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Press Release

Eric Sloss

For immediate release:
April 20, 2005

Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center Hosts National High School Game Academy During Summer Program

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) has developed a National High School Game Academy that will introduce high school students to undergraduate studies in software engineering, design, creative writing or dramatic arts by creating video games. The six-week summer Pre-College program hosted on Carnegie Mellon's campus will run from June 26 to August 5, 2005.

"This academy is a great way to engage youth from all over to learn about possible paths of study and careers surrounding entertainment technologies. In the Entertainment Technology Center's world, many disciplines—computer science, engineering, fine arts—come together to develop the very best video games," said Jessica Trybus, head of the Edutainment Initiatives at ETC.

Students will learn interactive digital game development and gain experience in programming, visual design and storytelling by creating development tools for video games. The students will use two types of software, a 3D game engine and a level editor. Using this software provided by games producer Blizzard Entertainment, students will work on a battle scene for the strategy game "Warcraft."

Students will learn about the techniques for creating games with tools such as Photoshop and Maya, the principles of game design through the use of board and paper games, and the business aspects of game design, such as publication and career opportunities. Students will also have an opportunity to build some sample programs using Carnegie Mellon's programming development environment known as "Alice." The academy program does not require students to have previous design, drawing or computer experience.

Sample School Day:

9:30 - 10:30 a.m.
Game Design, All Students
11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Programming, Section A
Game Art Production, Section B
2 - 5 p.m.
"Warcraft" Development Studio, All Students

Weekly Schedule for "Warcraft" Development Studio

Week 1:
Introduction to game design and the "Warcraft" III Level Editor.
Week 2:
Intermediate topics in game design and using the Level Editor to create content.
Week 3:
Presentation and approval of design idea for student projects.
Week 4:
Advanced topics in design and completion of student prototypes.
Week 5:
Delivery of beta version of student projects.
Week 6:
Presentation and critique of final versions of student projects. This will culminate in the Carnegie Mellon/ETC National High School Game Academy Festival where the games created by the students will be made available to the entire Carnegie Mellon Pre-College community to play and enjoy.

Students participating in the National High School Game Academy who are from outside of Pittsburgh will be housed in first-year student dormitories that are staffed by undergraduate counselors during the program. In addition to participating in the program, students will also have the chance to experience Carnegie Mellon's campus and the Pittsburgh area. Pre-College students participate in activities, including sightseeing trips, movies, museums, sporting events and theater productions.

"For participants, the National High School Academy will take the veil off of creating special effects, 3D modeling and animation and designing games and will leave the high schooler understanding how she/he works toward a career in interactive digital media," Trybus said.

The National High School Game Academy will support Carnegie Mellon's Interactive Entertainment Technologies Initiative, a state-funded effort to grow the Entertainment Technology industry in Pennsylvania. The Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon offers an interdisciplinary master's program with the College of Fine Arts (CFA) and School of Computer Science (SCS). Although students come from both fine arts and technology backgrounds, they are not expected to master both fields. Instead, the program focuses on honing the students' existing skills and teaching them to work effectively with other professional groups. Carnegie Mellon is the only university to offer the MET degree.

For more information about the Entertainment Technology Center, visit: For more information about the Pre-College program and the National High School Game Academy, visit: or contact Eric Sloss at 412-268-5765 or by email at


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