Raleigh, N.C. — Wake Technical Community College has offered a video game development program for seven years, and graduates are making their mark in the gaming world.
Rion Holland, a 2010 Wake Tech graduate, and his friends have seen success with their final class project, a third-person action shooter game, M.U.S.E. After graduation they created their own company, Lab Rats Studio, and started selling the game.
Now, M.U.S.E. is available on iTunes. The reviews are good, and sales are growing. Lab Rats Studio is also working on an Android version of the game.
"We're all really proud of what we were able to accomplish, especially coming straight out of school," Holland said.
The Wake Tech video game program started in 2005. About 100 students have graduated from the program, with many now working in the video game industry.
Department head Cindy Foster said the program is a natural fit for the Triangle, which is home to up to 40 video game companies, including Epic Games.
"We're able to feed an industry that's growing locally, and our students don't have to leave the area," Foster said.
Foster said it's an industry full of opportunity.
"With the students who have talent and have the drive, they are finding a place in industry to fulfill their dreams," she said.
For now, Holland is fulfilling his dream and hopes M.U.S.E. is the start of something big.
"(We) got a lot of experience under our belts now. Great resume builder for the future," Holland said.
William Peace University will offer a major in video game simulation and graphic design starting this fall. Trustees say it's a way to prepare students for one of the major economic engines of the Triangle.