University of Southern California
Building Game Developers
Abstract: The USC Department of Computer Science is in its ninth year of operating its BS in Computer Science (Games) and MS in Computer Science (Game Development) degree programs.
We have developed an interesting educational architecture inside of that degree program that allows the students to become strong game developers, strong computer scientists, strong programmers, strong systems developers, and facile with working in cross-disciplinary, collaborative groups. We believe that educating students in this fashion strengthens our department’s ability to do cutting-edge research in computer science as well as provide great graduates for the game industry. In this talk, we share our lessons learned and some detail on our courses and processes.
Biography: Michael Zyda is the Founding Director of the USC GamePipe Laboratory, and a Professor of Engineering Practice in the USC Department of Computer Science. At USC, he founded the joint Advanced Games course. His alums have shipped games played by over 790 million players.
From fall 2000 to fall 2004, he was the Founding Director of the MOVES Institute at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey and a Professor in the Department of Computer Science at NPS. From 1986 until the formation of the MOVES Institute, he was the Director of the NPSNET Research Group.
Professor Zyda's research interests include computer graphics, large-scale, networked 3-D virtual environments and games, agent-based simulation, modelling human and organizational behaviour, interactive computer-generated story, computer-generated characters, video production, entertainment/defence collaboration, modelling and simulation, and serious and entertainment games. He is a pioneer in the following fields: computer graphics, networked virtual environments, modelling and simulation, and serious and entertainment games. He holds a lifetime appointment as a National Associate of the National Academies, an appointment made by the Council of the National Academy of Sciences in November 2003, awarded in recognition of “extraordinary service” to the National Academies. He is a member of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences.
He served as the principal investigator and development director of the America’s Army PC game funded by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. He took America’s Army from conception to three million plus registered players and hence, transformed Army recruiting. The creation of the America’s Army game founded the serious games field. He co-holds several patents, including two patents that form the basis for the nine-axis sensor in the Nintendo Wii U.