Top of the scoreboard

Ferris’ Digital Animation and Game Design program ranked top 20

The Digital Animation and Game Design program at Ferris was ranked 17th in the nation in 2019 by the Princeton Review. Photo by: Megell Strayhorn | Multimedia Editor

The Princeton Review ranked Ferris’ Digital Animation and Game Design program among the top 20 university game design programs in 2019.

Ferris’ program has been in the yearly ranking consecutively since 2014, with the program placing 16th in 2018 and 17th in 2019. The Princeton Review sends a questionnaire to game design programs at universities around the U.S. and the world, which contain questions regarding a program’s curriculum, internships, faculty and awards received by the program’s students.

In addition to DAGD’s recent ranking by the Princeton Review, Epic Games featured a Ferris student developed game called RAD in its Student Reel at the Games Developer Conference in San Francisco. Ferris DAGD students used Epic’s Unreal Engine to create RAD, which was ranked in the Epic Games’ Top 5.

Ferris DAGD Associate Professor Martin Lier created the DAGD program in 2002, with classes formally beginning in the Fall 2003 semester. The program serves about 300 Ferris students each semester and instructs them in 3D computer animated design, computer programming, video game modifications, website design and product design. The program’s small class sizes allow the program to stand out among other university programs.

“Our classes are taught by professors with industry contacts and experience,” Lier said. “We have 15 years of actual class experience and alumni through the world.”

Students in the program have received several other awards recently. Ferris DAGD students Keith Takens and Ben Waters earned gold medals in the field of 3D Animation and Visualization at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in 2018.

Takens and Waters used Epic Games’ Unreal Engine to create a 20-second video showcasing their skills. Takens also presented his mobile phone application — an alternate reality app designed to assist and educate autistic teenagers in social situations within their schools — at the Samsung Developer Conference in 2018.

“Our classes are very project driven,” Lier said. “We are constantly striving to create portfolio pieces. We also have a mandatory internship as well as a very demanding Capstone class.”