Information for Cornell Alumni

What is GDIAC?

The Game Design Initiative at Cornell (GDIAC) allows interested students at Cornell to be involved with game design through course work and hands on experience. The Game Design Initiative at Cornell University (GDIAC) is made up of faculty, staff, and students who believe in a collective goal to establish and pursue academic game studies. GDIAC started in 2001 as just an idea and an e-mail to the former chair of Computer Science, Charles Van Loan. Since then, we have expanded into two faculty, staff, over 300 hundred students, and several academic collaborators.

Are games really academic?

Yes it is. GDIAC is proud that we started exploring game design and development in 2001, just before academic game programs emerged. However, game studies (also referred to as ludology) has emerged as an engaging and dynamic field of study worldwide. You can also see a comprehensive (and ever-growing) list of hundreds of game programs at Gamasutra.

What kind of ties does GDIAC have to the game industry?

GDIAC works with game industry to create opportunities for internships, co-ops (for Engineering students), and entry-level hires. GDIAC students are provided opportunities to conduct joint research with industry on projects in development. Refer to our partners page for more information.

Are you training students for the game industry?

As shown by our course offerings, GDIAC offers three primary courses in which students can specialize and explore game development. However, students must still pick a primary major, and so their training is not limited to the games industry.

Students at Cornell take GDIAC courses for a variety of reasons:

  • To pursue an interest in the game industry
  • To develop teamwork and communication skills on a large, multidisciplinary project
  • To apply concepts learned in advanced courses
  • To work on something "fun" before graduating
  • To fulfill the College of Engineering technical writing requirement

Students look at GDIAC as a way to meet several needs not typically offered in an academic institution. Where else can computer science and engineering students work with artists and musicians? In fact, many technically-oriented students take game design to explore non-technical skills. Students seeking jobs outside of the game industry develop sklill sets and portfolios that help enter a variety of industries.

For those students interested in the game industry, GDIAC provides an "outlet" and infrastructure in which explore games. Through the sequence of three core courses, students develop design and development skills. Students can quickly discover whether or not they enjoy the hard work and long hours involved in making a game.

How can I support GDIAC?

Two of the three founders, Rama Hoetzlein and Mohan Rajagopalan are Cornell alums. Hence GDIAC is itself fundamentally a Cornell alumni movement.

If you are in the game industry, are a Cornell alum wtih kids interested in games, we would love to hear from you. Please contact a GDIAC representative for more information.