Miami University, established in 1809, is ranked among the top 50 national public universities by U.S. News & World Report. As an original Public Ivy, Miami provides Ivy League-quality education at a public school price with an exceptional return on investment. Miami is a place where ambitious students find their purpose and prepare for a lifetime of success.
Miami University—Oxford is a public institution that was founded in 1809. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 17,246, its setting is rural, and the campus size is 2,100 acres. The Emerging Technologies in Business & Design Department's Games + Simulation program exists in four buildings on campus, Laws Hall, The Art building, The King library and the Education, Health and Society (EHS) building.
Our networking efforts starts in the classroom with introducing students to numerous instructor based connections in the game industry. Students are encouraged to reach out to visiting industry veterans provided guest lectures and critiques. We also have a course called "Inside GDC" that prepares students for their first GDC experience. During this semester, students travel to GDC and must complete a series of networking-centric assignments during the conference.
Grounded in Miami University’s tradition of liberal education, ETBD represents the liberal arts of the 21st century, providing a foundation in information and digital literacy, from multimedia authorship/critical theory to digital and social media marketing, from app development to code-based art, from game studies to user-experience design, and more. This grounding is then complemented with a focused area of depth in one of many areas of scholarly interest in ETBD. Thus, ETBD graduates are highly sought after by both employers and graduate schools. Graduates are currently employed by everything from innovative startups like Uber to established agencies like Rockfish to consumer product development like P&G. ETBD games students go on to work for Microsoft Studios, Nintendo, Oblong Industries, ZooGames/IndiePub and Zynga. Mid-career games alumni have experience at Rockstar Vancouver, Riot, Zenimax Online Studios and Lucas Arts.
RAD Lab - contains 20 high-end workstations. Each with a 21" Wacom Cintiq and dual monitor setup; Faceware Motion Capture system setup with a livelink to Unreal and an XSens motion capture system setup with UE livelink; software needed to develop games (in particular Visual Studio, UE4, Unity, 3D Coat, ZBrush, Maya, 3D Studio Max, Adobe Substance, Quixel Suite, Blender, and Adobe CS).
Engaging Technology Lab - A creative space that offers exclusive access to game design students to develop games for research purposes, that includes Wacom Cintiqs, Oculus Rifts, high end workstations (with licenses setup for UE4, Unity3D, Adobe CS, Maya, 3DS Max, ZBrush, etc.),, Makerbots, paper prototyping kits, midi controllers, tablets, mobile devices, whiteboards, storage space, and all software needed to develop. Furthermore, these spaces are staffed 24/7 with faculty, teaching assistants and tech support members to help the students whenever the need arises, and the lab offers 4 Cintiq Companions, 2 Alienware Desktop Replacements, 30 regular laptops, 24 tablets, 8 GoPro cameras, 8 flipcams, 2 portable YouTube studios with lighting kits, Yeti mics and DSLR cameras, etc. that students can checkout for 24 hours. Finally, the lab has a dedicated separate area for user testing that features 2 computers for surveys, a couch with HDTV, a smartboard/projector, and meeting table.
Visualization Lab - It has a 4 walled virtual reality CAVE, a Z‑space 3D immersive desktop system, numerous VR headsets (including multiple Oculus Rift, S, Quest, Go; HTC Vives; OSVR; nVis, etc.), 3D scanners, haptic feedback systems for hand and torso, an inertial motion capture suit, multiple 360-degree cameras (including high-end 8k capture units), LEAP motion controllers, inertial sensors, optical position tracking systems, and a wide range of 3D / game development software and rendering computers.
We also have a rapid prototyping lab, a fixed motion capture lab, a UX/Eyetracking lab, entertainment design lab (interactive screens) and a digital design lab.
Take a look at some of the traditional and digital artwork Miami University students produce during their education.
•Lauren Mackenzie | 3D Environment Artist, Zenimax Online Studios
The faculty and staff at Miami are unparalleled. I sign up for a 3D modeling class on a whim, and it didn't take long to realized that it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. What I found was an extraordinarily supportive professor who encouraged me to push myself, work hard and gave me new opportunities to pursue new goals both in and outside of class. Interactive Media Studies gave me the structure for the basics and helped provide connections. Beyond that, I learned to look past what's due tomorrow and think about how what I'm doing now can contribute to long-term. Immediately after graduating, I began working as a 3D Environment Artist at Zenimax Online Studios. It's an absolute dream to be able to work in the AAA games industry straight out of college.
Networking & Careers
Our students spend the majority of their time at work on personal and class projects. Our program admits cohorts so students have a dedicated crew that they share all four years together. This especially helps with their capstone experience and when they all start to self organize into teams. Along with their daily courses, students spend time together in various student led organizations like the digital art club.
Following studios hire our graduates: Our best recruitment based relationship is with Gylee Games in Cincinnati, Ohio. Gylee is a small independent studio who takes on approximately 45% of our student body as interns who work mainly as an r&d team that supports concept and preproduction efforts at the studio.
The Bachelor of Science in Games + Simulation provides students with an interdisciplinary plan of study covering all aspects of creating and interpreting games. Games are the liberal arts of the 21st century: the fusion of coding and design, writing and mechanics, usability and creativity. With a focus on making and praxis, the BS in Games + Simulation prepares students for a career or graduate study in game design, development, 3D modeling, creative development, writing or designing, esports, and games in other industries, all while encouraging students to take creative risks, to build things, and to think critically about audiences, narratives, and aesthetics.
Introduction to Game Careers
In this course, students learn the careers available in game design and development, the basics of games as an academic discipline, and become acquainted with the games faculty and university resources.
Introduction to Game Studies
Offers an introduction to key historical and contemporary research in game studies and theories of play, with particular attention paid to the digital video game. The course surveys current debates and issues in the field of game studies, introduces various methods for interpreting games, and cultivates a deeper understanding of the importance of games and play in contemporary social, political, and cultural contexts.
Introduction to Game Design
This course is an introduction to the many philosophies of game design. Students will learn the core principles of game design, will create games (non-digital) and will learn to iterate and play-test. No previous game design training is required.
Introduction to Game Development
This course introduces students to the process of developing simple 2D games. It is built around a number of game-development challenges that are selected to develop a basic proficiency in 2D game development while learning basic programming and art principles. To complete the challenges, the students are provided with curated online videos and 1-1 in-class instruction
Introduction to Interaction Design & Development
This course is an opportunity to investigate interactive design and front-end development as it relates to a variety media types. Using industry standard tools, students will learn to design, implement, and refine interactive media for specific audiences. For the purpose of this class, interactive media includes a variety of software and hardware solutions that intersect the domain of human-computer interaction. Effective interactive design is often achieved by the creative application of sometimes disparate disciplines. Students should expect to incorporate their understanding of art theory, psychology, commercial business practice, and creative problem solving.
Design Thinking and Principles
An understanding of design thinking & design principles is central to the creation of digital solutions and interfaces. Whether it be the design of a system/organization or the creation of a digital product, a design solution is the result of a multi-disciplinary approach. This approach builds empathy and understanding in order to solve problems for users who are often different from ourselves. The course will also examine the impact that culture has on aesthetic choices such as color, form and spacial relationships as well as the diverse history of design, typography and interaction. No prior design experience required.
Writing for Games
Writing for Games offers students an opportunity to learn the genres and professional standards of writing for games and the gaming industry, including instructions, proposals, design documents, publicity documents, and in-game scripts.
Foundations in 3D Design
Provides knowledge in the underlying concepts and practical skills in the design and development of computer generated 3-D imagery. Examines 3-D modeling; animation, lighting and rendering; character animation; and other related topics.
Introduction to Game Programming
Introduction to computer programming techniques used in games and visual simulations. Simple data and control structures, mathematical foundations, transformations, rendering algorithms, and interfaces.
Indie Game Development 1
All ETBD students with a games focus must complete an independent project in which they create and publish a finished game (on an online distribution platform). This project provides an opportunity for the student to synthesize various strands of their academic work, professional experience, and design knowledge. Furthermore, it requires the student to develop the ability to scope their projects realistically and see them through within a strict time budget.
Indie Game Development 2
All IMS students with a games focus must complete an independent project in which they create and publish a finished game (on an online distribution platform). This project provides an opportunity for the student to synthesize various strands of their academic work, professional experience, and design knowledge. Furthermore, it requires the student to develop the ability to scope their projects realistically and see them through within a strict time budget. This is the second of a two-course sequence.
Advanced Game Design
Develops theoretical foundations, methods, and skills in building complete games. Focuses are placed in particular on the understanding of how design influences gameplay and mechanics. Prerequisites: IMS 211, IMS 212, and IMS 213.
Game Engine Scripting
This is an advanced game development course meant to build on the introductory game engine groundwork laid by the coding and game development courses students must take as prerequisites. Students will design and code a short series of game prototypes using a commercial-level game engine, increasing proficiency in navigating the engine tools and speed in which they are able to prototype and iterate on game mechanics and design. Guidance and constraints will be provided to keep projects within a reasonable scope. Students are expected to put a great deal of effort into learning how to debug problems and understand engine features while being provided guidance, not answers, by the professor. The goal of this course is to increase student comfort with professional game engine tools and prepare students to learn (and self-teach) increasing advanced features based on their development interests.
Game Pipeline and Production
In this course, students will be introduced to skills, concepts, and competencies that deal with video game pipeline production. This course serves as a precursor to IMS 488. Students will not only develop as individual artists, programmers, and designers, but will learn how to thrive in an interdisciplinary team to create video games. Students will work on original, small-scope, small-team projects that will culminate into playable prototypes of a real-time interactive experience. Strategies for working proactively on a development team will be introduced and applied.
In this course, students will bring together everything they learned during the program and start preproduction for a digital game that they will develop and (independently) publish in the games capstone production class. They learn skills, concepts and competencies that deal with the video game production pipeline. The goal of the course is to finalize the game concept, to complete tech demos, to finish concept art, and to deliver a production plan. As the students work in a team format in which they are assigned a role that corresponds to the role that they seek to take on in the industry after graduating, the deliverables for each student differ based on their role. Programmers will develop tech demos, artists will develop concept art, designers write technical documents, etc. Unique, interesting or unorthodox ideas are encouraged. Game Production In this course, students move from pre-production for their capstone game into the production phase. At the end of this course, the game is intended to be completely functional and ready for distribution. Prerequisite: IMS 488.
3D Digital Sculpting
Digital sculpting is an essential part of 3D content creation. This course needs to be a requirement for students in the game program who want to work as an artist creating assets for video games. This course teaches industry standard software and the methodologies that game studios use when producing professional quality 3D assets for video games and other media. The course is project driven, and grades will be based on the visual quality and passion expressed in the work submitted for assignments, ability to follow instructions for submission and their ability to meet deadlines for assignments.
3D Character Design
In this course, students will create fully realized characters using 3D animation software to be implemented in a game engine. Students will learn a complete workflow for taking a character concept through all stages of a 3D character-creation process. This includes concept art, proper scene setup, 3D modeling, digital sculpting, degrading assets, UV Unwrapping, texture painting, and character rigging, posing, rendering, and importing into a game engine. The course is project driven and grades will be based on the visual quality and passion expressed in the work submitted for assignments, ability to follow instructions for submission, and ability to meet deadlines for assignments.
3D Shading and Texturing
In this course, students will learn the workflows necessary to create materials, textures, and shaders for physically based render systems. Students will learn how to edit shaders and materials through the creation and editing of textures in an image-editing program. Students will also be taught the theory behind physically based rendering and how it relates to rendering objects in real time through game engine technology. The course is project driven and grades will be based on the visual quality and passion expressed in the work submitted for assignments, ability to follow instructions for submission, and ability to meet deadlines for assignments.
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