Students in Full Sail’s Mobile Gaming Master’s Program Learn Development and Consumer Engagement
Published on Aug 1, 2018 by Stephanie Rizzo
Learn it today, act on it tomorrow. In just 12 months, Full Sail’s Mobile Gaming master’s program can help you expand your professional skills.
In 2016, the mobile gaming industry generated over $40 billion in total revenue. But with more than 800,000 mobile games on the market, it can be tough for individual games to stand out in a crowd. Fortunately, Full Sail’s Mobile Gaming master’s program teaches student the skills they need to build their own mobile game from the ground up – and engage consumers in the process.
“We get a lot of students with a background in game development,” says program director Haifa Maamar. “When they come to the program, they might know how to program a regular video game, but they don’t necessarily know how to implement a mobile game. We take them through the process so they can start working in mobile pretty much immediately.”
Because the program is accelerated, it’s important that applicants have at least some background in programming. New students begin with a mastery course in personal development, where they learn the fundamentals of research and reference related to the mobile gaming industry. From there, they head right into an advanced computer science course.
Haifa estimates as many as 90 percent of students in the program work full-time, many in traditional game development jobs. The program seeks to empower existing mobile game developers with skills they can use to take their careers to the next level. It allows others to make a full pivot from traditional gaming into the mobile market.
Halfway through the degree, students take their first usability course. They’re linked up with instructors from Full Sail’s User Experience Lab, a fully-functioning UX testing facility that accepts outside clients as well as student projects. Immediately after the usability course, students spend a month studying the business side of the industry. This, says Haifa, is what sets Full Sail’s Mobile Gaming master’s program apart from other programs out there.
“Even though it’s an online degree, we’re opening these resources up to our students,” she says. “We’re giving them the tools to make games, but also to refine them and market them.
“We push our students to look at new technologies like augmented and virtual realities,” she adds. “They have the freedom to bring those technologies to the table and implement them into their games.”
During the final four months of the program, students complete their final project – a fully-developed mobile game of their own design.
“They pitch their project in front of a faculty committee, and once we determine whether it’s at the master’s level, we’ll give them the green light to move forward. They need to demonstrate mastery in either the area of design, development, or new technologies, and often they have achieved all three by month seven,” says Haifa.
Games undergo a three-step development process: Alpha, which is a simple completion of features; Beta, which is a completion of content; and Gold, which is a final polishing. Once their game reaches Gold status, it undergoes a final round of UX testing before students present their final projects to peers and faculty.
“That’s exactly how it happens in the industry,” says Haifa. “Our job is to prepare them and send them out the door with a finished game, and I believe we achieve that through our high standards.”