Hampshire College earned the #5 spot on the Princeton Review's 2014 list saluting the 25 best undergraduate schools to study video game design.
Games are a part of nearly everyone's life, from sports and card games to board games and digital games.
One focus of our game design curriculum is to give students a foundation for further work in the field or outside it, by giving them opportunities to grow and strengthen their skills in teamwork, communication, iterative development, playtesting and user testing, storytelling, game programming, 2D and 3D art and animation, game design, audio design, entrepreneurship, and project management.
Because students at Hampshire have a great deal of freedom in designing their own courses of study, many game design and development students work with their peers and advisors to craft games of their own design. The courses are project-based and offer ample opportunities for students to work in interdisciplinary teams and develop games that will enhance their portfolios.
- Jaime Davila, associate professor of computer science
- Ira Fay, assistant professor of computer science and game design
- Chris Perry, associate professor of media arts and sciences
- Lee Spector, professor of computer science
Student Project Titles
- Creating a Story Driven Video Game: Exploring Humanity's Future
- Immersion and Motivation through Games
- 3D Character Creation for Games and Animation
- Free Software and Game Design
- Virtual Witches and Warlocks: Computational Evolution of Teamwork and Strategy in a Dynamic, Heterogeneous, and Noisy 3D Environment
- Agent-Based Reactive Game Playing: Neural Networks and Chess
- Connections: A Game About Narrative
- Design and Dice: The Development of a Simple and Modular Role Playing Game
- THE HOSTILE TAKEOVER: A procedurally generated video collage video game
Sample First-Year Course
Introduction to Game Design
In this course, students will learn the fundamental concepts of game design and how they apply to games, any designed experience, and our daily lives. Students will be exposed to many different types of games and explore game design themes across genres. Students will also develop and hone personal game design skills through practice and more practice.
Frequent critiques will increase students' ability to give and receive thoughtful feedback, which is a key skill for game designers (and for life). Assignments are project-based and intended to provide both crucial practice of skills and useful additions to a portfolio.
Sample Courses at Hampshire
- Game Development Workshop
- Women in Game Programming
- Analog Game Design
- The Art and Science of Digital Imaging
- Computer Animation I, II, and III
- Designing Treasure Hunts
- Introduction to Game Programming
- Introduction to Game Design
- Interdisciplinary Game Project
- Radical Innovation in Digital Arts
Facilities and Resources
Game Lab and Game Library
Hampshire's library hosts a game lab with modern consoles setup with a projector and surround sound, available for use by any student, staff, or faculty member. In addition to modern consumer consoles, Hampshire also has historical consoles (like Atari 2600) and modern development consoles (like Oculus Rift with dev kit 2). Along with the game lab, there is an ever-growing game library that includes hundreds of digital and analog games available for students, staff, and faculty to check out and play.
The Hampshire College Cluster Computing Facility
The Hampshire College Cluster Computing Facility houses a high-performance Beowulf-style computer cluster called fly. Fly runs the open-source, GNU/Linux CentOS-based free clustering software, ROCKS, and it currently includes 522 processors in 37 nodes. This cluster is available to both faculty and students, and is used for many things, including evolutionary computation research, physical and biological simulations, and 3D rendering.
Hampshire’s campus is wired for wireless internet, and has an e-classroom, several computer labs, and media labs equipped with industry-standard software. The Liebling Center for Film, Photography, and Video and the Johnson Library Center house facilities for computer animation; film and video editing; and digital design. An electronic music recording studio can be found in the Music and Dance building.