The "Simulation and Gaming Engineering Technology"(SGET) program is a 4-year bachelor of science degree that focuses upon the technical/programming aspects of game & simulation production. SSU also offers a 4-year "Game and Simulation Development Arts" degree. The two programs are designed as "sister degrees" and allow students in both degree programs to get real-world collaborative experience by working together throughout the 4-years.
Modern video games and simulations require that a broad range of skills and subjects to come together in a coherent fashion. Skilled artists, programmers, and designers must work together, each understanding the other, to bring a project from concept to fruition.
This is the reason for the intertwined nature of the sister degree programs that we are developing have developed.
Overview of the Two Degrees
Simulation and Gaming Engineering Technology (Bachelor of Science -- BS)
This is a broad-based degree giving the students a primary mixture of computer science, computer programming, and 2D/3D graphics programming with additional classes in arts, design, math, physics, and other support classes. Graduates of this degree program would be able to work as game/simulation programmers, designers, and architects. The breadth of the graduates' education would allow them to also understand, appreciate, and participate in the entire game production process, but from a programmer's perspective. The team-based open-ended project environment of the intertwined degrees would allow graduates to become comfortable in working with game artists and other programmers. The strong computer science, computer engineering, and programming component of the degree would allow a graduate to obtain a career in many non-game related fields of computing.
Gaming and Simulation Development Arts (Bachelor of Fine Arts -- BFA)
A broad-based degree giving the students a primary mixture of design, art, and production with additional classes in math, physics, theater, programming, and other support classes. Graduates of this degree program would be able to work as game/simulation artists, modelers, and designers. The breadth of the graduates' education would allow them to understand, appreciate, and participate in the entire game production process. The team-based open-ended project environment of the
intertwined degrees would allow graduates to become comfortable in working with programmers and other artists.
One problem that must be overcome when crafting a college degree program is that of hermetic education. A hermetic course of study is one in which the material, more often than not, is presented without context. The student learns material, but doesn't learn how to apply this knowledge to career or personal situations. Classes present information in convenient modules, class assignments are often composed of prepackaged closed-ended problems, and exams generally focus on the material covered in the lectures and assignments. The students might be exposed to myriad subjects and volumes of useful material and techniques, but often without an opportunity to
fully integrate the disparate course materials.
While this type of course of study can be successful in some areas ( particularly areas of heavy theoretical content ) of study, it cannot be successful for areas where application, adaptability, and change are the defining characteristics of the field. Technology is one of these areas; an area where teaching "stuff" is important, but not as important as what you do with the "stuff" that you learn. In any technology related area a successful graduate will have, primarily, the ability to learn, adapt, evolve, think broadly about open ended problems, and work with others in a diverse environment.
This is the guiding paradigm behind of the "Simulation and Gaming Engineering Technology" and its sister program "Simulation and Gaming Development Arts". The degree programs described in these pages were designed to embody this philosophy by:
- Giving the students the necessary fundamentals and theoretical background.
- Giving the students the necessary depth of understanding of complex principles and details.
- Teaching the students to apply these fundamentals and details by undertaking open-ended technical and creative projects.
- Giving the students a broad inter-disciplinary learning experience.
- Simulating real-world collaboration by having the students from the two sister programs work together on projects and creative endeavors.
- Stimulating an excitement for the field and for life-long learning in general.
- Fostering creative thinking and problem solving skills by educating rather than training.
- Synthesizing the above experiences through the completion of a collaborative major capstone project. The students will be responsible for their project from inception to design to completion to assessment.
Simulation and Game production environments often have a diverse workforce of writers, artists, programmers, producers, etc. One of the keys to the success of these degrees is the idea of synchronous independent, yet overlapping, sister degrees. This overlap will allow a graduating programmer to understand the artists and their craft and the graduating artists to understand the programmers and their craft.
True Sister Degrees
The idea of the sister degrees is to give the students a broad based experience that would resemble the type of collaborative environs that exist in the work place. Artists working with and understanding programmers and programmers working with and understanding artists. To achieve this synergistic relationship between the two disparate student groups it is necessary to provide a commonality of shared experiences and shared knowledge as much as possible and as early as possible. From the first semester the students of the two degrees are together, and as their education progresses the two degrees share many classes. The capstone class is a year-long senior project sequence where the goal is to produce a complete working
simulation or game. The project itself is managed from inception to design to implementation to testing to completion by the students themselves.
The Simulation and Gaming Engineering Technology Degree has nine classes that allow for a shared experience. These classes amount to 31 credit hours, which is almost one quarter of the degree.