UT Austin Launches Video Gaming Academy

Can you go to school to learn how to be a videogame designer? Indeed, you can, thanks to the University of Texas at Austin, which has just launched a new program which will provide a certificate in video game design. The new program is being headed up by two gaming industry insiders, and is aimed at supporting economic growth of the gaming industry in Texas.

The school said yesterday that it has partnered with Warren Spector and Paul Sams, two well known video game industry executives, to create a new academy to teach video game design--which the school says is the first to be led and taught by gaming industry executives. The school said the new Denius-Sams Gaming Academy will focus on the creative leadership aspects of game development, including management and production. Spector has been in the video game industry for 30 years, and is known for his work on such titles as "Ultima", "Deus Ex" and "Disney Epic Mickey". Sams is the COO of Blizzard Entertainment, known for its World of Warcraft, Diablo, and other online gaming services.

The new academy--which starts in 2014--will have a slim, 20 spots for students. According to the scohol, they will receive a post-baccalaureate certificate instead of a graduate degree, and will include a 12-month effort where students will create their own, small-scale game from start to finish. UT Austin said that the effort comes as Texas becomes an epicenter for the computer and video game industry--with the second-largest concentration of game companies in the U.S., and more than 155 development and publishing firms in the state.

Photo of UT Austin campus courtesy wallyg via Flickr