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Elsewhere – Iowa State U. offers video game design course

(U-WIRE) AMES, Iowa-Video game lovers are doing more with their hobby, thanks to a design class offered to all majors at Iowa State University.

The computer and video game design and development, Integrated Studio Arts 409X, is in its fourth semester and has evolved from an independent study into a studio class with nearly 30 students from various majors, classifications and experience levels.

“I wanted to teach the class for seven or eight years and finally decided to just do it,” said Steven Herrnstadt, professor of art and design.

Students continually polish their games, which have caused many to return to the class for several semesters. Some students have taken the class all four semesters that it has been offered.

Last spring, a team of 12 students from the class developed the game “Treefort Wars” in only 12 weeks and submitted the prototype to the Independent Games Festival in San Jose, Calif.

The game, which involves a water fight between neighborhood kids who build and defend tree forts, was chosen for the festival.

Herrnstadt designed the class to be for more than just designing a video game.

“It’s mostly a class about how to play nice together because all the majors are working together. It is a difficult class to teach because of the eclecticness of it,” he said. “It is organized chaos; well, not even, it’s thinly veiled chaos.”

February 11, 2005

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