Napier University starts new computer games course

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A TRAILBLAZING university course is set to use the latest cutting-edge gadgets to pave the way for the game designers of the future.

The Game Technologies masters course at Edinburgh Napier University will launch in September, teaching state-of-the-art techniques to students eager to gain a foothold in one of the world’s fastest-growing job sectors.

Edinburgh Evening News Reporter Alistair Grant.  Picture: Andrew O'Brien

Edinburgh Evening News Reporter Alistair Grant. Picture: Andrew O'Brien

And with links to Disney, PlayStation and Rockstar Games – the makers of smash-hit video game series Grand Theft Auto – university chiefs hope the course will help launch the careers of the next generation of virtual pioneers.

Headed by Dr Ben Kenwright, the degree course is aimed at those with a background in maths, computing, engineering or physics and gives students scope to work with the latest gaming gizmos, including the futuristic virtual reality Oculus headset.

Considered by many to be the future of gaming, Oculus allows users to enter an entirely virtual world, from trekking across deserts to riding roller-coasters from the comfort of their armchair.

But Dr Kenwright insists the technology’s uses could extend far beyond the world of video games, including training surgeons for the operating theatre and even helping artists create sculptures.

He said: “It can be used in all sorts of areas. An artist could use it to look around a model, or a designer could use it when they are designing a room. For movies, when you are watching the film, you would be able to look all around.

“Gaming is not just about games any more – it’s about the technology, and using it in other areas.”

Dr Kenwright said the technology behind the system – which has recently been snapped up by Sony for further development – was constantly changing and adapting.

He said: “Every year and a half, we buy new computers for the lab to keep up with the games.

“Computer gaming has become the dominant media industry and it offers fantastic career opportunities.”

Sam Serrels, a third-year currently studying Games Development at Napier, said the area opened up a raft of possibilities for those interested in technology, adding: “It’s about the experience of being in a different world. Doing game development, you’re crafting it – so you’re sort of like an architect.”