December 22, 2004
Worcester Polytechnic Institute is joining the ranks of schools offering game-related degree programs with its new four-year undergraduate program in computer game design. Like Georgia Tech’s undergraduate program in Computational Media, Worcester’s program combines training in computer science and the humanities (though the article incorrectly says that Worcester program is “the first field of study of its kind” to do this – Tech’s program has already launched). Interestingly, the article quotes CMU ETC’s Jesse Shell as having reservations about such programs. The ETC’s approach is to bring in students with traditional undergraduate training in the arts, humanities or engineering/computing and train them to be interdisciplinary at the masters level (similar to the approach in Tech’s IDT masters program). Schell is concerned that students in an interdisciplinary undergraduate program will have breadth without depth. My response is that at the masters level it may be too late to create designer/programmers who truly have interdisciplinary skills, people who won’t just be prepared to work as anonymous specialists on large game design teams, butwill rather be the leaders who invent new genres of interactive entertainment.