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New Arts Division BA in Games and Playable Media Launching in Fall 2015

As UC Santa Cruz continues to lead the way in the evolution of the theory and practice of games development, the Art Department has developed a new B.A. in Games and Playable Media that is launching this coming fall. This cutting edge degree is an interdisciplinary undergraduate program that will run concurrently with the Games and Playable Media B.S. in the new Computational Media Department. "The Arts Division's Games and Playable Media Program promises to offer an innovative curriculum for game designers,” says Martin Berger, Acting Dean of the Arts at UC Santa Cruz. “The program emphasizes the development of artistic skill sets, collaboration, and social engagement, all of which is sure to set our graduates apart from the majority of their peers."

Associate Professor Robin Hunicke is helping to lead the new interdisciplinary program. As a world-renowned game developer and leader in her profession, Hunicke brings to UC Santa Cruz invaluable industry experience.  She aims to provide students with a progressive vision of what the next generation of games might accomplish. “We have been working very hard to build a BA that gives students in the arts an experience of both game design and game creation,” says Hunicke. “That involves building digital and non-digital games and working to explore how games can express new feelings as an art form.”

“It's a very exciting time for us at UC Santa Cruz as we begin this new major. The Center for Games and Playable Media, the Arts Division, and Computer Science can each contribute to and collaborate on this new program, making it richer. And I, for one, cannot wait to share the results!”

The core of the program is focused on game making, with students in both degree programs creating games every year, working together from foundation courses to a yearlong capstone sequence that will result in teams of students developing a releasable game. Students will be using any number of materials, from Javascript to cardboard, and diligently studying game systems. Additional arts practices such as drawing, writing, music, sculpture, filmmaking, etc, will be encouraged, given that each has an important role to play in twenty-first century game design.

“Art is thrilled to bring Game Design into our program” says Jennifer Parker, Chair, Art Department. “We look forward to the many creative and innovative collaborations that will stem from combining art, games and computational media.”

About the Degrees:

BA: Games and Playable Media (administered by the Art Department): A degree focused on the design of game systems and other interactive experiences, including their connection to a wider arts context – including a full grounding in the fundamentals of artistic practice and expressive game development.

BS: Games and Playable Media (administered by the Computational Media Department): A degree focused on the integration of game technology and design – including a full grounding in computer science and a range of game technology electives.


Image: Funomena