LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 29, 2023) — It is undeniable — the video game industry is booming.
With more than $170 billion in global revenues, the gaming industry is worth more than the film and music industries combined, presenting a plethora of opportunities for young professionals.
“It’s a common misconception that the gaming industry is only for computer science scholars,” said Zixue Tai, an associate professor in the University of Kentucky College of Communication and Information’s (CI) School of Journalism and Media.
Producing a major video game, he said, is a multidisciplinary activity. It requires the collaboration of hundreds, even thousands, of professionals. From story creation to game development and marketing, there are many roles for media professionals.
Since joining faculty in 2007, Tai has helped lead CI in developing video game curriculum. He started by teaching courses on how to create and publish games using software like ActionScript and Unity Pro. Other courses, like video game studies and interactive game narratives and storytelling, were developed to supplement hands-on learning with conceptual creativity and experimentation.
As gaming technology developed over Tai’s almost 16 years at UK, so did the coursework. Now, CI offers nine video game-related courses and a video game design and development minor program that launched in Fall 2022.
“The hope is that, through the curriculum, we can get our students ready to get into the industry and use their expertise and skills to contribute to the video game industry,” Tai said. “It’s a career path that most students probably would not think about without the coursework.”
A new student organization — the CI Gamers Club — hopes to build on this by spreading awareness about the enticing world of video game development through student engagement and participation.
CI Gamers Club was created by Alyssa Lozano, a junior studying information communication technology and computer science. She said that the club strives to be an inclusive organization for CI students to create, play and learn about video games.
Although the club is early in its development, Lozano and her peers have big plans; they hope to create and launch a game for students to demo by the end of the semester.
“It’s been really fun just coming up with ideas and seeing people who are as excited and motivated as I am,” Lozano said. The large scale and reach of UK’s student organizations inspired her to register a club where students could collaborate and create something that makes them proud.
Students do not need prior game development experience to join the club. All majors, including those outside of CI are welcome.
“Anyone is welcome to join. Artists, writers, designers, programmers, marketers and more,” Lozano said.
For more information, including an interest form for prospective members and meeting locations, visit https://uky.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/cigamersclub.
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