Abertay on edge

February 5, 1999

The University of Abertay, Dundee, is bringing together key figures from the digital entertainment industry to help keep its degree courses on the cutting edge.

It has signed up 16 industrial and academic members of a proposed 20-member board for its international centre for computer games and virtual entertainment. They include Abertay graduate David Jones, creator of the game Lemmings, who chairs the Scottish Games Alliance; Nick Farries, chief executive of Carlin Music in London; Takeo Ojika, head of Gifu University's virtual systems laboratory in Japan; and John Vince, head of the national centre for computer animation at Bournemouth University.

Abertay has already launched an MSc in software engineering for games and virtual environments, and a degree course in computer games writing. Current developments include a BSc honours in computer games with Japanese. John Sutherland, senior lecturer in virtual environments, said the new board would ensure that Abertay's courses remained relevant to industry.

David Jones said: "Its links with industry have enabled it to keep abreast of and move ahead of the times. An analogy I like to use is that games are currently at the same stage as the film industry was in the days of black and white movies. By ensuring that the courses are strongly linked to industry, the university is helping its students acquire the right skills to become the multimedia movers and shakers of the future."

In September Abertay will host the fifth international conference on Virtual Systems and Multimedia. The annual VSMM conference has been held three times in Gifu, Japan and once in Geneva, Switzerland.

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