Bachelor of Arts in Interactive Media Design
Becker College has been called “a destination for game designers” by U.S. News and World Report. Becker College has been consistently ranked by The Princeton Review for the past eight years as a top undergraduate school to study game design–#5 in the world in 2016; our game design and game development and programming majors are among the most innovative and best in the nation. In 2019 Becker College game design program moved up to #3 in the world by the Princeton Review.
In addition, Becker College is home to the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI), a statewide institute representing a strong partnership between the digital games industry, academia, and the public sector. Massachusetts represents the fourth largest video game industry cluster in the U.S., which presents tremendous employment opportunities for Becker College graduates. Community internships for Becker College video game development students provide valuable portfolio experience. To date, Becker College student-created games are in use by the UMass Medical School-City of Worcester Mobile Safety Street Bus, Old Sturbridge Village, the Danforth Museum, and others.
Game V2.0 – The Studio Experience
How Games Are Made – Accipiter Studio
Accipiter is the Latin word for hawk, or bird of prey – an image tightly connected to the Becker experience. Accipiter is also the name of Becker College’s game development studio. This studio was created specifically to create, launch, and maintain the digital games and applications created by the Becker College community. Within Accipiter, students use their media development skills in art, programming, production and design to create and maintain publishable-quality game properties.
Accipiter is the proving ground where students put their classroom lessons to use in real-world scenarios and experiences. This is where students create the work and individual achievements which will set them apart in their careers as Becker Interactive Media Design graduates.
Game Studio / Live Studio / Directed Graduate Studio
Accipiter Studio is run by Becker College faculty and is the virtual classroom and heart of the studio experience, which is the centerpiece of the Becker College Interactive Media Design curriculum. All students are required to complete six semesters of the Game Studio and have the option of using program electives to take Live Studio courses. Graduate students may interact with both the Game Studio and Live Studio through the upper-level Directed Graduate Studio course. These are described below.
Game Studio, Live Studio, and Directed Studio represent Becker College curricula which concentrate on the development, publication, iteration and maintenance components of interactive media property development.
The studio courses all provide students with the opportunity to work in a real-world development environment, alongside seasoned professionals and industry experts on exciting projects that can lead to publication. The full development experience from ideation to iteration and maintenance is covered, with one-on-one mentorship.
The focus of the experience in this class is on the real-world design of interactive media properties and projects from ideation through publication in the Accipiter Studio. Students work in teams, across interactive disciplines (programming, design, art asset creation, and production), and across experience levels, (sophomore, junior, senior), to develop video games projects of publishable quality. Students may work on the same teams and on the same game project/team for up to two semesters. After that, they may select a new game projects or team.. Student assignments to game projects are made by faculty prior to the course registration process. Submission of an on-line application, well in advance of the semester registration deadline is required to take this course Students are required to complete at least 18 credits of Game Studio to be eligible for graduation.
The focus of the experience in this class is on the real-world iteration and maintenance of existing game properties, post-launch in the Accipiter Studio. Students work in teams on existing, externally supported projects through Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI) or other partners. Live Studio teams represent students from all the interactive disciplines (programming, design, art asset creation, and production), and all experience levels, (second semester freshmen, sophomore, junior, senior), and may include individuals from industry or from other colleges. Students are selected competitively for participation in this course based on demonstrable skill sets and academic achievement. Like Game Studio, submission of an on-line application, well in advance of the semester registration deadline is required to take this course; Faculty will select those students whose skills meet the studio’s current needs, and register them for sections of Live Studio. Students may work on the same or different teams and on the same or new game projects from semester to semester. Live Studio is an elective course, much like an internship, and may not be used to fulfill Game Studio credit. Department approval is required for participation.
Directed Graduate Studio
This course will serve as the core of the graduate student’s academic research focus and project development work. The student will begin an exploratory study of a specific facet of interactive media in the arts which will form a foundation for his/her first-year projects and second year thesis. Prescribed readings will be customized by the faculty to help situate each student’s work within the historical timeline of interactive media. The MFA student will gain hands-on experience by leveraging the resources of a collaborative production environment as well as performing as a lead within his/her declared area of expertise which will be facilitated through the School of Design and Technology’s existing undergraduate Game Studios in the Accipiter Studio. The student commitment for this 9-credit course includes:
- Working weekly with an undergraduate studio course in a leadership role as a project manager and team-lead for his/her unique interactive media discipline.
- Extensively researching an area related to and allowing for exploration in his/her chosen focus, selected with the guidance of faculty and culminating in cited paper[s].
- Working consistently on rapid prototyping and development of his/her own independent project to be showcased during the exhibition at the end of the term.
- Meeting weekly with his/her faculty mentor to structure readings and responses while engaging in an evolving dialogue of the research topic and participating in active critique of individual work produced.
FAQ – Game Studio & Live Studio
What are the main differences between Game Studio and Live Studio and Directed Studio classes?
While the overall objectives and learning outcomes for Game Studio and Live Studio are both the same, they differ slightly in focus. Both studios provide students the opportunity to experience what it is like to work at a genuine, real-life video game studio. In addition, the work students complete in both studios has the opportunity to culminate in credit for a publicly disseminated game. Game Studio classes focus on the entire scope of the game development process from ideation to launch of new projects , while Live Studio concentrates on the iteration and maintenance components of existing commercial properties, with a focus on monetization and analytics through the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (Mass DiGI). Game Studio is a required for graduation, while Live Studio is an elective experience, similar to an internship.
Are both Game Studio and Live Studio classes required for graduation?
In order to graduate with the BA in Interactive Media Design (IMD), each student is required to complete a minimum 18 credits (6 classes) of Game Studio. Typically, students enroll in a section of Game Studio in each semester of their sophomore, junior and senior years. Live Studio classes are not required for graduation. Students may use Live Studio classes in order to meet their IMD or Open elective requirements. Students may take Live Studio classes at any time, and may take Live Studio classes multiple times during their time at Becker.
May I register for more than one section of Game Studio or Live Studio in the same semester?
When do I register for Game and Live Studio?
Registration for Game and Live Studio classes is held just before pre-registration for the upcoming semester.
How do I register for Game and Live Studio classes?
Both Game and Live Studio have special registration processes which is separate from, and earlier than normal class registration. Students are required to submit an on-line application well in advance of the semester registration deadline each semester they are interested in taking these courses. In addition, enrollment in Live Studio classes is a competitive application process which requires a separate application and the recommendation from faculty or the Dean/Associate Dean of the School of Design and Technology. Faculty will select students and register them for sections of Live Studio. Teams are then assigned based on consultation between faculty and MassDiGI/other partners.
Your academic advisors are more than happy to assist you with this process.
Can I use Live Studio classes to meet by Game Studio graduation requirement?
Can I take additional Game Studio classes or Live Studio classes to meet IMD or Open elective requirements?
Am I allowed to choose my role on a game development team in Game and Live Studio classes?
No. Typically, team roles are based on your experience, expertise and concentration selection and are assigned by faculty in both Game and Live Studio classes.
Can I choose my own teammates in Game and Live Studio classes? Can I choose which games I work on?
In general, no. In Live Studio, team assignments are based on your experience, expertise and concentration selection and are assigned by faculty. In Game Studio classes, if you are part of a student development team whose game idea has been “green lit” you may work on a development team of your choice, more typically, however, Game Studio team assignments are also based on your experience, expertise and concentration selection and are assigned by faculty.
How can I work on developing my own game?
In Game Studio, you and your development team have the opportunity to “pitch” a game idea to faculty. If your idea is selected as a “Green Light” Game, you may be allowed to work on a game of your own design with a team of your choice. This is a competitive process and is available only available in Game Studio. Your academic advisors are more than happy to assist you with this process.
Who owns the intellectual property (IP) of the games I work on in Game Studio and Live Studio?
In Live Studio, you are working on games and properties already owned by a publisher or by Mass DiGI, therefore students working on these games do not have ownership of the IP. In Game Studio, unless you are working on a “Green Light” game, students do not have ownership of the IP, as the game concepts often come from faculty or outside, 3rd parties.
Are all the games developed in Game and Live Studio entertainment-based?
No, in both Game and Live Studio games and applications are developed to satisfy a wide range of needs ranging from entertainment, education, simulation and other serious and non-serious development spaces.
Can I work on the same game on the same team over multiple semesters?
Yes, indefinitely in Live Studio and up to two concurrent semesters in Game Studio.
How much time will I spend working on my game projects in Game Studio and Live Studio?
At a minimum, you will spend on average 10 hours per week working on your Game Studio and Live Studio projects.