Media/Creative Computing Track

This track is intended for students wishing to prepare for entry-level positions in game engineering, animation programming, and media technology or graduate studies in those areas as well as research in entertainment uses of computing and HCI. Built upon the proposed HCI track, this track is an alternative to a graphics track for students excited by applications of computing in entertainment.

Game technology is hot. To anyone who has seen the massive job fairs at SIGGraph and game conferences, jobs in this area are currently in very high demand by companies such as Disney, Pixar, SKG/Dreamworks, Electronic Arts, Lucas Arts, and other large media and game companies. UC Santa Cruz has recently inaugurated a BS in Game Engineering degree program. In its first year, it has proven to be wildly popular. Its core coursework in math and computer science is almost identical to their BS in Computer Science; there are a few changes to the CS curricula to make it more specific to games, along with the addition of a few new classes. While our track is not strictly a game engineering program such as the UC Santa Cruz program, it should attract a number of additional majors to our program, who should be able to bring their skills to high-visibility employers.

However, the bigger picture is that this track would be the core preparation for “creative class” computer scientists. Richard Florida has identified a new “creative class” of designers and technologists; he argues that most new hot trends and products are created by this creative class. (See .) The course work in this track emphasizes facility with various media, integrated design of software and content, and thinking outside the box. Thus, as new cultural forms emerge that utilize digital technologies, students from this program will have an appropriate foundation to participate, or with further work at the graduate level, to lead.