The versatility and capabilities of today’s mobile devices has been a boon to video game developers, who continue to find creative ways to utilize smartphone and tablet technology as outlets for new game ideas. The popularity of mobile game titles with both casual and hardcore gamers has also resulted in a rapid expansion of professional opportunities, and, with the introduction of an online Mobile Gaming Master of Science degree, Full Sail University aims to teach students the skills demanded in this fast-growing field.
The Mobile Gaming online master’s degree features graduate-level courses that target the industry’s most popular handheld platforms – covering established methods for game development, publication, and distribution. As program director Jeremiah Blanchard explains, the popularity and level of innovation seen in the mobile market make this an attractive option for students looking to expand their software development skill set.
“It fits well as a graduate-level discipline because it takes traditional software coding skills and builds on top of it,” he says. “This new degree involves taking an idea and turning that into a design; taking that design and developing it; taking that developed software product and distributing it, supporting it, and monetizing it. So it’s a much higher-level focus that involves the aspects of creating a piece of mobile software from start to finish.”
Core courses are centered around applying those design, development, and business practices specifically to the iOS and Android platforms, and the last third of the program brings these disciplines together for a capstone project. Students are given four months to produce a mobile game that reflects their collected skills and personal aesthetics, with a proposed final month for a formal written thesis and presentation of their work.
“It’s a very fulfilling discipline,” Blanchard says. “Students receive an iOS device and an Android device, and their internal structures and how you write code for them is varied enough that we get coverage of a vast majority of mobile features.”
Most anywhere you look these days someone’s eyes are locked onto their cell phone, tablet, or handheld gaming system. Even at home, this technology usually isn’t more than a few feet away from most people’s grasp. That’s a powerful thought for software developers, especially when you consider that we’ve really only started to scratch the surface of the kinds of experiences it’s possible to deliver through these devices.
“The field of software engineering is in demand and the field of mobile games is particularly in demand, so it’s all coming together,” Blanchard says. “The more we rely on tech in our lives, the more important these skills become to society.”