Far removed from the dark depths of Gamergate or the decidedly more lighthearted gatherings of Cheeto-fingered geeks embarking on marathon gaming sessions, a new vanguard of diverse, creative young video game and mobile app developers is on the rise, thanks in part to the UT Game and Mobile Media Applications (GAMMA) Program.
GAMMA is an interdisciplinary undergraduate certificate program run by the College of Fine Arts, the Computer Science Department and the Department of Radio-Television-Film. The program produces graduates ready to design, develop and provide leadership for the exploding growth in game, mobile app and creative media agencies and studios in Austin and around the world.
Paul Toprac, associate director and senior lecturer of game development has lead GAMMA since 2012, with a goal of bringing together students from across the Forty Acres into an integrated program for game and mobile app development.
“To be a good game developer, you have to make games,” says Toprac. “It’s not rocket science. It’s learning about how to interact with people to create a product — with people who don’t necessarily speak in the same technical terms or have the same skill sets that you do.”
The program culminates with the Capstone Course. Students from different disciplines work together in small groups to design and produce a game or mobile app, which will be presented to industry partners at a Digital Demo Day.
In addition to offering industry exposure through the Digital Demo Day, the GAMMA program also hosts career fairs, tours of local game studios and even provides guidance on personal finances, including what young professionals in the gaming field should look for in a salary offer.