When I say the word ‘Florida’, what comes to mind?
Beautiful sandy beaches?
What if I were to tell you that Florida is also a hotbed for would-be game designers.
Florida is home to some of the creators of the most popular video game franchises in history, most notably the Football powerhouse: Madden.
To complement its flourishing gaming industry are some of the top schools for game design students in the country.
But finding the best school for you isn’t as easy as it sounds.
To help you out, we put together a list of the schools most likely to help you land you a great video game design job in Florida, The Sunshine State.
Game Design in Florida is Growing
In the intro we covered the most obvious reasons.
The average temperature is 82 degrees year-round and the state features over 600 miles of beachfront.
This is cause for most people to move here however; this state has so much more to offer, particularly to those of you interested in the entertainment industry.
Not only is Florida home to major studios such as EA-Tiburon and n-Space it is also home to countless independent studios such as:
- Bad Pilcrow
- Phyken Media
- Werd Interactive
This means that qualified graduates will have plenty of opportunities upon completing their programs.
Another reason to consider Florida is the fact that there may come a point in your career that inspires you to explore other opportunities.
Depending on your interest, you’ll find many other jobs in the state, which require a similar skill set, like the animators at Disney Studios.
What are the best Florida Game Design Schools?
The Best Game Design Schools in Florida
Florida A&M, Tallahassee Florida
Often referred to as FAMU, this four-year public university located in the capital of the state makes the college wish list of thousands of graduating high schoolers all around the country.
Some come for the beautiful weather while others come for the sports however, you as a video game designer may be interested in the university’s world-class graphics design degree. Unlike some other schools, which offer a Bachelor of Art for graphic design majors, FAMU offers a Bachelor of Science to their majors.
Students who attend this rigorous design program will be exposed to many computer graphics and illustration courses to aid in vastly expanding their knowledge. Incoming freshmen should have a minimum GPA of 3.0, as this school is somewhat competitive accepting just over 40% of applicants.
Compared to some other schools, FAMU is slightly cheaper ranging from roughly $20,000 – $30,000 per year.
University of Florida
UF is a large four-year university, which got started in 1905. Since its humble beginnings, it has grown to become one of the most respected schools in the United States.
For video game design students the Digital Worlds Institute (apart of the UF’s Arts program) is the mecca of game design as it has become home to one of the top game design schools in the entire nation.
Often called SAGE this program is almost unmatched when it comes to undergrad education. With many courses on 3D modeling, interactive design, and animation students who attend this school are sure to get their moneys worth.
As to be expected, the competition to be accepted into this program is fierce. To make yourself standout your graduating GPA should be a minimum of 3.45. As with many world-class universities, tuition is quite expensive, costing upwards of $40,000 a year for out-of-state students.
The DAVE School was founded in 2000 and had its first full class in a custom-built triple-wide trailer on the back lot of none other than Universal Studios, Orlando.
The school has grown since then to take up all of the Universal’s Sound Stage 25 where students can earn one of a dozen degrees in the fields of Game Production and Visual Effects Production. The school also has many notable alumni, including several Oscar nominees.
The Game Production program offered here is designed to give students intensive career training in the main areas of game production. The program is divided into blocks, which include:
- Digital Modeling and Sculpting
- Animation Fundamentals
- Game Asset Production
- Game Engine Fundamentals, and
- Video Game Production.
The school also offers three other Visual Effects Production blocks that are useful for game development:
- Modeling & Sculpting
- Animation Fundamentals
- Visual Effects, and
- Studio Production.
Graduates of The DAVE School find themselves working at some of the top game studios in the world. Some of them are BioWare, Activision, Electronic Arts, Monolith, Trion, MindWalk Studios, and Naughty Dog.
The program also boasts an impressive faculty including Emmy award-winning artists like Tom Bremer.
Note that information concerning housing and tuition costs is nowhere to be found on their site, including the Frequently Asked Questions Page, which more often than not means that it costs more than the average school to attend here.
If easy access to world-class beaches is one of your requirements, Miami International University of Art & Design should be seriously considered, as this school is located minutes from Miami Beach.
It offers two different paths for aspiring game designers to take, either Computer Animation or Graphics Design.
Either one of these two programs will provide you with the solid foundation many game makers seek from their entry-level employees.
And due to is a prime location many gaming and entertainment conventions and workshops are held throughout the school year.