The Kenyan government has announced a new initiative to make one of Africa’s most prominent political and financial capitals, Nairobi, a new center for computer game development. Miami University is about to embark on that journey with them, as part of a new opportunity to study and design games abroad.
The move is well-timed, as Africa and Asia have been identified as the next frontier for game design. As game companies look to increase their audience, they are looking to these new markets. In particular games designed to promote social action have been well received in a variety of African markets.
Miami University’s games program grabbed the attention of the co-director of the Nairobi Institute of Technology (NIT). She visited in August to learn about the innovative ways that the Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media is teaching and researching games. The games program at Miami University had recently been recognized as a one of 6 up and coming game design programs to watch nationally.
Wairimu Waweru Keriri, assistant director of the Nairobi Institute of Technology, met with several faculty, learning about our curriculum, labs and resources. Her visit included the virtual reality CAVE, exposure to work in the Advergaming Laboratory, Hiestand Design Lab, the King Game Lab and conversations with several faculty including Peg Faimon, Glenn Platt, Sean Duncan, Eric Hodgson and Shira Chess. After several meetings, the Nairobi Institute of Technology has enticed several leading, international companies to take part in a pilot initiative to allow students to design and develop games between Miami University and NIT. The first such program is scheduled to run summer semester 2012 with students from Miami University.
Interested students can enroll in a 4 week study abroad program in Nairobi. Students and faculty will visit high-energy Nairobi to contribute to a professional client project. This one of kind experience, combines interactive design with the energy and potential of Nairobi’s startup culture.
For the pilot program, students will travel on an African Safari for 4 nights, then design and develop a game from that experience for the African Wildlife Foundation. Students will learn the basics of making computer games for a commercial client and the emerging game market in Nairobi. It is a hybrid experience involving international business, design and development.
The new program is accepting interested students. Please contact Lindsay Grace at Lgrace@muohio.edu with interest. In the meantime, keep your eye on Africa for the next generation of game innovations.