Posts Tagged ‘Game Degree’

Exchange Students From Spain Visit Top Bay Area Companies

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010


This summer the Spanish exchange students studying at Cogswell College had the opportunity to tour several bay area digital media companies. The visits were part of the six week Digital Production Studios course led by Albert Chen, Director of the Game Design program. They visited the following:

  • Engineering Simulation Animation Lab (ESAL) at Cogswell
  • Namco Bandai internal development studio in Santa Clara
  • Concept Art House in San Francisco
  • LucasArts and ILM at the Letterman Digital Art Center in the Presidio, S.F.
  • Lucas Animation and Skywalker Ranch in San Rafael
  • The Microsoft campus in Mountain View
  • The Apple campus in Cupertino
  • Electronic Arts and Visceral Games studio in Redwood Shores

Students talked to industry professionals in the video game and digital media industries and learned first-hand how development and production teams work.

Highlights of the tours included:

  • Walking by Steve Jobs in the Apple cafeteria
  • Eating at the main house at Skywalker Ranch and seeing actual props from the Star Wars and Indiana Jones movie series
  • Seeing actual ILM models and props from various famous movies
  • Surprise access to Visceral Game’s production pit

Learn more about Cogswell’s Game Design Degree Program.


-Bonnie Phelps, Dean of Institutional Advancement

Cogswell Faculty Spotlight – Albert Chen, Digital Art & Animation

Friday, December 18th, 2009

albertchenAlbert Chen

Albert Chen is the Assistant Professor of Game Design and Development and joined Cogswell’s full-time faculty in 2007. He heads the Game Art concentration under Digital Arts and Animation (DAA) program and Digital Arts and Engineering (DAE) under the Engineering program. He is also the Associate Director for Cogswell’s Engineering Simulation and Animation Laboratory (ESAL), and the recipient of the Boeing Performance Excellence Award in 2008. His goal is to provide the mentoring and support students need to excel at Cogswell and in the video game and digital media industries. Mr. Chen was a professional game developer for over twelve years with credits in nearly two dozen game titles. His roles included Game Designer at EA, Game Design Director and Senior Level Designer at Factor 5, Level Layout Manager at 3DO, and Mission Designer, 3D Art Technician, International Lead Tester and QA Tester at LucasArts. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from the University of California at Davis.

What classes do you currently teach?

Game 3: Introduction to game development and production, Content and creativity development, Entertainment Design and 3D Modeling portfolio

Do you have a favorite class to teach? If so, why?

Content and creativity development is currently my favorite because it’s purely focused on thinking outside the box and teamwork which results in some very cool student projects.

Have you worked for non-academic companies in the past? Which ones? How did that experience make you a better teacher?

I was a professional game developer for over 12 years prior to joining Cogswell. I have worked at Lucasarts, The 3DO Company, Factor 5 and EA. My past experience in mentoring junior designers has helped me develop my teaching style. I call it “Tough love”.

What made you decide that you wanted to teach?

When I was a game developer, I enjoyed working with and mentoring new designers. At Cogswell, I saw an opportunity to constantly get that kind of interaction with students.

What projects have you worked on in the past? What was your role in the project?

I was 3D Art Technician for Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi and Grim Fandango where I processed raw mo-cap data and fixed technical problems in digital art and animation.

As Level Layout Manager for Sarge’s Heroes 2 PS1, I managed a design team that developed and shipped a game in 7 months.

I was a level designer for Star Wars: Roque Squadron 2 – Rogue Leader (which launched with the Nintendo Gamecube) and Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 3 – Rebel Strike. My levels were used for the pre-sell disks and shown at trade shows like E3.

As Game Design Director and Designer on Lair, I was responsible for building and managing a design team.

What projects (personal or professional) are you currently working on?