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Paul Das '23 shares an early game prototype.

Getting Into the Game

This winter term, students are creating their own 3D games in a new course led by Mike Boyles, director of DePauw’s Tenzer Technology Center. Working with Unity, a cross-platform development tool used widely in the games industry, the class has already started creating basic environments and managing player inputs. As students get more comfortable, they’ll have opportunities to branch out and explore unique ideas with their designs.

Boyles says he intends the course to be a broad introduction to the life cycle of 3D game development, going as far as putting a mock studio banner — “T22 Studios” — above a snack bar in the classroom. He wants students to see just how varied careers are in the games industry, where outside-the-box thinking is valued just as much as technical capability.

“Game development is a huge area with many different roles,” Boyles said. “Technical students can go into programming, and non-technical students have plenty to do in areas like design, animation or marketing on the business side of things. It’s a perfect fit for the liberal arts in our opinion.”

As is typical of many winter term courses, the class is a mix of students with an academic background in the topic along with others who are dipping their toes into something different. First-year Morgan Lawson ’25 is a little bit of both.

Lawson, who plans to major in classical studies, says she’s always been a fan of games and looked forward to a chance to make one. When she originally enrolled in the course, she mentally labeled it as an “expanded experience” — an opportunity between semesters to explore an unrelated area of interest. That was, until Lawson’s advisor, classical studies professor Rebecca Schindler, told her how DePauw students had used tools like Unity to recreate their archaeological dig sites.

“I never realized that was something that could be possible for me,” Lawson says, “but it just so happened to work out.”

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