Computer Game Design Partners with Digital Media Agency Zaah

Posted: November 20, 2013 at 5:02 am, Last Updated: November 21, 2013 at 6:56 am

Print Friendly

By Catherine Probst

computer game

Photo by Alexis Glenn

George Mason University’s Computer Game Design Program has joined forces with Zaah, a digital media agency, to offer students a unique on-campus internship program. Through the Zaah on Campus Program, students have the opportunity to gain real-world experience by working with corporate clients on high-level mobile game projects.

The program is one of the first corporate and academic partnerships at George Mason that embeds an onsite internship and applied research component into the curriculum. Open to juniors, seniors and graduate students at Mason, students are selected based on creativity and technical skill levels needed for each project.

“We are very excited to have the opportunity to partner with Zaah and be able to provide students in the Computer Game Design program with applicable skills they will be able to use after they graduate,” says Scott Martin, director of the Computer Game Design program in Mason’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. “Through this partnership, our students are in an excellent position to gain the education and research expertise needed to excel in the real-world.”

The Zaah on Campus Program, which officially kicked off this month, will use studio space in the Art and Design Building. The program celebrated its opening with a “Shark Tank” style competition. Just as in the popular television show, students pitched their game, software and technology ideas to Martin and Aidan Butler, director of Zaah, to be considered as projects for the program. Several concepts are being considered for production beginning in spring 2014.

The partnership, which runs through 2017, allows students be involved in the entire process of game design, from ideation to market delivery. Students who participate in the program will be paid for their work and will earn credit toward their degree.

“The great thing about this partnership is that it exposes students to every part of the development process and helps them understand the steps necessary to bring a product to fruition,” says Butler. “Mason students who are part of this program will have the opportunity to get their work out into the marketplace, learning how to balance the needs of real clients with their own ideas.”

At the beginning of the fall semester, several Mason students began working with Zaah staff to develop the mobile game app, FPS Russia: The Game. Originally created for the popular YouTube channel FPSRussia, the students analyzed the original code of the iOS version of the game and made adjustments for compatibility with Android devices.

This work included user interface design; programming game mechanics and scoring system; developing application programming interfaces for social media interaction; and performing quality assurance testing for optimal user experience. In their next project, a team of seven Mason students will be involved in further aspects of the development process by creating original art assets and brand-new code. The game will be available for download soon at fpsrussiagame.com.

For more information about the Zaah on Campus program, contact Martin at 703-993-4574 or smartin4@gmu.edu.

Write to Colleen Kearney Rich at ckearney@gmu.edu

Leave a Comment