Brooklyn’s got game.
The next phase of intergalactic conquest and post-apocalyptic adventure will be brewing right here in Kings County with New York University introducing a slew of new programs dedicated to developing the video games of the future as the university consolidates of all its digital media degrees under one roof at Metro Tech Center in Downtown Brooklyn.
“The older programs are all related to technology and media, and the new programs are primarily related to games,” said Christopher Hoadley, associate professor at NYU and director of educational technology programs. “NYU is quite a good place for games and it has been for a while, but before now we haven’t had a dedicated degree.”
NYU is leasing property adjacent to Poly Tech, a key component of Brooklyn’s burgeoning “Tech-Triangle,” at Metro Tech Center, which will be flush with Xbox 360s and wall-mounted projectors when the new high-tech campus is unveiled in July, making it ready for the 2013 Fall Semester that begins in September.
The university has offered degrees in several digital media for years, but this project — entitled “MAGNET,” for Media and Games Network — marks the first time students and faculty from all of those programs have the opportunity to collaborate under one roof.
“It’s the first time they’ve put these different domains from different schools in one location,” said Hoadley. “I’m most excited about the fact that we’ve got technologists, social scientists, and designers all under one roof. It’s a good mix and it’s a pretty cool facility.”
Just because the school offers game design degrees, however, doesn’t mean students will focus solely on how to work bullet trajectories and projectile gore into a digital world, according to Hoadley.
The director of educational technology is most excited to see how his students will apply recent developments in video games for educational purposes — like the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft’s Kinect, which translate a user’s physical movements into on-screen actions.
“If you play with a Kinect, there’s some serious computer science in that, and it’s a pretty big change in a computer, when it can react to how you move,” said Hoadley. “That’s the kind of innovation in gaming for the people like us, who care about how technology influences learning.”
That is to say, some games will have purposes other than simulating violence against space invaders — though the program will also still train its scholar-coders to create games aimed at the entertainment market.
“Obviously selling games for a commercial purpose is a good thing,” said Hoadley. “But there’s other stuff going on.”
Beginning in the Fall Semester of 2013, Poly Tech at the Metro Tech Center will offer the following degrees:
• Game Design (Master of Fine Arts)
• Games for Learning (Master’s degree)
• Digital Media Design for Learning (Master of Arts)
• Educational Communications and Technology (Ph.D.)
• Integrated Digital Media (Master’s degree)
• Integrated Digital Media (Bachelor of Science)
• Game Engineering (Computer Science and Engineering)Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cn