Sponsor wooed by 3D study

October 13, 2000

Tudor cottages and suburban semis will grace the landscape of the next version of a classic computer game thanks to students at the Kent Institute for Art and Design (Kiad).

The UK edition of Sim City 3000 will feature 30 new buildings that are intended to signify British heritage - from 1960s tower blocks to Regency terraces. The project originated in a design study in 3D 18 months ago.

The manufacturer of Sim City, California-based Electronic Arts, was so impressed with the Kiad project that it is sponsoring a postgraduate course in gaming software design. The 15-week course, beginning in November, will give ten students the opportunity to test and develop their creative skills in a specially designed interactive studio.

Clive Arundell, head of computer-related design at Kiad's school of design, said the course would fill a gap in the skills market. "Graduates of our course will have three years of art and design behind them. Games companies would rather have someone who can take a piece of Plasticine and mould it than a computer geek without design flair. It's a massive new industry that's growing, but it can't recruit people. We'll teach the skills to address that."

The course is also sponsored by the government, but students will be charged a "relatively nominal" fee. It will be open to all graduates, but at least half are expected to be from Kiad.

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