AIMS Games Center

The AIMS Games Center is the largest vertical within the Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media. It combines a liberal education with cutting-edge research and the design of playful technology. As a nationally recognized program for game design and development, it bridges computer science, engineering, education, communication, art and business.

Currently, the center offers nearly 50 games courses and the following programs:

Miamis game design program is ranked number 3 among public universities and colleges in the U.S. by The Princeton Review

Activities

Global Game Jam A student holds a controller in a virtual reality room bathed in colorful lights

Cutting-Edge Facilities

Global Game Jam The Global Game Jam logo is superimposed over a group of past Miami participants

Global Game Jam

Student Clubs Colorful game figures are being moved by a hand

Student Clubs

Miami Esports Camp Seen from behind, students working on computers in the Miami esports arena. A Redhawks varsity esports logo is visible on the wall.

Esports Summer Camp


Community

Alumni Testimonials

Brian Beebe (Class of 2015)

Current position: Producer at 343 Industries

Brian Beebe

"Bob De Schutter's game design classes were the bedrock for my understanding of design fundamentals, and I still reference the core concepts of Intrinsic Motivation and Flow. At 343, I have two major responsibilities: managing a team of developers who create combat for Halo Infinite and producing and coordinating internal studio-wide communications. Having the ability to pursue independent studies in motion capture and the opportunity to participate in the San Francisco Digital Innovation program at Miami were both absolutely pivotal in my start as a Narrative Producer.”

Christian Coppoletti (Class of 2018)

Current position: Digital Sculptor for LifeFormations Creative Group

Christian Coppoletti

"At Miami, I competed in eSports, formally pitched a game concept at E3 and was a Lead Artist on "Brukel," directed by Bob De Schutter, which was named runner-up for the Best Digital Game Award at Meaningful Play 2018. The drive and commitment of the faculty continually opened doors for me every semester. The Digital Innovation Center makes you stand out from other interviewees by catering your persona and pitch to demonstrating how you'll give a company a competitive edge, rather than just meeting the requirements. Knowing this, I landed a position I didn't think I'd achieve until later in my career. I spent my last semester interning at my current full-time job as a Digital Sculptor for LifeFormations Creative Group, where I digitally design, model, render and animate characters from blockbuster movies for use in theme parks owned by Disney, Universal and 20th Century Fox."

James Cox (Class of 2014)

Current position: Designer at Seemingly Pointless
*James is a Forbes 30 Under 30*

James Earl Cox

"I always wanted to tell and share stories. AIMS helped me realize how I could use stories in games as a medium for social messages and set my passion to use games as a tool for reflection and emotion. I remember taking one of my early games, "Don’t Kill the Cow," to professors and receiving fantastic advice on how to improve the game, and which conferences to submit to. It’s crucial for us to understand what we value from digital media, especially in an increasingly digital world. This program sets a path for both knowing and analyzing such complex media, and I’m thankful for all the support."

Lauren McKenzie (Class of 2017)

Current position: 3D Environment Artist at Zenimax Online Studios

Lauren McKenzie

"The faculty and staff at Miami are unparalleled. I signed up for a 3D modeling class on a whim, and it didn't take long to realize that it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. What I found was an extraordinarily supportive professor who encouraged me to push myself, work hard and who gave me opportunities to pursue new goals both in and outside of class. Interactive Media Studies gave me structure for the basics and helped provide connections. Beyond that, I learned to look past what's due tomorrow and think about how what I’m doing now can contribute long-term. Immediately after graduating, I began working as a 3D Environment Artist at Zenimax Online Studios. It's an absolute dream to be able to work in the AAA games industry straight out of college. "

Faculty Spotlight

Phill Alexander

Phill AlexanderPhill Alexander is an assistant professor of game studies and the co-director of the Varsity Esports program. Alexander is one of few mixed-blood Cherokee in game studies, and his current research looks at diversity and inclusion with the goal of developing a research lab for Esports and Diversity. He also serves as co-chair of the Higher Education in Video Games Alliance's Diversity and Inclusion committee. Alexander regularly speaks at other universities and at national conferences, including the Game Developers Conference and the National Association of Collegiate Esports Convention.

"Miami is one of the few places where a student can learn to make games, to draft amazing game art, to build in 3-D, and also can study games and race or games and gender, can develop an Esports management or Games and Business profile. We are building diverse, talented creators who have a liberal arts education and the flexibility to apply games to various fields and professions."

Matthew Board

Matthew BoardMatthew Board is a technical artist, digital sculptor and Independent game developer. His digital sculptures have been exhibited at the Gnomon School of Visual Effects, Games and Animation and the Pixologic (makers of ZBrush) turntable gallery. Board recently completed the educational game "Mysteries of the Core," which was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. He has done contract work and consulting for various clients, including Owlchemy Labs, Anzovin Studio and Hasbro. His current research explores meaningful environmental narratives using game development as the vehicle for expression. Board has an MFA in electronic art from the University of Cincinnati and a BFA in studio art from Northern Kentucky University.

"One of the highlights of working with students is being present when they leave their comfort zone for new creative and technical territory. The journey often begins with struggle and failure, but more often than not, it ends in success."

Bob De Schutter

Bob De SchutterBob De Schutter (PhD, MA) is the C. Michael Armstrong Professor of Applied Game Design. He has received several awards for his work on games and aging, including Miami University's Distinguished Junior Scholar Award. Recently, De Schutter's dark, historical game "Brukel" was named runner-up for Best Digital Game Award at Meaningful Play 2018. His favorite course at Miami is held at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, one of the largest professional gaming industry events.

“Breaking into the industry is all about making connections. That’s why it's often a life-changing experience for our students when we take them to the Game Developers Conference and help them to start their own professional network.”

Eric Hodgson

Eric HodgsonEric Hodgson is the director of the John Smale Visualization Lab and Center and an AIMS instructor. As part of the 2016 International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare conference, Hodgson received Best in Show for Serious Games and Virtual Environments under the academic faculty and staff category. His winning game was an immersive Decontamination Training Simulation that let nursing students interact with digital patients. Hodgson notes his biggest highlight as working with a team of undergraduate artists and programmers to build a VR training simulation for a regional hospital. The group used their game skills to teach disaster preparedness to roughly 100 nurses.

"The interdisciplinary nature of this program is by far its best asset. Yes, you can focus heavily on 3-D art, or engine scripting, e-sports management or game design and become really good at your specialty, but you'll also get to dabble in other things and rub shoulders with those other folks every day."

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