The University of Central Florida’s graduate game design program is the best in the world for the third year in a row, according to The Princeton Review and Gamer on PC magazine.
The Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA) won first place, ahead of New York University, Southern Methodist University, University of Southern California and University of Utah. UCF’s undergraduate game design program also ranked 13th for 2022.
“Our top rankings demonstrate that UCF’s game design programs provide students with exceptional, real-world experiences that prepare them for successful careers, fueling one of our community’s foundational industries,” said UCF President. ‘UCF, Alexander N. Cartwright. “UCF’s FIEA graduates are extremely attractive hires for leading companies in the gaming industry – and our students thrive after graduation – as they are trained by exceptional faculty and study in a environment that mimics a real studio, including opportunities to lead teams and manage projects.”
The programs are located at UCF Downtown in Orlando’s Creative Village, where graduate and undergraduate students learn the tools and techniques to become artists, programmers, and producers in the games industry. The Creative Village is home to also the new Electronic Arts office, putting students steps away from internship and job opportunities.
“We are focused on developing top talent that will propel the next generation of developers in Florida and around the world.” —Well Noel
“We appreciate the recognition of the tremendous efforts of our teachers and students,” says Ben Noel, FIEA Director General. “The success of alumni in the video game and simulation industries is what continues to drive the growth and evolution of the program. We are focused on developing the best talent that will propel the next generation of developers in Florida and around the world. The relocation of Electronic Arts one block from our program is confirmation of our success.
Henry Bell, a FIEA student who earned his undergraduate degree in filmmaking at the University of Kansas, leads a team of 19 student producers, artists and programmers who are developing a full-fledged video game this spring and summer in as a flagship project.
“It’s been an invaluable experience to be able to do everything a leader in the industry would do,” says Bell. “I feel so much more prepared to find a job. In addition to having been able to acquire this professional learning, I have met great people who will be invaluable contacts in the industry.
The FIEA program has more than 850 graduates today employed by more than 300 companies around the world. The starting salary for graduates is over $70,000 per year. Top employers include Electronic Arts, Iron Galaxy and Epic Games.
“The FIEA alumni network is impressive, to say the least,” says Bell. “I’ve been able to speak to several alumni who now work at major studios and our wrap teams have alumni advisors. My classmates are also strong bonds as they will go on to do great things, without any doubt, and we can all help each other in the future. I had connections before coming here, but that pales in comparison to the resources I have now.
Gaming has become a $159 billion industry worldwide. Statistics from the Entertainment Software Association indicate that video games and related industries support more than 16,000 jobs and $2.6 billion in economic impact in Florida. According to WalletHub, Orlando is the sixth-best city in the country for gamers, thanks in part to its development opportunities. About 2,000 game developers are employed in downtown Orlando, bolstering the city’s reputation as a center for technology and digital media.
“The continued success of graduate and undergraduate programs is proof of the power of experiential learning in an environment that supports digital media,” said Robert Littlefield, director of the Nicholson School of Communication. and Media.
Daryl Holt, Vice President and General Manager, EA Tiburon (Orlando) and EA SPORTS (Austin and Madrid): “The FIEA continues to be a major source of talent for our EA development studio in Orlando and an important pool of talent for Florida’s growing experience economy. We’ve been fortunate to hire many FIEA graduates over the years and look forward to continuing our partnership as neighbors of Downtown Orlando’s Creative Village, where together we educate and inspire electronic artists. of the next generation.
Dave Lang, Founder of Iron Galaxy: “The FIEA and the University of Central Florida have been instrumental in our efforts to recruit the new talent we need to grow our studio in Orlando. Their game development curriculum emphasizes real-world applications, allowing FIEA graduates to be up and running from day one. We have had tremendous success partnering with them over the years to welcome students into an industry where they can have a positive impact on our games and the people who play them.