Industry veteran heads TCD video games course

5 Jul 2007

A new master’s degree in interactive entertainment technology has been developed by Trinity College Dublin (TCD), with Steve Collins, the co-founder of globally successful software company Havok, as course co-ordinator.

You may have heard of Havok, which started out as a spin-off company in Trinity College Dublin and is now a world leader in developing middleware physics for computer games.

The middleware is used for realistic special effects in popular console games like Halo 2 and Half Life 2, as well as for producing special effects for films such as The Matrix.

Collins said the masters programme, which begins this autumn, has received a lot of interest and he hopes it will go some way towards settling the “battle of hearts and minds” that many students face when it comes to studying technology.

What makes this course unique is the level of interest and support it has from industry players like Microsoft, Intel and Demonware among others.

It is also being taught by people who are in state-of-the-art research in their respective fields in the technology industry.

“What’s missing is a little bit of advocacy from the point of view of the industry itself,” said Collins.

“With my background in gaming, I’m very keen that what we produce in an educational environment is directly relevant to the industry.”

This course, funded by the National Development Plan (NDP), teaches the science and technology that underpins software for many industries, including mobile devices and set-top boxes, as well as computers and gaming consoles.

“What’s misunderstood is that there are huge job opportunities in the industry. Every part of the industry, that I’m aware of, is crying out for undergraduates, more graduates, greater skills and better training,” said Collins.

“What is considered to be games technology today is going to be the pervasive consumer technology, or the ‘TV’ technology, that people will have in their living rooms tomorrow.”

By Marie Boran