Digital Media Institute offers game development course
Students at Digital Media Institute at InterTech in Shreveport have just completed their first project – a game of Tetris. DMII executive director John Miralles said each student, with about one month of instruction and introduction to game development, has created his or her first and personalized version of the classic video game. Video game development, or interactive software development, is a new program offered by the Louisiana Board of Regents licensed school. Graduates of the intensive model one year program receive a certificate in the field. Miralles said DMII graduates could go on to work for AAA game studios, regionally or independent game developers and interactive studios in Shreveport and elsewhere. “Our graduates could find themselves working for gaming studios, for app developers or they could go the entrepreneurial route and create games independently,” Miralles said. “The sky is the limit thanks to the highly specialized skill-set they leave with when they graduate from DMII.” The students in the institute’s first year game development class are moving into a complete game development cycle project using the C# language and the Unity game engine. They’ll start with an individual concept and then move through all the steps in authoring a game from scratch. All of the DMII instruction is designed to build both skills and professional portfolio materials – easing workforce placement. The game development program is the second certificate program offered by DMII. The institute also offers the Animation, Visual Effects and Interactive Content program, in which students learn to create advanced digital media content. The digital media certificate program was started at a local university and later spun off its own institute with support from the Biomedical Research Foundation. The institute was created to help with need for high quality job training in the digital media sector independent of the fiscal challenges of the state university environment. DMII students become experts at visual effects and interactive content using the institute’s state-of-the-art motion capture lab, a green screen environment that turns physical movement into animation. A current DMII student interviewed for this article graduated from the content course and now is learning game development. His ultimate plan is to find his dream job with a game development company. He’s interested in the programming side of development and one day hopes to create a massive multiplayer online role playing game. “I like MMO RPGs (Massive Multi Player Online – Role playing Games)because they make people interact and play a game together. You aren’t just sitting by yourself playing a game,” he said. His current project at DMII is simpler than that, but he’s taking steps toward being a complex programmer. He’s mastered a 2D space shooter game, similar to Space Invaders. “Challenges so far have been in figuring out the right syntax to get done what I want done. It’s like learning a whole new language,” he said. Miralles said DMII typically sees three types of students – the work force-oriented, the skills upgrader and the entrepreneur. “The mission of DMII is of economic development – not to just create a workforce, but to create opportunities for companies to grow and develop. We do see folks who are entrepreneurial who want to work as freelancers or contractors in this space. And we’re here to support all of those types of students,” Miralles said. About DMII Digital Media Institute at InterTech is focused in digital media education offering training on industry-grade hardware and software. DMII offers two intensive model certificate programs at an accelerated speed from leaders in the industry at a reduced tuition rate.  DMII is a candidate for accreditation with the Council on Occupational Education (COE). This nonprofit initiative of the Biomedical Research Foundation is housed at InterTech 1 in Shreveport.