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Rensselaer Announces Major in Games and Simulation

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's new undergraduate degree program in Games and Simulation Arts & Sciences has been announced, building from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences' game studies minor with access to the Games Research Suite.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute recently announced the launch of a new undergraduate degree program in Games and Simulation Arts & Sciences (GSAS). The major – which builds off the School of Humanities and Social Sciences' game studies minor – promises to equip graduates with a suite of integrated skills necessary for leaders in the game development industry. Students enrolled in the GSAS major will have access to Rensselaer's research facilities, including a virtual reality and motion capture studio; a large 10-station networked PC room used to study social gaming; and a lab set up with sofas, video games and consoles, a plasma television, and four miniature cameras. The space – called the Games Research Suite – allows researchers to track players' faces and body movements as they play, combined with output from the television screen, to create a richer picture of the gaming experience for later analysis. The program will be made up of two components. The first fulfills the core courses necessary for obtaining a bachelor's of science in GSAS and ensures that students obtain experience collaborating in interdisciplinary teams and producing work. Required classes such as Experimental Game Design, Interactive Narrative, and History & Culture of Games will challenge students to push the boundaries of present-day genres and technologies. The second component of the GSAS program allows students to concentrate in one of several disciplines directly related to existing or emerging career paths in the games and simulation or entertainment industry. Possible areas of in-depth study may include: computer science, cognitive science, arts, human-computer interaction, and management, among others. "The new Games and Simulation Arts & Sciences curriculum is structured to reflect the highly interdisciplinary nature of the game industry today," said John Harrington, dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Rensselaer. "Graduates of the program will enter the field with a broad knowledge about games and simulation, as well as a specialized concentration or second degree in any one of a range of disciplines impacting the future of game development and design." Enrollment will begin in fall 2007. For more information, interested parties can visit the GSAS Program website.

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