Pygame allows students to use programming to build their own games and is used by the program. (Photo by Diego Esquivel)

Program Feature: Video Game Production

The video game production program at Mesa Community College gives students insight into the game industry and assists those that want to get involved in the business and technology aspect of the field. 

The program began when a game technology Certificate of Completion was available at Glendale Community College and was requested to become available at Mesa Community College as well.

   The video game technology program then grew to become an Associate in Applied Science. 

Four years ago, the community college’s at Glendale, Phoenix, Paradise Valley, and Scottsdale all got together to add specialized certificates in programing, writing, audio production, and art.

The curriculum allows students to get hands-on experience with game engines, such as Python and Panda 3D, to get started on the creation of games and learning all the elements that go into making them. 

Students can also select a course in english and cultural literacy to take a class and get involved in Game Studies 202. 

“They start off creating basic 2D sprite games but they learn the basics of how to begin, basic mechanics, player engagement, keeping score, physics, a little bit of everything, and then we expand on that because the Panda 3D library for Python is actually 3D so they actually create first person and third person style games.” said Burton Borlongan, video game production program director.

According to Borlongan, the program looks to prepare students for the industry as they continue to expand and even are developing relationships with the Arizona State University mix center located in downtown Mesa. 

Within the program’s expansion, a new club meets every Wednesday called “Pixel Forge” and has also been developed on campus that allows students to develop games on their own time. 

Borlongan describes hopes to expand the club next spring to eventually hold competitions and also shared advice for young students wanting to get involved in the industry early. 

“Be prepared to work, to put in some hours, to iterate, just do something, take a look at it, see if it works, get some feedback from others, make changes, do it again, it’s a cycle, it’s a loop. Be prepared to work hard and be a little bit driven, you really want to have to want it, it’s intrinsic, it’s a love, and it’s very different than when I came up,” said Borlongan.

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