Today I had the pleasure to sit in on the Team Presentations at the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA). FIEA is a masters degree program from the University of Central Florida in game development. Several former-EA employees left just over five years now in order to form the school. Each year the students break off into teams and pitch a game project, then build it to what we call at EA a “First Playable Demo”. This is very similar to the Green Light Process we use for games. At the end of the presentation, a few people from the game industry and the faculty go off in a room and decide which games will continue on and get made and which ones will stop there.
First off, I have to say all the games were impressive. The level by which the games were built was great for the six weeks they took building them. The tools and engines that students have now in order to get started is great. I wish they had these types of schools back when I was trying to break into the game industry.
In the end, we chose 3 games to move forward. The two I thought were good and one that I thought wasn’t quite ready, but the other members of the panel thought it was. I had a great time and think it’s a great program that they have down at FIEA. It is really getting the students that “real world” feel to the game industry.