Weller Academic Building, Third Floor
61 Sever Street
Worcester, MA 01609
Professor of Game Development
Office Location: Design Building
Terrasa Ulm has been a full time game development faculty member at Becker College for five years. She was instrumental in the design and evolution of the program, one of the nation’s first. Educated, in both the arts and sciences, Ulm holds a B.S. in computer science from Smith College with her master’s in interactive programming and design from Parsons: the New School. She has been engaged in digital art and computer gaming since 1994 and has worked on a variety of games including AI Tarot, Our Nutrition is their Nutrition, and Adivinanzas: Spanish-Enlgish Riddles. Her concentration is in ‘serious game’ development, focusing on how interactive entertainment can improve both physical and mental development, benefiting society in ways untapped by the entertainment industry. She feels interactive entertainment and gaming offer exceptional opportunities in the education arena, creating compelling and engaging learning experiences. Her technical expertise extends to web development, database design, computer networking, C/C++, C#, and objective C programming, game and level development with Direct X, Flash, and third party game engines such as Torque and Unity. Professor Ulm’s personal artistic vision encompasses a wide variety of styles and media, with her particular concentration in digital illustration and 3D modeling and animation utilizing Maya and Zbrush.
I grew up all over the country, but finally settled on the east coast when I came to Smith College for undergraduate work in Computer Science. After completing my Interactive Programming and Design graduate work in New York City, I moved to Worcester and have called this remarkable city home for a few years now. I’ve been at Becker College for three years, and I can’t imagine a better fit for my personality and interests, so I think this is just the start of a grand adventure. I also volunteer at Pernet Family Health Service in the Green Island district of Worcester, and spend the remainder of my time collecting and tinkering with all variety of technological gadgets, playing as well as developing interactive entertainment of all sorts, geo-caching, traveling, and building robots.
What’s unique about your program?
The Interactive Entertainment Program is one of a handful of degree programs across the country for gaming media majors, and we are unique at Becker College because this is only our second year. I’m also fairly certain we are the only program that requires students to play computer games for homework and considers it a sign of success if a student has carpal tunnel syndrome from using a video game controller into the wee hours.
Why do you enjoy teaching at Becker College?
The students make teaching at Becker College a truly amazing experience because their enthusiasm and energy electrifies the working environment, while their dedication and accomplishments make teaching rewarding each day. Furthermore, I love teaching at Becker College because we value maintaining a relevant and challenging curriculum so that each time I direct a course, the experience is unique and exciting for both the students and me.
What do you like most about working at Becker College?
One aspect of working at Becker College that I particularly appreciate is our relatively small size which allows professors to be both heard by the administrators when it comes to improving and developing our programs, as well as be able to truly listen to students as individuals.
What’s new and exciting in your field?
I think interactive entertainment is one of the most exciting and rapidly developing fields in which to be involved. Technological improvements come about continually in our field which always raises the bar for game content. This affects the physics of the game, the intelligence of the in-game elements, the graphics, and the very way in which users interact with the media. This means that when you race a car or fly a plane, you’ll feel it pull and tug and react just a like a real vehicle. When you try to wipe out the enemy battalion, you’ll have to outsmart some of the greatest military generals of our time. When you look at the new planet you’ve just landed on, you’ll notice the alien sand particles, the parasites on the foreign foliage, and the way the three moons reflect light across the violet sky. And when you go to throw a punch or open a door, you won’t have to push a button, but instead just move your hand in a natural motion. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?