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City Newspaper highlights burgeoning Rochester gaming industry

A new piece from City Newspaper's Jake Clapp takes an in-depth look at the development of the Rochester gaming industry, and the role RIT has played in educating some of the industry's key talent.  RIT professors and graduates are featured prominently in the article. You can read an excerpt below but make sure to head over to City's site for the full story.

In Rochester's emerging video game development community, RIT is an undeniable key factor. The university's School of Interactive Games and the Media, Arts, Games, Interaction & Creativity Center have played a vital role in producing a knowledgeable development workforce and entrepreneurs looking to create their own small gaming studios.

"I think what you see now is that the output of students coming from RIT is incredibly high," says Colin Doody, president and creative director of Darkwind Media. "Of course some people are going to stay in this area and coagulate."

Of Darkwind's 15 employees, 14 are graduates of or co-op students from RIT, Doody says.

"There is a ton of talent," Stephen Jacobs says. "RIT is a co-op school, and RIT co-ops have driven company growth large and small in Rochester for over a hundred years. So it's no surprise, and interest in gaming as an industry is national."

The School of Interactive Games and Media offers a B.S. and an M.S. in game design and development, and a B.S. in new media interactive development. Students in these programs learn skills needed to artistically design video games (incorporating illustration and animation) and then develop the necessary content, technologies, and digital systems that form the framework of the game (through programming and coding).

When discussion about teaching a course in game programming began more than 10 years ago, says Jacobs, RIT's degree in information technology had five tracks, one of which was in interactive media. Andrew Phelps, now the director and founder of MAGIC Center, was a graduate student in the interactive media track but wanted to start teaching a game development course. In 2001, RIT had the nation's first graduate level game programming class, taught by Phelps. Still, it was several years before a full program was constructed, Jacobs says.