Full Sail Grads on Award-Winning Video Games
Published on Jul 28, 2021 by Abby Stassen
Full Sail’s game degree programs prepare students for roles on award-worthy video games.
Full Sail’s robust array of Game degree programs, coupled with the school’s top-tier facilities and accomplished educators, prepare students to make their mark on blockbuster hits, inventive indie games, and award-worthy titles. For the last seven years in a row, The Princeton Review named Full Sail on its lists of "Top 50 Best Undergraduate Game Design Programs" and "Top 25 Best Graduate Game Design Programs."
The 7th Annual Game Awards
The Game Awards annually celebrate some of the highest achievements in gaming, and Full Sail graduates frequently make appearances in the credits of nominated and winning projects. More than 270 Full Sail graduates were credited on 36 nominated games across 22 categories for the 2020 Game Awards. Grads also contributed to a number of winning projects, including heavy-hitting titles like League of Legends, The Last of Us Part II, and Ghost of Tsushima.
Grads Working on Nominated & Winning Projects
Full Sail grads worked in high-level roles on a number of Game Awards nominees. Game Development grad Kerry Allen worked as a Lead UI Programmer on DOOM Eternal, which was nominated in categories like Game of the Year and Best Score and Music.
Fellow Game Development grad Ray Perez was a Senior Software Engineer on Best Esports Game winner League of Legends. Game Art graduate Miles Maxwell was a VFX Artist on The Last of Us Part II, which won in six categories including Game of the Year.
Aaron Eady, a Game Design and Development grad who worked as a Senior Technical Designer on Fortnite (nominated for Best Community Support, Best Esports Game, and Best Ongoing Game) says that Full Sail’s class schedule prepared him for workdays at Epic Games.
"When I took all these courses, it was amazing to me how much it was like work,” says Aaron. “We were here [at school] eight, ten hours a day doing our thing and figuring out how to become game developers."
A Full Sail Education
Full Sail’s bachelor’s and master’s programs put professional tools in students’ hands to prepare them for the demands of the video game industry, from the hours they’ll keep to the technology they’ll use every day.
“Full Sail is unique from other universities because we require industry experience,” says Rebecca Leis, the Program Director for Full Sail's UX Design, Mobile Development, and Computer Science degree programs. “There’s theory and then there's actual experience… Experience tells us what we should and shouldn't focus in on. Our experts have really gone through this space and spent the time and effort to sift through the information. They help guide you in the direction that is more aligned to your goals in a way that is efficient and successful.”
Game Art students learn how to create 3D content for any type of game on any kind of platform. They build a solid foundation in art principles and modeling software with classes like Shading & Lighting and in Model Creation, learn how to develop gaming models and add texture in Art Creation for Games, create their own players in Advanced Game Characters, and add lifelike motion to games in the Motion Capture class.
The Game Design program prepares students to work in professional game studios by taking them through the development process from start to finish. They gain a deep understanding of how different systems in a game interact in Systems Design, learn how to guide their ideas into a cohesive level in Level Design I, generate a challenge and reward system for their game in Game Mechanics II, and prepare their finished project for public release in Project & Portfolio VI.
Game Design master’s
The Game Design master’s degree hones students’ abilities in user experience research, production, and design. They’ll learn the best practices for managing a game design project in Game Production Tools, practice tools and techniques for developing functional prototypes in Prototyping and Content Creation, gain an understanding of usability by testing commercial products and video games in Game Usability and Testing, and deliver a retrospective account of their research area in their final Thesis Portfolio class.
In the Game Development bachelor’s degree program, students learn the programming languages and theory needed to become professional game developers and engine builders. They conduct human-computer interaction research and apply recommendations to software development in Applied Human-Computer Interaction, discover the relationship between programming languages and hardware in Computer Organization & Architecture, create and render content for real-time 3-D games in 3-D Content Creation, and design intelligent behavior for their characters in the Artificial Intelligence course.
Simulation & Visualization
Students in the Simulation & Visualization program study and design virtual systems for a variety of disciplines. They learn how to create the physical components of simulation systems in the Microcontrollers class, use 3-D design software and CAD/CAM equipment in Digital Fabrication, discover groundbreaking VR and AR theories and technology in the Virtual and Augmented Reality course, and design and assemble their own simulation system in Project and Portfolio VII.
Full Sail’s campus is packed with spaces for the next generation of game industry professionals to develop their skills. Students can use Full Sail’s facilities to harness the technology, techniques, and programming skills needed to create games or make software and products for a variety of other industries.
Blackmoor Studios is a collaborative area for Full Sail’s game degree students. It’s named after the Blackmoor game and fictional world, which was invented by Dungeons & Dragons co-creator and former Full Sail instructor, the late Dave Arneson. The space mimics a game studio, with conference areas for brainstorming and sprint planning, office spaces for instructor-student meetings, and presentation areas where students can show off their final projects. Blackmoor Studios also honors the history of gaming with Dave Arneson’s memorabilia and a variety of consoles from over the years.
The Fabrication Lab, or Fab Lab, is a combination classroom and workshop where Simulation & Visualization students get hands-on access to fabrication equipment. The lab’s injection molders, laser scanners and cutters, 3D printers, CNC milling machines, and power tools help students design and build their own simulation and visualization tools. Some examples of Fab Lab creations include handheld games with custom circuit boards and patented technology for special needs therapy.
In the UX Lab, gaming students measure how much people enjoy their interactions with technology by conducting user experience tests. The space is loaded with unique tech, like desktop-mounted eye trackers and physiological equipment that measure brain waves, heart rate, sweat production, and more. Outside companies often contact Full Sail to request UX testing for their products; this gives students real-world experience in designing, running, and evaluating user experience testing.
In the VR/AR Lab, Simulation & Visualization students use headsets from companies like Oculus, Microsoft, and Magic Leap to develop virtual reality and augmented reality applications that fulfill training needs in different industries. Past projects include military administration training simulations and dental assistant training programs, but the lab’s concepts can be used in almost any industry. Faculty members also teach certain classes, like Linear Algebra, in virtual reality.
Full Sail University Orlando Health Fortress
The Full Sail University Orlando Health Fortress is the crown jewel of Full Sail’s robust esports program. It’s the largest collegiate esports arena in the country, with 11,200 square feet, providing space for up to 100 esports athletes and 500 spectators. Armada, Full Sail’s esports team, competes in games like Overwatch, League of Legends, and Valorant in the Fortress. The arena also hosts tournaments like the Hearthstone Collegiate Championship and the “Full Sail Armada Takeover: Settle it in Smash” Hall of Fame event.
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