Colleges soon to offer 4-year game dev't course

THE game development industry in the Philippines gets another boost as the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) issued a memorandum order, making game development a four-year course in higher education institutions.

Earlier this year, Ched released MO No. 2 Series of 2013 on the policies, standards, and guidelines for the Bachelor of Science in Entertainment and Multimedia Computing (BS EMC) program.

According to the MO, EMS is the study and use of concepts, principles, and techniques of computing in the design and development of multimedia products and solutions. It includes various applications in science, entertainment, education, simulators, and advertising.

"We have a very good game development industry, it is actually growing. So right now the biggest problem that we are facing in the industry is not enough talents," said Solon Chen, president of the Game Developers Association of the Philippines (GDAP), in an interview with reporters on Wednesday evening at the Apo View Hotel.

He said there are a lot of opportunities in the industry but there are not enough qualified people to go into the gaming industry.

"Everybody wants to develop games but it doesn't mean they all know how to develop games," Chen said.

He said for the past five years, GDAP has been campaigning for game development to become a course offered in HEIs. Just this year, Ched approved and released a MO on the policies, standards, and guidelines for HEIs who would want to offer the course.

"This is a BS degree, an entire four-year course, dedicated to teach students how to build games," Chen said.

He said the current courses on information software (IS), information technology (IT) or computer science (CS) are not enough to provide the needed skills to future game developers.

"The courses in common [between EMC and IT, IS, or CS] are only 10 to 20 percent. It is very different but they are related, somehow, so it is possible for [those in IT or CS] to switch," Chen said.

He said the current practice now is that game developing companies in the country usually hire those in IT, IS, or CS and train them on game development, which takes a lot of time and resources.

"Not all companies have the resources and time, so it will make things easier for game development companies here [with the EMC course to be offered soon in HEIs]," Chen said.

He said currently no HEIs are offering the course yet since it is new and those who will be offering it are still on the process of preparing and fine tuning their BS EMC program.

Specialized fields in the program include Game Development and Digital Animation-Technology.

The program's curriculum is divided into five components: general education, core computing courses, EMC core courses, EMC professional courses, and EMC professional electives with a minimum requirement of 167 units (including capstone project, internship, physical education, and National Service Training Program).

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