comes to the unwrapping process it may seem like you are not getting anywhere but if you spend the time in this stage you can come up with a really great looking product.
Creating the assets, the 3D models and textures, is just part of the fun! Bringing the assets into the Unity3D® game engine is awesome and where the fun really begins. I have spent a little over two years learning to use it and it is the most flexible engine I have ever used. You can quickly and easily create folders to organize your work with a few click of the mouse; design your own particle effects for fire, smoke, stars and much more. The game engine allows you to import Filmbox® (FBX) format models easily and then dynamically drag items around the scene to position them in your game scene with ease.
One of the strengths of the Unity3D® game engine is the asset store where you can buy or sell models. The asset store contains all sorts of models, coding and extensions imaginable. FireBallGameStudio.com, a small independent game studio my dad and I created, has started to sell assets on the asset store and we are doing quite well so far. It even helps pay our gas bill for our 100-mile commute to and from college!
With the CGP degree you learn what you need to know to be able to start your own studio or go out and find a job in the industry. The game market is always changing so there is always a need to take what you have learned and expand upon it. The teachers cannot teach you all you will ever need to know. As new technology comes out games evolve in their detail and capabilities. I have spent countless hours outside class researching new programs and easier ways of doing what I have learned. I have also done a lot of exploring of new technology that has come out recently and find the change exciting! So while playing games does help you get ideas of what to put in your games, the CGP degree is far from just playing games!