A national website recently included the University of Houston-Victoria’s undergraduate digital gaming and simulation program in its Top 10 list of programs in the southwest region for the school’s academic reputation, program quality, value for graduates and employment data.

Animation Career Review ranked UHV’s Bachelor of Science in computer science with a concentration in digital gaming & simulation and the Bachelor of Applied Arts & Sciences digital gaming and simulation concentration as 10th in its 2020 Top 10 Game Design Schools and Colleges in the Southwest list. The Southwest includes Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Nevada.

“Digital gaming and simulation have become increasingly relevant in today’s world,” said Beverly Tomek, interim dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences. “UHV’s program seeks to equip students to succeed both in building games and in the many other areas where this technology is used.”

When compiling its list of programs, the website sent questionnaires to each university about the contents of the program and the faculty’s perspective about other institutions. The website then used the information from the questionnaires and the schools’ websites to create its ranking lists.

UHV’s undergraduate digital gaming & simulation programs are unique because they focus on more applications than entertainment, said Rogerio da Silva, a UHV assistant professor of gaming and computer science, and director of the program. Although the original purpose of the technology was for computer and video games, other industries and companies have begun to find other uses for it as well.

“Here, students will have the opportunity to learn, not only about how to design and program games, but also how to see them as tools to solve real-world problems,” da Silva said. “Gaming technology is now being used in a variety of domains like human-centered interfaces as in virtual and augmented reality, data visualization, education, medicine, advertising, robotics, engineering and so much more. That’s why at UHV our program is devoted to a much broader audience as ‘digital gaming & simulation.’”

Part of the excellence of UHV’s program also is because of the quality faculty members who teach the program and pursue unique research in the field, such as affective computing technology or mathematics applications in computer graphics. The faculty then share their research with their students, said Hongyu Guo, a UHV associate professor of computer science. The university also has cutting-edge technology, including motion capture labs. In addition, the university will soon open the new UHV Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Building, which will have even more resources for the program.

“Here at UHV, the professors in this program have a passion for teaching digital gaming,” Guo said. “We really care about our students and always put our students at the center. UHV even supports area high school students and encourages them to pursue gaming by offering events such as summer camps and the annual Math & Robotics Awareness Day.”

Another metric the website used to measure the program’s success was graduate employment.

Students who have graduated from UHV’s program have found positions with companies including Digital Dreams Entertainment LLC and Blizzard Entertainment.

To learn more about the university’s undergraduate digital gaming programs, contact da Silva at 361-570-4204 or dasilvar@uhv.edu.

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