What do Nintendo, Atari, the medical industry, and the US Army have in common? All make use of electronic game or interactive technology, and all are potential employers of skills that will be developed in a new degree program at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont.The career-oriented college is unveiling a rare, new bachelor’s degree in Electronic Game & Interactive Development. It’s the first degree of its kind in New England and starting this fall it will prepare students for careers in the fastest growing segment of the entertainment market.“We’re on the cutting edge of this new academic area,” said program director Ann DeMarle, who also directs Champlain’s popular Multimedia & Graphic Design program. “Champlain offers one of the few bachelor’s degrees in the nation modeled after the team-based game development industry.” DeMarle recently attended the 2004 Game Developers Conference in San Jose, Calif., to continue to network with professionals who have helped to develop the program.Students studying for the new degree will learn to work in development teams composed of artists, animators, game designers, marketers, producers and computer programmers to create a game from start to finish. While they get their hands on state-of-the-art technology resources—including new multimedia, 3D animation and game production labs—they will also study psychology and history and they’ll sharpen their research, writing and storytelling skills to prepare for their careers.“The degree represents the convergence of entertainment, information, technology and art,” DeMarle said. “Our students will be introduced to a wide variety of ways in which games can be designed and applied.”In addition to game design, graduates of the new program will also be positioned for work in film, video, Web and interactive design, or in the fields of communication, educational training development, interactive development and interactive writing. The military has been a leader in adult education and their use of this technology is growing with applications in the defense industry and homeland security. The medical industry is also a heavy user of this technology in simulation training for doctors and other health care providers, as well as in the education of consumers of health care. It is also common to see media design, digital development and simulations in other industries such as architecture, law, research, insurance, and even in museum exhibit design.“In the near future, you should start seeing games that reach out and interact with you instead of being passive and awaiting your input,” said David Cook, design manager at Impression Games in Cambridge, Mass. “Furthermore, the techniques and knowledge that have developed about how games work and how they are made are drawing the attention of other fields.”Students in the Electronic Game & Interactive Development program will choose from two career tracks—Game Design or Art and Animation. Game Design students take a mix of game design courses and introductory computer programming courses, plus courses such as Cognitive Psychology and Survey of Drama to gain an understanding of human interaction with technology and virtual storytelling. Art and Animation students build on a graphic design foundation with courses in interactive design and 3D animation using professional software.The career path for a Game Design student includes game tester, level designer, interface designer, lead game designer and director of game design. The Art and Animation student can find a career as a 2D artist, 3D artist, animator, modeler, texture artist, character animator or skins artist, leading to lead artist or creative director, lead animator or lead concept artist.On Champlain’s campus in Burlington, Vermont, students will study in the backyard of one of the most active regions in the world for game development. Within a two-hour drive, Montreal, Quebec, is home to two of the largest game development firms on earth—Electronic Arts and Ubisoft Entertainment.“I think of game development as being like the extreme sports of software development,” said Clint Hocking, a creative director at Ubisoft Entertainment in Montreal, Quebec. “It’s a real thrill to be involved in trying to solve so many complex technical and creative problems in an aesthetically pleasing way—under tight deadlines.”“As interactive designers, we have the opportunity to create something that has never been created by human beings before,” he said.In the United States, the electronic game industry currently requires 5,000 new hires a year, primarily in the fields of game design, art, computer programming, production and testing. The Northeast states collectively are the second-largest employers in the US game design industry, while California is the top employer.Champlain’s program requires students to work in teams to build Web and console-type games in their junior and senior years. They’ll pitch their game to industry professionals and faculty, and, just as in the business world, those who do not have a winning product will “get hired” by the selected teams to help create a finished product.Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a private, career-oriented institution offering professional certificates, associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 29 fields of study. Champlain educates 1,600 full-time students and 900 part-time students. For further information on the College’s academic programs, please visit www.champlain.edu(link is external) or call (800) 570-5858.
Football:What started as unlimited expectations quickly became a disappointment of mass proportions for the UW football team. After starting 3-0 in non-conference play — including an impressive 13-10 victory over then-No. 21 Fresno State in Fresno — the Badgers dropped their first four Big Ten games, starting with a two-point loss to Michigan after blowing a 19-point lead. The wheels really started to fall off for UW after back-to-back, double-digit defeats at the mercy of Penn State (48-7 at home) and Iowa (38-16 on the road), but since that 0-4 conference start, Wisconsin is 4-1 overall and has a chance to end the season with a four-game win streak if it can beat Florida State in the Champs Sports Bowl on Dec. 27 in Orlando, Fla.The season was highlighted by an inordinate amount of criticism aimed at head coach Bret Bielema, plus the emergence of freshman running back John Clay, sophomore wide receiver David Gilreath and junior quarterback Dustin Sherer, who will all look to contribute in big ways next season.— Derek ZetlinMen’s basketball:The Wisconsin men’s basketball team, led by seniors Joe Krabbenhoft and Marcus Landry, got off to a nice start, beginning the season with four straight wins before losing to No. 2 Connecticut in the Paradise Jam Tournament final.Freshmen Rob Wilson and Jordan Taylor have emerged as head coach Bo Ryan’s favorite first-year players, and Trevon Hughes has continued his play from last season, leading the Badgers with an average of 13.2 points per game.The Badgers’ strong play, however, came to an abrupt bump in the road Dec. 6 when Wisconsin traveled east to Milwaukee to take on rival Marquette. While UW led the Golden Eagles for most of the game, Jerel McNeal sparked Marquette to a comeback win, beating the Badgers 61-58 at the Bradley Center.Ryan’s squad survived a scare on Tuesday night, squeaking by Idaho State 60-58 behind junior guard Jason Bohannon’s 18 points.Wisconsin now has two games remaining before the highly anticipated bout with Texas. After that, the Badgers will travel to Ann Arbor, where they will face Michigan, who has beaten two top five teams in the young season.— Jonah BraunMen’s hockey:Talk about a roller coaster first half.The Badgers were dealt a tough blow early in the season, when senior co-captain Ben Street suffered a knee injury in the team’s fourth game of the season. Adding insult to injury was UW’s 0-6-1 start to the year, not earning a win until Nov. 1 against North Dakota.Since then, however, Wisconsin has been one of the hottest teams in the nation and has finally made its way into the national polls after the slow start. Mike Eaves’ team is 9-1-1 in its last 11 games, including a current five-game winning streak heading into the winter break.No one player has stood out offensively for the Badgers, who have seen contributions from the likes of John Mitchell, Tom Gorowsky, Brendan Smith and Jamie McBain.Like the team, goaltender Shane Connelly has settled down since the opening month, allowing just one goal in a three-game span against St. Cloud State, Michigan State and Michigan.— Tyler MasonWomen’s hockey:Undefeated and top-ranked, the Wisconsin women’s hockey team has had a very successful first half of the 2008-09 season.The lady Badgers have used a potent offensive attack, stringent defensive play and elite goaltending to stake their claim as the top team in the land. Wisconsin enters Christmas break at 18-0-2.All-American candidates include sophomore wing Hilary Knight, senior center Erika Lawler, junior center/wing Meghan Duggan, freshman center Brooke Ammerman and senior goaltender Jessie Vetter.Aided by great depth that includes six reliable defensemen, three very effective lines and superstar goaltender Jessie Vetter, the Badgers are the surefire midseason favorites to win the National Championship.Wins over top five opponents Minnesota, Minnesota-Duluth and New Hampshire have toughened Coach Mark Johnson’s squad and prepared them for what is sure to be a grueling second half. Early 2009 trips to Duluth and Minnesota will present tough challenges and ready the talented Badgers for postseason play.Being the No. 1 team in America brings certain burdens, most notably the target Wisconsin carries as the top dog.Every team Wisconsin faces is going to bring their best, and through 20 games, the Badgers look fit to take on all challengers. — Bobby DonohueVolleyball:At the outset of the season, there were high expectations for the Wisconsin volleyball team. They finished second in the Big Ten to eventual national champions Penn State and had a highly-touted freshman class coming in to replace five seniors who departed after last year’s record setting season.As the season wore on, however, the season became more of a rebuilding year than a continuation of the 2007 season. The Badgers failed to find consistency, only winning three matches between October 17 and November 29, including losing the final four contests of the season.Individually, many of last year’s statistics leaders are down. In 2007, outside hitter Brittney Dolgner averaged 4.63 kills per set on her way to become the first UW sophomore to be named All-American. This year, however, her numbers were down by more than a kill per set, averaging only 3.40 kills per set.While this year may have been disappointing by Wisconsin standards, as they didn’t make the NCAA tournament for the first time in 13 seasons, their future looks bright. Freshmen Janelle Gabrielsen and Elle Ohlander were named to the Big Ten Conference All-Freshman team. It was the first time two members of the Wisconsin volleyball team were named to the roster.— Ben SolochekWomen’s basketball:The Wisconsin women’s basketball team, picked to finish 10th in the Big Ten in preseason polls, has been anything but the team many thought they would be.The Badgers have jumped out to an 9-1 record, including nine straight victories — the team’s longest winning streak since the 2001-02 season. Most of their success has resulted from their excellent defensive play, as they have allowed only 56 points per game.UW has also had a very balanced scoring attack, led by shooting guard Alyssa Karel and point guard and team captain Rae Lin D’Alie, who average 14 and eight points per game, respectively.The team has already had its share of thrills only a month into the season. Wisconsin was able to capture the Paradise Jam title in the Virgin Islands after beating Villanova, Central Florida and upsetting then-No. 6 Baylor 59-58 on a Karel jumper with seven seconds to go. Other key wins for the Badgers included a victory over Drake — Wisconsin head coach Lisa Stone’s former team — a double overtime win over in-state rival UW-Milwaukee, and a victory over Virginia Tech in the ACC/ Big Ten challenge.— Sam OlesonMen’s soccer:Although the Wisconsin men’s soccer team finished the season with a winning record, their performance in Big Ten play prevented the team from making the NCAA tournament for the 13th consecutive season.A 1-4-1 record in the Big Ten play this season, culminated by a first round loss to Michigan in the tournament, led to the eventual resignation of seventh year head coach Jeff Rohrman.In their tournament game, the Badgers came one shot away from pulling off the upset over the No. 10 Wolverines. After playing to a scoreless tie after two overtimes, the game was decided by a shootout. After UW forward Scott Lorenz failed to score in his opportunity, Michigan’s Perica Marosevic ended Wisconsin’s season.However, the Badgers did have some bright notes on the season. The biggest story of the year was the emergence of Lorenz, who led the team in goals and points. His 10 goals were good enough for fourth place in the Big Ten, and he was second in the conference in shots. Along with Lorenz, goalkeeper Alex Horwath and forward Brandon Miller will return for their senior seasons.— Tom HagerWomen’s soccer:For the Wisconsin women’s soccer team, 2008 was like a tale of two seasons — the non-conference season and the Big Ten season, the former being better than the latter.In the first month of the season, the Badgers enjoyed a four-game winning streak, a tournament victory in the Hoosier Classic and a 6-2-1 record. Senior Taylor Walsh also netted her first career hat trick in a 7-1 victory over Vermont and was on pace with the school season record with six goals in the first five games.Over the final one-and-a-half months, Wisconsin went 3-7 against Big Ten opponents, including losing its last three games to fail to reach the postseason for the second consecutive season.The Badgers’ most glaring problem — throughout both parts of the season — was an inability to win on their opponents’ home field. In seven road games, Wisconsin finished 0-6-1 and was outscored 20-2 in road games.Wisconsin’s brightest point in the 2008 season was the play of its freshmen. Forward Laurie Nosbusch led the team in points with 21 and finished second to Walsh with seven goals. Fellow freshmen Erin Jacobsen and Leigh Williams — both midfielders — were third and fourth, respectively, in both points and goals.— Jordan Schelling