By Mary Mone
[mkdf_dropcaps type=”square” color=”Black” background_color=”White”]A[/mkdf_dropcaps]ctive in providing learning and social opportunities, the International Game Developers Association chapter at Tyler Junior College works through professional software to bring their ideas to life.
According to igda.org, the IGDA is, “the world’s largest nonprofit membership organization serving all individuals who create games.”
TJC is home to two associate degree programs, graphics and programming, which both involve game development. According to tjc.edu, the graphics degree is where, “game artists work closely with art directors and designers to create assets and animation for games and entertainment software.” The programming degree teaches students how to program video games and how to make them run smoothly.
At TJC, the game development program uses Unreal Engine, which is a suite of integrated tools. Unrealengine.com states their software stretches, “from design visualizations and cinematic experiences to high-quality games across PC, console, mobile, VR and AR.”
Not only does TJC have Unreal Engine, but as stated by tjc.edu, the program “teaches object-oriented software design using the Unified Modeling Language Tool provided in Visual Paradigm — a worldwide leading award-winning enterprise management and software development suite.”
Caroline Dougherty, a professor in the game and simulation development program at TJC, serves as adviser to the college’s chapter of IGDA.
“The TJC Academic chapter was founded a few years ago by game development students and professors with a passion for promoting advocacy, community networking, professional development and international reach within the gaming community,” Dougherty said.
With 38 active members, the organization hosts monthly events where people win prizes.
All members take away valuable lessons from the organization, such as “a sense of teamwork and togetherness,” Dougherty said, and learning game development techniques and applications.
Each semester, students in the game development department create several projects.
“Currently, our fall two programmers and artists are working collaboratively on a 2D side-scrolling action game that should be finished this semester,” Dougherty said.
This fall semester has been online completely for the IGDA, and Dougherty spoke about how many students have transitioned well because of their fondness of online gaming.
IGDA at TJC welcomes all students and, “for certain events, students may need to pay the $15 semester dues, but all events this semester are free,” Dougherty said.
If any student is interested in joining or seeing what the organization is like, contact IGDA on Orgsync on Apache Access, where one can also join their online meetings.