Manhattan College Creates Game Design and Production as a New Major and Minor

By Isaiah Rosario, Sports Editor

Manhattan College Introduces Game Design and Production as a New Major and Minor for the Fall 2023 Semester. MANHATTAN.EDU/COURTESY

Manhattan College is now offering game design and production as both a major and a minor. 

The college offers three concentrations with the major: coding, design and narrative. The design and narrative concentrations will fall under the School of Liberal Arts and the coding concentration will fall under the Kakos School of Science. 

The dean of the School of Liberal Arts, Cory Blad, Ph.D.,  gave insight on how this new program came to be. 

“Game design came about as we were basically just sitting around thinking about ways to better communicate some of the things that we do, connecting the work that we do here with the real world,” Blad said. 

Blad continued to speak about how rare this program is as it is a program that will collaborate with more than one school on campus.

“One of the most interesting things about this was just asking the question, ‘could we have a multi-department and multi-school major?’,” Blad said. “The closer we looked, and the more we realized, [there’s] nothing blocking us from doing this. We can share resources and we can provide a more specific direction.”

With cross-school integration, it is crucial that students build strong networks so their collaborative work will prove successful in the new program. 

Dean of Kakos School of Science, Marcy Peteroy-Kelly, Ph.D., spoke about the benefits of the cross-school integration, which will help students become more well-rounded for the field they pursue. 

“There are so many different directions one could take,” Peteroy-Kelly said. “I think that for the students who are in the coding track…I think having that greater foundation in the liberal arts fosters greater collaboration, across all of those disciplines.”

Director of game design and production, Michael Grabowski, spoke on how students in this program will be able to collaborate with industry professionals and or gaming companies. 

“I’m planning on taking students out for an onsite visit to a gaming company so that once they learn in the classroom, how gaming classes are structured and understand the different departments we can actually see that in practice,” Grabowski said. 

Once the students progress and learn more about the creation of video games, Grabowski plans to integrate the students into the real world with internships with gaming companies. 

“We’re also planning on sending them out on internships to gaming companies,” Grabowski said. “A lot of this work now is remote as well. Encouraging students to interact with those gaming forums and all the closed groups where people are finding new techniques or sharing code…teaches them to rely on this global network to help solve each of the issues then build them back up to the original game.”

With artificial intelligence becoming revolutionary across the world, the gaming industry will continue to evolve. Grabowski said that this program will certainly equip students with the knowledge to be prepared for anything. 

“There are the tools that exist now and the tools that are coming out and we’re introducing those tools into the curriculum,” Grabowski said. “For instance, with the Unreal gaming engine, there are API routines that you can apply to what are called pawns, those are basically the movable nonplayer characters and other elements that you can interact with.”

With resources such as ChatGPT continuing to play a vital role in the job industry, AI will help make the creation of games a lot easier for students

“ChatGPT is a form of a language model where you can pose a prompt or a question and you can get a response based on that, you’re able to do that now in games,” Grabowski said. “The other side of it is that there are more and more AI-based plugins that help you actually design the game, so building a game is going to become less tedious, easier and faster, because you’ll be able to describe more in language terms what you want to produce.”

Peteroy-Kelly said she expects a lot of great things to come out of the program. 

“I think any program that is fresh and new and highlights things that are actually going on outside of the institution [that] can help bring us longevity, and it can enhance the experience for students,” Peteroy-Kelly said. “[The program] really demonstrates that Manhattan College is responsive to what’s going on around us you know, whether that be popular culture, politics, or whatever this.” 

If Grabowski would leave his students with one final thing when they graduate it would be to make sure these students have a portfolio that they are ready to show the real world. 

“It’s my goal that by the time students have a degree, they already know several people in the gaming community,” Grabowski said. “They’ve already demonstrated their skill sets, and they already have a portfolio in that game that they produced in the senior game seminar…but you’ll also have met through these gaming communities, different players in the field so that you can use that network to go to the next step after graduation.”