Not many classes feature a science fiction shoot-out in outer space or a fantasy-based action adventure. But these and other make-believe scenes play out in the Gaming Studio course offered by the Department of Art and Art History. Students learn the basics of how games are created, from concept to preproduction to prototype, then use a Unity 3D game engine to produce and test their ideas. Alumnus Jim Galis, who teaches the course, has credentials in video game development and animation. “My students experience and understand the building blocks and roles involved in creating games,” he says. “They also form good communication skills among the artists, engineers, and designers on the development team. Team communication is an important issue in the industry.” It’s a lucrative field. According to the Entertainment Software Association, the video game business contributed $5 billion to the U.S. economy in 2009.