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New Video Game Classes

Summer Video Game Academy Coming to Campus

UC Riverside Extension will offer a video game and design and content creation academy Aug. 9 to 27

(July 7, 2010)

Victor ZordanEnlarge

Victor Zordan

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( -- Are you game?

That’s the question UC Riverside Extension staff are asking people interested in creating video games.

UCR Extension has teamed up with a UCR professor of computer science and engineering and The Game Developers Academy, a Riverside company that teaches video game design in conjunction with colleges, to offer a video game design and content creation academy this summer.

The academy is scheduled from August 9 to 27 at the Bourns College of Engineering on the UCR campus. Classes will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“With the rise in popularity of video games and access to industry standard software application, we just thought, ‘Wow, it would be great to offer a video game and design academy,’” said Sandra Richards, director of arts and humanities at UCR Extension.

UCR Extension will host an information session for those interested in learning about the academy from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. July 21 in room 143 in Engineering 2. For more information visit: video game design and content creation academy or call 951-827-5801.

The academy is geared toward a wide-range of people looking to get into video game industry, which reached $20.2 billion in U.S. sales in 2009, according to the Entertainment Software Association.

These people include: passionate gamers looking to develop technical, creative and design skills; professionals who want to sharpen design and content creation skills; individuals with computer-generated graphic design skills; and people with computer science and programming knowledge.

Victor Zordan, an associate professor of computer science and engineering at the UCR Bourns College of Engineering, who is overseeing the academy, is particularly interested in attracting recent high school graduates who are interested in video games.

Zordan, who teaches video game animation and design classes at UCR, said many students arrive on campus with a passion for video games but little understanding of the complex math and science that goes into creating them. He hopes the academy will change that.

“If they come in with this added information, we are geared up to do some interesting things,” Zordan said.

Earlier this year, UCR’s program in video game design was named one of the top 50 of 500 at North American universities by The Princeton Review and GamePro Media.

At the UCR Extension classes, students will learn about topics including: game mechanics, story and plot development, market research, environmental and character assets, designing for animation, rigging and skinning techniques and using Maya and Blender to create designs and characters.

The 100 hours of classes will be taught by instructors from The Game Developers Academy, said James Finley, co-founder and director of the academy. The instructors work at
Broken Circle Studios, a video game development company in Riverside where Finley is the creative director.

Finley is working with other colleges in Southern California, including the University of Redlands, Cal State University San Bernardino and Cal Baptist in Riverside to develop similar programs.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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