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Gaming industry and HE unite to tackle skills crisis

Gaming industry experts create High Performance Graphics degrees, in partnership with the University of Leeds

Posted by Rebecca Paddick | March 09, 2016 | Higher education

A consortium of leading players in the gaming industry is tackling growing recruitment concerns head on by devising an undergraduate and postgraduate degree in High Performance Graphics and Games Engineering in partnership with the University of Leeds.   

Both the four-year MEng and one-year Master’s degree are open for 2017 entry.

The structure and content of the programmes have been steered by a mix of industry giants, large studios and low-level technical experts, including:  NVIDIA; Epic Games, Sumo Digital, Barog Game Labs, Team 17 and Weaseltron.

ABOVE: Postgraduate students, Petra Ogbonna and Godspower Ekadi with Professor David Duke, Head of School of Computing

“There are plenty of high-level university courses that teach students how to develop games, but there are very few in the UK and indeed the world that deliver anything like the level of technical skills that are needed to innovate with graphics, simulation, low-level performance and engine development techniques,” said Simon Barratt, Director of Barog Game Labs and board member of UKIE who chairs the Steering Group.

“These are the skills needed to push the next generation of entertainment especially at the dawn of the VR and AR industries with their increased graphical requirements,” he added. 

“There’s an urgent and growing skills crisis – that’s why we were keen to work with the University of Leeds to help put a programme together that we know will produce graduates with the technical skills the industry demands. As an employer, this is exactly the type of course we need to produce the next technical innovators.” 

Alongside industry lectures, visits to games development companies and attending UK games events as part of their studies, the University is confident that the Leeds programme will provide the most comprehensive training in cutting-edge computer graphics, with a level of detail and practical experience that is unrivalled in the UK. 

Students will benefit from Leeds’ research environment, getting directly involved in research projects and having access to specialist facilities including high end workstations, hardware such as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets for experimenting with virtual reality technologies and Epic’s ‘Unreal Engine 4’ for learning games engine design and exploring new rendering techniques. 

ABOVE: Leeds students, Katherine De Lima and Michael Stead, with Simon Barratt Director of Barog Game Labs

“It needs graduates with the right mix of deep academic knowledge and hands-on experience who understand how to generate new levels of visual realism and effects on cutting-edge hardware platforms and write the rendering engines that will power the next generation of games.  

“This collaboration with industry will ensure our students will be the best-equipped to enter the employment market in the games development, animation and visual production industries.” 

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