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SVPA Offers Game Design

By Melissa Colleary
Staff Writer

The School of Performing and Visual Arts (SVPA) is welcoming a new program on campus for fall 2015. The Digital Game Design and Development undergraduate B.F.A., as well as the B.F.A/M.A five-year program, will be joining the pre-existing two-year master’s program in Game Design and Development that has been offered for the past five years.

Students take advantage of Post’s state-of-the-art gaming lab, located in Humanities Hall. Photo by Katie Muller

There is no expectation for incoming students to know anything about game design. “The idea is that we teach you every facet of video game development,” said Ramiro Corbetta, Director of the graduate Game Design program and Assistant Professor of Game Design and Development. “We teach video game design, which is coming up with ideas, creating levels. We also teach game programming, the actual code that creates the game. We also teach visual design, which is making the actual art that goes into the game. We do some audio design and some business. So it’s kind of like a program that makes sure that everyone learns every part of game development.”

With this model, it is expected that as students progress through the world of game design, they can choose to specialize in the area that they enjoy the most. The classes offered will not be limited to students in the Digital Game Design and Development major. In fact, students from all departments are encouraged to take the courses.

“I would be interested in taking the courses, but my heavy workload does not allow for leisurely classes,” said Albert Scott, a junior Social Work major.

“The idea of the program is that people will come in, and by the time they leave, they not only know how to make a game, but they know how to make good games,” Corbetta said. The students in the existing graduate program are already having success with their games. Graduate student Scott Tongue, who is in the process of developing a game called Vistics; his game will be shown at the LIU Games booth at IndieCade East, a festival and conference about independent games that is taking place from Feb 13-15 at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City.

The master’s program was started four years ago, and Corbetta became the director in Sept. 2014, having previously taught as an adjunct professor in the program during the fall of 2013. Because the program is relatively new, Corbetta primarily teaches all of the core game courses. Adjunct professors teach some of the other courses, and students are also expected to take courses in other departments, specifically the Visual Arts Department. The Media Arts Department is currently seeking a new full time professor to be the director of the new undergraduate program. The new program will be one of the few undergraduate degrees in gaming in New York.

Although the perception of gaming may seem like a solitary activity, the program will be driven very much by the aspect of community. Students are encouraged to work together to create ideas and to design games together over the course of their college careers. Work shopping and critiquing other students’ work plays a primary role in most of the classes, and the students who are currently taking the courses for the masters program spend a lot of their free time working with Corbetta, as well as the other students in the program.

“In my dream of what the program will become, it would be a group of people with different skills coming together to help people out, and I’d like to see that kind of energy of people excited about making things, and games are something that [are] easy to get excited about making. There are a lot of people who are really passionate about it,” Corbetta said.

It is also very possible that LIU Post will be offering a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising in the fall of 2014. “Fashion Merchandising is a B.S. degree which our department is creating at the request of President Cline,” said Barbara Fowles, Chairperson for the Media Arts department. “The program has been provisionally approved by the Media Arts faculty, and by the SVPA curriculum committee, pending a review by an outside expert. I do not know the status of this review. The program has not yet been approved by the board, and has not gone to the NYSED, though the paperwork is largely complete.” More information will be available upon board approval.

The Digital Game Design and Development program will begin in fall 2015. For more information on course offerings, please contact Professor Corbetta or Dr. Fowles.

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