College of Marin Game Design Class Trains the Next Generation
Students Benefitting From Stronger COM Relationships with Local Game Companies
Novato, CA—Nov. 29, 2011—College of Marin game design students are finding their way to new local jobs, thanks in part to a burgeoning multimedia industry and a nuts and bolts course that introduces them to the real world of game design and the local industry.
“I’ve always been into gaming,” says Angelique Traub, who returned to college part-time this fall and began Intro to Game Design, a course taught by industry veteran David Maxwell at College of Marin’s Indian Valley Campus, in Novato, CA.
Traub, 21, had no experience in game design, just a passion for playing and a few weeks of classroom experience when she was hired to work at SiXiTS, an 18-month-old media production company that is quickly growing in Novato. It’s been a pretty steep learning curve for Traub who is assisting with game designs for social and mobile platforms as her first full-time job.
“I never imagined something like this would happen,” she says. “Being in the class definitely helped. They were very interested in what I was doing in this class and in seeing what other kinds of students potentially want to come and intern here.”
The Multimedia Studies program, which provides students with a skills certificate, a certificate of achievement and an associate of science degree, provides hands-on experience for professional advancement, career-related training and transfer preparation for university degrees. Students in the Intro to Game Design course develop their own game and get it ready to present to prospective employers. They learn the basics of storyboards, modeling, 3D animation, scripting, how to publish it to a disk and make it ready to hand out. They also get to show it to visiting industry professionals from local companies.
“This is what employers want more than anything,” says Maxwell, who says several students have already been hired by local companies. LucasArts hired this semester. “They want students who can show them their work.” There are more than 100 game companies in the San Francisco Bay Area and many of them are looking for new people. “I teach them where to look to find the jobs.”
Euan Macdonald, chief executive officer and creative director of SiXiTS, says the intro course helps serve the local game design industry which employs close to 400 people in Novato alone. Recently, another COM student joined the SiXiTS staff.
“It’s a great foundation for what we’re doing,” he said. Macdonald hopes to help critique student projects in the future and find more students to join the company as it doubles in size this next year. “We hope to have an ongoing relationship with the college. There are not a lot of classes like that. It’s is quite a specialized class but it’s very suitable for people looking for broad experiences.”