There’s no substitute for experience. In addition to impressive academic credentials, members of our program faculty have had professional careers before they joined academia, and many are still called upon to provide consulting services in their areas of professional specialization. There are no textbooks that can provide you with the real-world insights that our faculty members bring into the classroom.

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Josh Buck

Josh Buck

Associate Professor of Game Art and Animation

Joshua Buck, Associate Professor of Game Art and Animation, is a veteran of the entertainment game industry with 10+ years of experience. He has worked as a production artist and lead animator at Stainless Steel Studios in Boston as well as a freelance artist and animator. Currently Josh leads the development of the Game Art and Animation curriculum and teaches an array of 3D art classes from animation to environments.

Josh has designed, created and animated hundreds of characters, buildings and vehicles for award-winning, AAA-rated personal computer game titles and real-time gaming environments. Among the game titles he’s worked on are Empire Earth, the winner of a Gamespy Award for PC Game of the Year, Empires: Dawn of the Modern World, one of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences’ Top 5 Computer Strategy Games of the Year, Rise & Fall: Civilizations at War and Empire Earth III. Josh has produced art-work for games published by Sierra, Activision, Midway and Vivendi Universal Games. Josh continues to contribute to the AAA game sector as well as to numerous side projects.

Josh holds a BFA from the University of Rhode Island and an MFA in Computer Art & Animation from Savannah College of Art & Design.

How does the Champlain Game Development “cohort” differ from the student culture at other schools?

Champlain College being a smaller school, the students really get to know each other and their faculty, and those two things alone really makes the culture a little bit different than at other schools. It’s a very tightly knit community. Students tend not to fall through the cracks here either with their peer group or with the faculty and their professional programs.

In the game development cohort it’s an especially tightly knit community. They know from their first year here that at some point they’re going to be working with these people in close proximity for, a significant amount of time to build projects together. So we rely a lot on the game development cohort community to support that process — they take each other under, under their wings and into the fold. It’s a learning process, and without the community and the way it functions right now, we’d have a lot more work to do as faculty.

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Amanda Crispel

Program Director of Game Design, Game Art and Animation, Assistant Professor of Game Design

Amanda has 21 years of experience in the electronic entertainment industry, specializing in products for children and families. She’s been on development teams at Mattel, Leap Frog, Lego, Brøderbund Software, The Learning Co., Animated Speech Corporation, Digital Chocolate and Plan B Enterprises. She has designed numerous popular CD-ROM titles in favorite family lines such as Carmen Sandiego, Kidpix, Lego Mindstorm, Rugrats, Leapfrog, and Dr. Seuss. Several of her software titles have earned consumer software awards for excellence, including the Family PC Recommended award for her first title, Math Workshop. Other projects include designs for the web, mobile phones, console platforms, and traditional board and card games. Crispel joined the faculty at Champlain College in 2005 and is currently teaching courses in game design and development. She is also the program director of Game Design and Game Art and Animation degrees and is responsible for developing curriculum for the program as well as establishing contacts with industry leaders. She is also the President and CEO of Hoozinga Game Media.

What is it about Champlain’s Game Studio that sets it apart?

The key to our success at Champlain is that we believe in a balance between professional preparation in the degrees, and collaboration in the studio space. This means a student is prepared to do the tasks asked them at a professional quality level from the start of their first job, and they can quickly integrate into the team, communicate well, manage their own workflow, and have the confidence to make decisions and be successful.

The Wii and the Kinect opened up the world of gaming well beyond the traditional demographics. What in your opinion will be the next big “revolution” in gaming?

What excites me about the future of game media is that it is becoming an integrated component of the communications media landscape. Games have a great deal to offer. As well as being entertaining, they are great at teaching and delivering messages. Because they are active, not passive, the engagement factor is much, much higher. This gives them great potential as communication tools. If I look into my crystal ball of the future, I think we will see game media come of age. The entertainment space will continue to wow us with fabulous, mind-bending technological experiences for all manner of audiences, and we will see games and game technology used in new and exciting ways we haven’t even imagined yet.

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John Pile

Assistant Professor, Division of Information Technology & Sciences

John has over a decade of software development experience in the public and private sectors. His most recent game industry employment was with Proper Games in Dundee, Scotland where he was a multi-platform engineer on the team that developed the 2009 BAFTA Scotland Game Of The Year, “Flock!”, the 2010 release of “Final Fight: Double Impact”, downloadable content for “Crackdown 2”, and the iOS game “Moving Day”.

He received an undergraduate degree in Mathematics, a Master’s degree in Computer Game Technology, and has a background in relational databases, 3D graphics and physics. When not teaching, he continues to develop games as an Indie Developer.

What is it about Champlain’s Game Studio that sets it apart?

At Champlain College, you don’t just acquire a set of skills; you gain practical experience actually developing games. You learn to work with artists, designers, and other programmers in an environment that mimics the real world, while allowing you the time to grow your own software engineering skills.

Also, in addition to having their own advanced degrees, our faculty comes from the game Industry with multiple published titles to their credit. This creates instruction that is not only academically challenging, but to quote a recent graduate, “surprisingly relevant.” Now, combine that diverse experience with the strong desire to student success. Champlain College is known for having faculty that go above and beyond their normal teaching duties to ensure that the students are successful and that the knowledge is relevant.

The Wii and the Kinect opened up the world of gaming well beyond the traditional demographics. What in your opinion will be the next big “revolution” in gaming?

I suspect we have only seen the beginning of the Indi-revolution. The democratization of game development, the increase in social media, as well as the portability and affordability of hardware will all continue to play roles in making games an even greater part of our life.

Faculty List and Areas of Specialization

Game Design and Production

Greg Bemis – Production, and Narrative Design
Amanda Crispel – Program Director, Production, and Game System Design
Jonathan Ferguson – Production, Level Design, Open Source Technology
Dev Jana – Production, Game System and Level Design, Scripting, and Audio
Joe Manley – Production, Scripting, Flash Development, Mobile Development
Vivek Patel – Scripting
Peter Wehr – Production

Game Art and Animation

Josh Buck – 3D Modeling, Texturing, Animation, Environments and Characters
Nick Malutama – 3D Modeling, Texturing
JoAnn Patel – 3D Modeling, Texturing, Environment Lighting and Special Effects
Bob Selby – Concept Art, Illustration, and Painting

Game Programming

Wei Kian Chen – Division Chair, C++, Linux, and Operating Systems
Dean Lawson – C++, Game Architecture, Artificial Intelligence
John Pile – 2D and 3D Graphics, Game Engines, Online Networking
Ali Rafieymehr – Dean of Information Technology & Science, C++, Linux, and Operating Systems

Game Production Management

Elaine Young – Assistant Dean of Business, Marketing, Social Media