September 11, 2019 Game Design Minor Announced
The School of Design announces a first for the university: A program of study in game design.
The Game Design minor will roll out in its entirety in Fall 2021 with the School of Design offering courses related to the topic beginning this academic year.
In the Game Design minor, students will explore the use of game mechanics, simulation and immersion across a variety of disciplines. The minor’s core courses will present a fundamental understanding of the potential of creating worlds that engage learners in knowledge production, and students will explore the development and use of simulations, gaming, role playing and other strategies.
In addition to exploring the principles of motivation that keep players engaged and invested, students will recognize the methods involved in creating a compelling narrative, explore the relationship of culture and context and of analog and digital and learn to appreciate the complexities involved with the design and development process required to coalesce all elements into a finished game.
For students who desire a hands-on experience, the minor will offer an interdisciplinary studio where students will work in teams alongside faculty in the execution of a game. Core courses will be offered in the college’s School of Design, and additional electives could include UT classes that are either central to game-design principles or those in which the content is being taught through the lens of a game or game activity.
In advance of the minor being available, the School of Design offers courses in game design this academic year. In Spring 2020, the Philosophy of VR will be taught as a seminar course, and Game Design: Process and Product, will be taught in Summer 2020. In Philosophy of VR, students will directly engage with virtual reality and immersive content while analyzing virtual space, the nature of perceptual systems and the ethical implications of the technology. These courses are open to any student at UT, and more courses will be announced for the 2020-2021 school year.
While the Game Design minor is new to UT, the School of Design’s exploration into game design is not. The App.Farm, an innovative, collaborative studio experience designed to support the interdisciplinary student teams necessary to create games, formed in its current structure in 2015. The App.Farm, led by School of Design Professor Cary Staples, is a lab where students analyze educational materials and design game experiences that excite learners.
Games that have been produced and are in development through the App.Farm include apps, video games, card games and more:
- Bonne Chance, an innovative approach to language learning in the form of a French immersion app-based game
- The Bridges App, in collaboration with the UT Health Innovation Technology and Simulation Lab (HITS) research team, an app that provides burn victims with reference material for follow-up care
- The Design(er) METAgame, a card game about video games designed for content exploration and assessment in the Graphic Design 150 course, The Idea of Design
- ProblemUp!, a card game that encourages collaborative exploration of the critical thinking skills central to the Cognitive Enrichment Advantage
The App.Farm also has provided students with opportunities to actively participate in undergraduate research at UT, including EUReCA, Discovery Day and undergraduate research assistantships. One game design, Bonne Chance, resulted in an invitation to participate in workshops at the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages at Duke University.
More information is available at archdesign.utk.edu/programs/game-design-minor.