Champlain had everything Mary wanted in a college...
Champlain's was the first letter I got that was specific to me and my interests. The College thought I might be interested in their Game Design program, and after looking at Champlain online, I went to the Open Houses. I realized how wonderful the faculty and staff here were. It didn't feel like phony smiles; it felt like everyone really wanted to be here, and it was encouraging. The success rate in terms of students getting into jobs in their fields was incredible, and the College's Upside-Down Curriculum stood out to me. I'd be jumping into my major right away. Champlain seemed to have the whole package deal.
Champlain's Game Programming classes gave Mary career-relevant skills starting in her first year...
It was scary going into Game Programming at first. I didn't study programming in high school, but I really liked math. My calculus teacher was pushing me toward a major with a programming angle. I was involved in game clubs in high school, so when I discovered Champlain, I took a leap of faith. I've learned so much in a short period of time.
Mary is proud of what she has done at Champlain...
I'm just really grateful for the skillset I've gained, and I can only imagine the skillset and knowledge I'll acquire over four years. No matter what I do in my future, I'm proud of the work I've done here.
Mary, Game Programming MajorNiantic, CTDIVISION OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY & SCIENCES
Carlos knew Champlain would be the perfect college to help him pursue his interests...
Video games have been my life since I was a little kid. I'd play video games, listen to video game music, and learn hundreds of fun facts about games. When I was much younger I'd get frustrated at certain points in games, but as I got older that frustration led to analyzing. Champlain was the first college to contact me, and they sent me information specifically about their Game Design program. The upside down curriculum really caught my eye along with the dedicated major. When I visited the campus, I knew I wanted to come to Champlain.
His classes at Champlain and his experiences studying abroad in Montreal, Canada helped Carlos learn the ins and outs of the industry...
I've loved my experience in the Game Design program. I learned a good amount of history and began working in teams as soon as I started. During my third year, I studied in Montreal and it was my best semester so far. I learned so many things not only about my field, but also the industry itself and what it's like to actually live as someone working in it. Now, as a senior, I'm with a team of people that I've connected with and we're working on a project we're all passionate about. I'm thoroughly excited to continue working on it and see where it goes.
Carlos is ready for life after graduation...
Finishing college is a very scary thing, but with the communication skills, resource locating methods and team experience I've gained from Champlain, I'm confident that I can fulfill whatever role an employer needs me to do.
Carlos, Game Design MajorWoodbourne, NYStudied abroad in Montreal, CanadaDIVISION OF COMMUNICATION & CREATIVE MEDIA
Desiree knew Champlain help her achieve her dreams...
What drew me to Champlain was the atmosphere of the campus as well as the excellent Game Art & Animation program. I've loved video games for a long time, and I decided very young that I wanted to make games. I knew it would be challenging at times, but it was a childhood dream that I stuck with through thick and thin. Now, Champlain and the amazing opportunities at the Game Studio are helping me make that dream a reality.
She used what she learned in the classroom at her internship...
I was an Art Intern at Massachusetts Digital Games Institute. At my internship, I worked as an artist on multiple video games for different clients. I got to meet and gain experience from many indie game developers from the Boston area, as well as the directors of the internship program.
Because of my experience making games at Champlain through our Game Studio, I was able to effectively work in a production environment as well as switch from project to project as needed. Champlain prepared me greatly for my internship, and gave me advantages that benefited both myself and the games I worked on.
Desiree is ready to enter the game industry...
Upon graduation, I will be able to enter the job market with ease. Champlain has given me the skills I need to enter my field, and I have grown as a professional and a person. I am prepared me to enter the industry, and I am confident that I will one day have the job of my dreams.
Desiree, Game Art & Animation MajorGranby, MAStudied abroad in Montreal, Canada DIVISION OF COMMUNICATION & CREATIVE MEDIA
Favorite spot on campus:The Fireside Lounge. It's so open. You can interact with a lot of people, and I find that interesting.
I chose Champlain because... The specialized major, Game Production Management, is not common in the United States. And, I like the school size, small class sizes, and I really like the Core classes.
Why Game Production Management?I really enjoy gaming, of course, and managing the business aspects, the communication, the teamwork. I initially applied for Game Design, but I realized I didn't want to be behind a screen all the time or in a cubicle. I really enjoy talking to people, being outgoing and overseeing a lot of different projects, so I chose Game Production Management.
When it comes to activities...I keep myself super active with three leadership jobs on campus. I am the sophomore representative in the Student Government Association (SGA). This is my second year representing the Class of 2020. The SGA funds clubs, activities-any club can ask for a grant. We also try to be the bridge from students to faculty and administration. I am also a Diversity Representative, which is a peer educator. We host activities and events, talk about critical topics. I also have a new position as a Game Producer Coach, and get to coach first-years in my major. I guide them and see how their doing with homework, time management, and communication.
In the future...Once I start working, that's when I think my actual growth will really be happening, but I think Champlain is helping us get ready for the real world, especially through the classes and leadership roles it offers. My goal is to get into a gaming company. The game industry is super competitive. My dream company is Nintendo, because my style fits their bubbly, cartoony style. But I also like Gorilla Games, Big Hits, Sony, Epic Games.
Advice for prospective students:Be open-minded. Champlain is not your stereotypical college. It's different in a good way. Stay positive. Be yourself. You will miss home, but Champlain just may be your second home.
Michael-Paul, Game Production Management majorOranjestad, ArubaROBERT P. STILLER SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
After graduation, Tyler landed a job as an Associate Software Engineer with Vicarious Visions (VV) in Albany, NY. You may recognize his work in the Destiny game series. Here is what Tyler had to say about his experiences in the game industry:
What does a typical day on the job look like?
A typical day can vary greatly! Depending on how far along the project is, a day can consist of brainstorming ideas with designers and artists, creating schedules with the producers, working on creating new features and concepts, or bug fixing on the final polish pass. Regardless, I'm almost always writing, reviewing, integrating or fixing code... and sometimes pulling a prank or two.
What's the most rewarding/enjoyable part about your job?
It's really satisfying to see how players react to features I've worked on—both positively and negatively! It helps me align on what makes great games great, and how I can achieve that in the future. Also, my coworkers at VV are some of the hardest working, most passionate people I've met, and as corny as it sounds, we really are one big, happy family. It's awesome going to work and seeing all of these smiling faces all working towards the same goal of creating an awesome game.
How did your Champlain experiences and major prepare you for your job?
The Game Studio and Game Programming major at Champlain were the keystones to me landing and excelling at my job. Besides the hard programming skills, Champlain provided me with an awesome environment to find and hone the soft skills that are needed in a team environment. The production-based game classes put me in real-world scenarios that not only taught me the interdisciplinary roles of game development but also gave me real life experience in it, too.
Do you have any advice for current students at Champlain?
Do. Whatever it is you yearn for, do it. Champlain is an awesome springboard towards whatever goals you have, and it provides so many resources to help you find success. You might just surprise yourself with how far you go.
Tyler, Game Programming East Brunswick, NJDIVISION OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY & SCIENCES
The Upside-Down Curriculum helped Natalie find the right major for her...
I honestly knew nothing about game design before choosing it as my major, except that it seemed like an incredible mix of creative mediums, and I liked that. The Upside-Down Curriculum really helped me in my first year at Champlain because I wasn't completely sure about my major when I picked it. At another school, I would have had to wait two years to find out for sure whether it was for me, but at Champlain you're working in your major from the get-go. I was instantly reassured that I made the right choice in my first semester.
Natalie found a community in Champlain's Game Studio program...
There's a tremendous sense of community with everyone in the Game Studio-that's the Game Programming, Game Art & Animation, Game Design, and Game Production Management majors. All of our majors are challenging and demanding, but we're all in this together making games, and you really get a sense of that. Everyone supports one another in and out of the classroom, and we all learn from each other.
Natalie has made a game every year she's been at Champlain...
Every year, the game curriculum includes a class that is dedicated to practicing game production. In these classes, we split into teams and makel games the same way professionals in game studios do. It's incredible practice not only for our senior Capstone, but for when we enter the game industry. I now have the skills to make a game entirely on my own.
Natalie loves going to college in Burlington, VT...
Burlington just has a great vibe. There's plenty of places to wind down and relax, or have some fun after getting some work done. I love going to the beach early in the year when it's still warm enough to swim. Nothing feels better than getting out of class and heading to the beach for the rest of the day. I highly recommend it.
Natalie, Game Design major Springfield, PAStudied abroad in Montreal, CanadaDIVISION OF COMMUNICATION & CREATIVE MEDIA
Linzel knew Champlain was the perfect fit for her...
I decided I wanted to be a game artist in my last year of high school. I had experience with art and I enjoyed video games, so I thought why not put the two together? I chose Champlain based on a combination of the school size, location and the game cohort.
Linzel's work at the Emergent Media Center and her internship gave her the skills she needed to enter her field...
At Champlain, I worked with the Emergent Media Center, which gave me more insight into the workings of game studios and how to manage collaborating with different teams. It helped to have critiques every week from someone outside of the game team and also from our clients, who had little to no game experience and could give me valuable insight into the art I was creating. My semester abroad in Montreal was also invaluable in giving me a feel for what a games industry city was like and visiting game studios.
In my junior year, I had the opportunity to intern at Mission Critical Studios, where I did concept and in-game art for a 2D iOS game. My internship helped give me an inside look at what it's like to work in a smaller company and what skills I needed to improve to better fit that role. These experiences and my production classes gave me confidence about entering the job market. I'm able to say that I've created games before and know the pipelines for common game industry work practices.
Champlain helped Linzel grow as a personally and professionally...
Champlain has helped me become much more independent. I'm now open to new experiences and I'm always trying new things. Thanks to Champlain, I've come to understand myself better and my limits of the work I can do and how I can push myself further.
Liznel, Game Art & Animation MajorNorth Plainfield, NJDIVISION OF COMMUNICATION & CREATIVE MEDIA
After graduation, Marlena landed a position with SIE Bend Studios in Bend, Oregon, as an Associate Narrative Designer. She gets to work on narratives and games she loves every day. See Marlena's portfolio.
Champlain was place Marlena saw herself having a great time learning...
The difference between other schools and Champlain is that even in something as simple as the course overview, Champlain's curriculum sounded alive-and more importantly, fun. Whatever school I ended up going to, I wanted it to be somewhere I'd have a good time learning. Now I am learning with people who are just as passionate as I am, and I get to work with them every day on amazing games.
Marlena's class projects always engaged her and helped her grow...
One of the things that I really like about the Champlain experience is that most of my work feels meaningful, especially in my major-related classes. Every semester gives you the chance to create a new game with a group of like-minded people who are all striving for their personal bests. When it all comes together, we—as students and as game makers—are able to see the results of our efforts.
Marlena's unique internship experience let her give back to her community and gave her new skills as a game designer...
The Mansfield Hall Fellowship program is an internship opportunity for undergraduates who are interested in interacting with a population of college students with learning disabilities, including the autism spectrum, non-verbal learning disabilities and ADHD.
Considering that working with special needs learners is fairly far outside the standard skill set for a game designer, I know it has improved my ability to speak clearly and concisely, and convey my thoughts to people who think and act differently from how I do. I strongly believe that this will be able to positively impact my ability to work in a game studio after I have my first job.
Marlena, Game Design Littleton, CODIVISION OF COMMUNICATION & CREATIVE MEDIA
Why did you choose your major?The Management of Creative Media program is quite intense, but the game production courses I'm taking are awesome. They were what originally attracted me to Champlain, because it's the only college to have courses like them. You have get great experience working in a small team to develop a game, and it's always fun and rewarding. You make a lot of friends, and you create a résumé at the same time; it's everything I've ever wanted. Highlights of your program so far?I had a project in Game Production 1 where we had to create an educational game for 1st-3rd graders. My team and I made a game called Pheletons, which focused on bringing awareness to auditory dyslexia, which is something I actually suffer from. As a game producer, it was neat to try to make the game specifically for little kids, to make it simple enough for them to understand. It made me realize that I actually enjoy the aspect of marketing and understanding the customer. It was a very transforming experience for me.
We were also given a project where my team and I made a mobile, sci-fi dungeon crawler game, which we called Remnants. I ended up really enjoying working with that team; we got along really well, and we did so well that we got the first 100% in communication that the professor had ever given. We were so excited about the project that after the semester ended, we kept working on it over the summer. We're still working on it now and will hopefully complete it. I think the thing I enjoyed most about that project are the connections I made that I'm able to carry beyond the class.
Elijah, Management of Creative Media Major*Game Management SpecializationAustin, TXROBERT P. STILLER SCHOOL OF BUSINESS*The name of this major changed to Game Production Management in 2016.
What I've liked most about Champlain's Game Studio is the strong integration of team-based projects in the curriculum. You learn about the ups and downs of a production environment where you are constantly relying on other people, the importance of communication skills, and the ability to prioritize and manage your time well. You gain these soft skills, which are necessary for seeing any project through to completion. At the same time, you learn how to use different programs, like Autodesk Maya, CrazyBump, ZBrush and Unity3D, while practicing a wide variety of techniques to create realistic, game style-objects and hand-painted, more stylized environments.
Throughout my time at Champlain, I studied abroad in Montreal for both semesters of my junior year, was an assistant artist at Codename Games in Los Angeles over a summer, and attended the Montreal International Game Summit for three years. I also attended the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco during my senior year, thanks to a scholarship through the College. I've done everything I possibly can to be in a good position to get hired after graduation.
Lucas was hired as a 3D environmental artist for Torn Banner Studios in Toronto, Canada, the summer after he graduated.
Lucas, Game Art & Animation South Londonderry, VTDIVISION OF COMMUNICATION & CREATIVE MEDIA
After graduation, Charlie returned to the game studio he interned with, Insomniac Games, and started a new job as Associate Game Designer. His responsibilities include gameplay scripting and setting up combat, puzzle and dialogue encounters in an open-world, and instanced setting. See Charlie's portfolio here.
Charlie had professors who are professionals in their field...
The professors at Champlain all have had experience in the industry. They can talk to us and say, ''Listen, when I worked at EA ... Or, when I was working on Myst, this is how we did things." Plus, since they have been in the industry they have connections at big companies-your professors can actually help you land a job after graduation.
His internship gave him once-in-a-lifetime experiences...
For my internship, I did a lot of hands on work for the new Spider-Man game for PS4. The work I did mostly involved level design and scripting using Insomniac's visual scripting language. I also attended weekly design meetings, participated in feedback playthroughs for different missions of the game, and worked with several different departments in the studio.
The most rewarding part of my internship was getting to watch the gameplay demo for Spider-Man close the 2017 E3 Sony Conference. I couldn't stop smiling and thinking about how I haven't even started my senior year of college yet, and a game that I'm working on was one of the most impressive games shown at E3.
Charlie's experiences in and out of the classroom prepared him for work in his field...
Things that I've learned in my production classes-like working on a development team, using version control and becoming familiar with the development cycle-made it easy for me to adjust to Insomniac's way of working. Even beyond the classroom, my experience getting involved in different parts of the College—like being a Student Ambassador—taught me how to be a productive member of a team and how to communicate when I need help, which are skills that I use every day at my internship. I'm confident that everything I do at Champlain is preparing me to be a very successful part of the game industry.
Charlie, Game DesignStamford, CTDIVISION OF COMMUNICATION & CREATIVE MEDIA
I was originally enrolled in Champlain's Education program. I still really like to teach, but it just didn't work for me. I had made friends that were a part of Champlain's game program and they were learning so many cool things. I knew I wanted to be involved in the game community and I had always really liked games, so at the end of my first year I switched into the Game Programming major. There have definitely been no regrets. Game Programming was the right move.
My experience in the program has always been really intense and every semester seemed like the hardest semester I've had, but it's fun! There's a feeling of unity in the program when you're working with other game majors, like artists, producers and designers. Being a part of an integrated program like that, where everyone has their own specialty and you're the only programmer on the team, is really cool because you get to apply all the skills you've learned on a realistic project. You also get to play a unique role, learn your teammates roles and maybe even learn some skills from them. During my senior year, I worked as part of a senior team to make a final game and presented it at ArtsRiot. It was all we wanted as game developers-we had a game, and everyone was playing it. It was a great final experience at Champlain.
As a sophomore, Jack co-founded Team Aurora Games, LLC. He published a beginner's guide to OUYA game development before graduation.Jack, Game Programming MajorMontpelier, VTDIVISION OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY & SCIENCES