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Caroline Booth

Auckland-based Media Design School has introduced a new qualification for budding game developers - the Diploma of Interactive Gaming. This 32-week diploma is designed for students who want to pursue game programming study at an undergraduate level, and leads to the Graduate Diploma of Game Development.

"The new Diploma of Interactive Gaming enables students to fast track their way into the games business," says Caroline Booth Media Design School"s Marketing Communications Manager. "Previously, students who wanted to pursue game programming study at Media Design School needed to hold a Bachelor of Computer Science or equivalent, which involves three to four years worth of study, much of which is not directly related to game programming. The Diploma of Interactive Gaming provides an alternative way for programming students to enter our specialist Graduate Diploma of Game Development. Now our graduates can enter the games industry after two and a half years of intensive, game focused study," explains Caroline.

The course has already received support from the games industry. Richard Hicks, Executive Producer of Midway Games in the US describes the Diploma of Interactive Gaming as "a valuable addition to Media Design School's cutting edge curriculum. This Diploma is the perfect pre-requisite for Media Design School's Graduate Diploma of Game Development. It is appropriate for people who want to get into game programming but don't have an extensive programming and math background," adds Richard.

Mario Wynands, the President of the New Zealand Game Developers Association (NZGDA) believes the qualification will be of benefit to the New Zealand games industry. "The course is a valuable new source of highly skilled talent. Industry and individuals can only benefit from this great new initiative by Media Design School," says Mario.

The Diploma of Interactive Gaming teaches students the fundamental requirements of game development including the game programming language of C++, mathematics for games and graphics programming. Prerequisites are Year 12 maths or equivalent (including algebra) and a good understanding of the basics of general computer usage. Applicants must also have English communication skills and a keen interest in games and the games industry.

The first intake (20 students maximum) for the Diploma of Interactive Gaming will commence on 20 February 2006.