Dr. Brian Burton | Assistant Professor of Information Technology

spotlight on Dr. Brian Burton and gaming courses

Game on.

At least it will be in the fall when the School of Information Technology and Computing begins offering courses in digital entertainment, the first step toward establishing a major in the field.

"Our goal is that we will have a minor this fall and eventually a major," said Brian Burton, assistant professor of information technology.

Burton was hired away from Missouri State University in 2007 after successfully establishing the same type program there.

"I know it completely turned the program around at Missouri State," he said. "Suddenly we were turning students away."

He envisions the same thing happening at ACU once word spreads that game development is on the horizon as an academic discipline. Currently, 10 students are enrolled in digital entertainment courses, but Burton expects that to change quickly.

The actual name of the field is "digital entertainment technology," which encompasses more than just game development. Students can focus on computer animation or film production in addition to developing games.

Other departments also will be involved, such as art and design, and even theatre and music to help students get a sense of what is visually pleasing.

Twenty-one students attended a game development conference in Austin last fall, where they learned the realities of the trade - it's not all fun and games.

"It's not just simply, 'hey, I've got a great idea,' " Burton said.

The idea must be turned into a marketable product, and Burton wants his program to train students to be leaders in the field.

Burton's background in gaming started in the late 1970s and '80s with old favorites like Atari 2600 and Pong. He worked at an arcade as a teenager. That interest grew to a career that combined computer technology with education.

His expertise lies in creating virtual environments for education, rather than in game development. He knows he will be way ahead of his students in the classroom, but he's not so sure about his ability as a gamer.

"I'm sure they can beat me at the game," he said.

Learn more about attending ACU 

Featured Video
Five Second Frenzy
Watch to learn more about 5 Second Frenzy, a mobile game developed by students in our Digital Entertainment Technology program.
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