By Sherry DiBari

Bratislav Cvijetić (BaTo) isn't playing games.

Cvijetić, a designer, technical illustrator, visual artist and senior project scientist at Old Dominion University's Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC), is serious about his role as instructor of "World Building," a video-game creation course.

"World Building," which was offered for the first time this spring through ODU's Department of Interdisciplinary Studies' game studies and design degree, gives students a full understanding of how games are made.

"Once students have a basic knowledge of all the elements and the Unity Game Engine, they can create three-dimensional and two-dimensional games, as well as interactive simulations and other experiences," Cvijetić said.

To create and animate characters and build the interactive worlds, students were immersed in a variety of specialized software such as Autodesk Maya 3-D, Autodesk Mudbox-3D, Autodesk SketchBook, Adobe Substance Painter and Adobe Mixamo.

"To achieve hyperrealism in these AAA (higher-quality) games, one must be exposed to these programs and understand their capability," Cvijetić said.

A video of the process can be found here.

Cvijetić was surprised at the quality of the students' work.

"They have astounded me with the progress they have made in just one semester," he said. "Once I gave the students the tools and support to create these environments, they created something extraordinary, something unique ... something that is part of them."

"The best thing about the world building class was how much I could utilize my creativity in the class. I got to draw character designs for a scene we eventually created in Unity, which was all around an enlightening experience," said Ryan Kearney a junior in the game-design program. "I find myself using what I learned in class in my own free time."

Samples of student work from the "World Building" class can be found here.

The class will be offered again in the spring of 2022.

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