Ranked #3 by GamePro Media and the Princeton Review for video game design.





About Us

Drexel Game Design and the RePlay Lab are collaborative efforts between the Digital Media program (in the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design) and the Computer Science department (in the College of Computing and Informatics). At Drexel University, game development does not "live" in solely one department, and so mirrors the true nature of game development in commercial settings. Digital game development is offered in a coordinated, cross-listed series of courses in both the Computer Science (CS) and Digital Media (DIGM) majors, and production courses are open to other majors as well.

Note: To learn a little more about the classes, research, and the process of RePlay, you can also view a presentation with video given at EG2008 by Dr. Diefenbach by clicking here (~33MB).

  • Drexel's Digital Media offers a Game Art and Production major that instructs students on the foundation skills of design, art, programming, 3D modeling, animation, audio, and video production, and the use of industry tools such as Maya. The Digital Media major is one of the oldest such programs in the United States.
  • Computer Science offers a Game Programming and Development concentration instruct on foundation software development skills, and offer software design courses for prototyping game concepts.
  • The gaming courses and projects bring these two majors together, with the additional participation of students and faculty from other majors including Music, Music Industry, Screenwriting and Playwriting, Engineering, Business, etc. Prospective students interested in 3D modeling, animation, web, game design, digital audio, and some programming should chose the Digital Media BS major. Prospective students interested in mostly programming for games should chose the CS major.
  • Drexel's Goodwin College offers a Graduate Certificate in Learning in Game Based Environments for instructing on using games to facilitate learning.
  • Drexel's Westphal College of Media Arts and Design offers an M.S. in Digital Media instructing on advanced animation and game theory, skills, and research. The Digital Media major is one of the oldest such programs in the United States.

Drexel RePlay enables Drexel students to:

  • Explore theory and academic work related to gaming and 3D simulations
  • Gain familiarity with common game programming tools and software packages
  • Formally develop potential game ideas through design documents, market research, and proof-of-concept demonstrations
  • Engage in both short-term and long-term game production and research

To learn a little more about the classes, research, and the process of RePlay, you can also view a presentation with video given at EG2008 by Paul Diefenbach by clicking here.

Publications

Please see our Publications page for a partial list of game design, simulation, and digital media publications.

Awards

  • 2013 Guinness World Records

    World Record, Largest Architectural Videogame Display. Guiness Record

    Guinness World Records has officially recognized Pong game created by Professor Frank Lee as a world record.
  • 2013 Unity Awards at Unite Conference

    1st Place Best Student Project - Girish Balakrishnan, Digital Media MS

    Unite 2013 is the annual event for Unity developers, publishers and enthusiasts to learn more about the market-leading platform for creating high quality video games, training simulations, medical and architectural visualizations and other interactive 3D content. Girish's thesis project, SmartVCS: Shooting Avatar on Your iPad?, won the Best Student Project category.
  • Philadelphia Geek Awards 2013
    Winner, Hacker of the Year, Dr. Frank Lee
    Winner, Geek Story of the Year, "Pong on the Cira Centre" Geek

    "The Philadelphia Geek Awards are an annual ceremony hosted by Geekadelphia and the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University honoring geeks in the greater Philadelphia region. From local game developers to comic book artists, social media marketers to the arts & culture community, the awards highlight a bit of everything." http://www.phillygeekawards.com/ Professor Frank Lee won Hacker of the Year and Geek Story of the Year for "hacking" the LED lights of the Cira Centre, a 29-story tall skyscraper in Philadelphia to create playable videogame of Pong as part of Philly Tech Week 2013 .
  • 6th Narrative Review Competition at GDC 2013

    Platinum Winner - Glenn Winters, Digital Media MS GDC

    Glenn Winters, Digital Media graduate student, won the top prize for the 6th Narrative Review Competition at GDC 2013. His analysis of the narrative structure of the game Journey was one of three top platinum winners of of thousands of applications at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, CA through March 25 2013 - March 29 2013.
  • Microsoft Imagine Cup 2012

    1st Place World Champions -Mobile Games category Imagine Cup

    "Math Dash" Team Drexel Dragons won from over 250,000 students from 190 countries. 2 Drexel teams made US Finalists, with Math Dash also winning US Championship.
  • 12th annual Adobe Design & Achievement Awards (ADAA) 2012

    Semifinalist: Mobile Design & Animation

    Beyond Ink's interactive iPad interactive storytelling app: "Spirit of the Virginia: Prologue" was awarded the Semifinalist honor for both the 'Mobile Design' and 'Animation' categories in the ADAA,
  • Philly GameJam 2011

    1st Place: Duck It! by Space Whale Studios won the "WTF? Award"

    1st Place: Winston's Eggventure by Team UC15 was winner of the Judges' Choice Award

    Drexel University's two gaming teams won the two major awards at the 3rd Annual Philly Game Jam,May 6-8.

  • IEEE Games Innovation Conference, 2010:

    2 games/papers in top 15 of conference: - Transition to Teaching: 3D Classroom

    - MindTactics: A Brain Computer

  • 10th annual Adobe Design Achievment Awards – 2010

    Semi-finalist – DIGM MS Christian Hahn's music-driven game "Surge"

  • 9th annual Adobe Design Achievement Awards- 2009

    1st Place World Champion - Non-Browser-based Design category.

    Digital Media senior group, The Fourmation and their head-tracking multiplayer video game, Fourmation, won 1st Place for Non-Browser-based Design. This was presented at the Icongrada World Design Congress in Bejiing China. The Fourmation team were competing against 3300 student entries from 37 different countries. Fourmation is a 3D action-packed multiplayer Flash game that uses Wii technology to bring virtual reality to the home computer.

  • 2nd Annual Philly GameJam 2009

    1st Place : Drexel University's gaming team, Team Reverie, "Most Innovative Game" for game Insight

    2nd Place : Drexel alumni team from Space Whale Studios took second place in both categories with their game, The Shovel Nose Screamer

    Two teams from Drexel took 1st and 2nd place at the 2nd Annual Philly Game Jam, Oct. 23-25, 2009. Held in conjunction with the GameX Industry Summit.
  • SIGGRAPH 2009 Game Jam

    1st Place : Drexel student, Dan Bodenstein, won for 2D - Crowd Favorite

  • Resources

    Facilities

    We are located in the URBN Center. Here are some on Flickr.

    • 80 seat 3D theater
    • Green Screen/Motion Capture studio
    • Audio Recording studios
    • 2.5 Ton 3DOF Motion Platform vehicle
    • Stereoscopic VR CAVE and ROVR units
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Game Engines

Hardware

  • 100+ Dual-Monitor Boxx Technology & Mac Pro workstations
  • Wii, Xbox 360, and Playstation III consoles and controllers
  • 16 Camera Vicon motion capture system (mocap)
  • 3D Scanner
  • Eye Tracker
  • 3D steroscopic theater projector
  • 2 32" Multitouch Touchscreens
  • Wacom Tablets
  • iPod touch/iPad units
  • Phantom haptics

2D & 3D Software

  • Maya
  • 3D Studio Max
  • Houdini
  • Massive
  • Renderman
  • SNU Cloth simulator system
  • ZBrush
  • Nuke
  • Discreet Combustion
  • Illustrator, Photoshop
  • Flash, Director

Faculty Bios

These are a selection of professor bios, outlining a sampling of the achievements and accolades recieved by Drexel's Game Development faculty.

  • Dr. Paul Diefenbach, Associate Professor of Digital Media and Computer Science, and Associate Program Director of Game Art and Production in Drexel University's Digital Media program, created the interdisciplinary undergraduate game design curriculum and graduate digital media curriculum which is ranked in the top 10 North America by The Princeton Review and GamePro Magazine. He is co-founder and co-director of Drexel's game research laboratory, the RePlay Lab (replay.drexel.edu), and leads projects in novel inputs such as multi-touch displays and brain-computer interfaces, music-driven games, and applied gaming technology for robotics and teacher training.

    Dr. Diefenbach has an extensive background in 3D, game development, immersive technology, and human simulation, and he has contributed to industry standards including XMSF, X3D, and H-ANIM for MPEG-4. Prior to joining Drexel in 2004, he was CTO of OpenWorlds Inc., providing virtual reality simulations for NASA and simulation technology for companies including Sony, Mitsubishi, Sharp Electronics, Microsoft, and Boeing. His pioneering 1996 Ph.D. dissertation on multi-pass rendering serves as the platform for today's modern real-time graphics, and led to consulting for companies such as nVidia. He has presented his work at worldwide conferences including SIGGRAPH, Eurographics, SIGGRAPH Asia, Web3D, and I3D. He has publications in IEEE Multimedia, IEEE CG&A Computer Graphics Forum Journal, Computer Graphics, and Displays. Dr. Diefenbach holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Graphics/Computer Science from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.S. degree in Computer Science and minor in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).
  • Dr. Frank Lee is an Associate Professor of Digital Media in the Westphal College of Media Arts and Design. He is also an Affiliated Associate Professor of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences, Affiliated Associate Professor of Computer Science in the College of Computing and Informatics, and Affiliated Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems. He received his B.A. in Cognitive Science, summa cum laude, from U.C. Berkeley 1994 and his Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Carnegie Mellon University in 2000.

    Lee co-founded the Drexel Game Design Program and the Replay Lab with Paul Diefenbach in 2008. In 2013, he founded the Entrepreneurial Game Studio at the ExCITe Center , created with a mission of developing the next generation of leaders in the mobile game industry and providing a safe and encouraging environment for students to become entrepreneurs by assisting them in developing and commercializing their games.

    Recently Lee lead a team of students to First Place both at the US Finals and the World Finals at the Microsoft Imagine Cup Competition in 2012. In the US competition, there were over 125,000 students registered to compete representing all 50 states, and in the World competition, there were over 250,000 students registered to compete representing 190 countries. This was the first time that a US team has taken First Place in the main competition category in the 10-year history of the Microsoft Imagine Cup World Competition.

    In addition, Lee created "The Pong on the Cira Centre" Project which used the LED lights of the Cira Centre building, a 29-story, 435-foot tall skyscraper located in Philadelphia, to create a playable videogame, Pong for Philly Tech Week in April 2013. Over 300 TV, print, and online media outlets picked up the story of this project across the nation and the world, including NBC, FOX, NY Times, Washington Post, USA Today, MTV, NPR, Fast Company, and many others. The combined views of the project on YouTube exceeded 400,000. In November 2013, Guinness World Records has officially certified as a Guinness World Record as the Largest Architectural Videogame Display.

    Lee's interests include large-scale interactive games using city and cityscapes, experimental games, and serious games.
  • Dr. Michael Wagner is Associate Professor and the Director of the Digital Media Program at the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design. Prior to his position at Drexel he held academic teaching, research and executive management positions at the Department of Computer Science at Arizona State University, the Department of Educational Technology and Interactive Media at Danube University Krems, Austria, and the Christian University College of Teacher Education Vienna/Krems, Austria.

    His research interests focus on the educational use of digital media and computer games. He is the scientific director of "Ludwig", a curriculum based physics learning game for middle schools that has been awarded with the German Game Developer Award for Best Serious Game 2011.

    Degrees: MS in Mathematics Education, Vienna University of Technology PhD in Applied Mathematics, Vienna University of Technology MBA in High Tech Management, Arizona State University

    Website:
    http://www.about.me/michaelgwagner

  • Dr. Jichen Zhu is an assistant professor in the Digital Media Program of the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts, with a joint appointment at the Department of Computer Science of College of Computing and Informatics, at Drexel University.

    Her research focuses on the intersection of creative expression, artificial intelligence (AI), human-computer interaction and critical theory, with a particular emphasis on developing AI-based interactive storytelling systems, computer games, and other new forms of cultural artifacts. Her current interests include interactive storytelling, computational creativity, digital humanities, and software studies.

    Jichen received a Ph.D. in Digital Media from Georgia Tech. She also holds a MS in Computer Science from Georgia Tech, a Master of Entertainment Technology from Carnegie Mellon University, and a BS from McGill University.

  • Dr. Stefan Rank came to Drexel's Game Art & Production Program after ten years of distinguished service and research at the Austrian Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the University and Medical University of Vienna. Rank's gaming and digital technology career is heavily steeped in research on Artificial Intelligence and various cognitive sciences. He was involved in eight European research projects in the last years, most recently in IRIS and Cyberemotions. His work in those multi-national and multi-disciplinary projects focused on interactive characters and affective human-computer interaction. He also serves as the portal editor for the Humaine Association for the Advancement of Affective Computing.

    Rank specializes in development and application of computational affective behavior models for users and synthetic characters, intelligent software agents, game design, interactive narrative and human-computer interaction. In 2009, he received his Ph.D in Computer Sciences from the Vienna University of Technology, Austria, graduating with highest distinction being in the top 1 percent of his class. He also received a Prize of Appreciation from the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science for his Ph.D. Thesis and a Prize of Recognition by the Austrian Society for AI based on originality, quality and relevance. Rank's in-depth exploration of AI, narrative, and interactive media has been featured in more than 30 peer-reviewed publications and journals worldwide.

  • Dr. Santiago Ontañón is an assistant professor in the Computer Science Department at Drexel University, with a joint appointment at the Digital Media Program of the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts.

    His main research interests are artificial intelligence in computer games, case-based reasoning and machine learning. He obtained his PhD form the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), Spain. Before joining Drexel University, he held postdoctoral research positions at the Artificial Intelligence Research Institute (IIIA) in Barcelona, Spain, at the Georgia Institute of Technology (GeorgiaTech) in Atlanta, USA, and at the University of Barcelona, Spain.

  • Adjunct Garth DeAngelis charted a unique path towards his dream of working in the video game industry. After excelling in business management in the financial industry, Garth yearned to satisfy his right-brain in a more creative world. He attended Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center and learned the intricacies of building game prototypes with a multi-disciplinary team. He was the co-designer, producer, and composer for "Winds of Orbis", an Independent Games Festival and IndieCade finalist in 2009. He now works with legendary game designer Sid Meier at Firaxis Games. Garth contributed at Firaxis as a game and level designer before embracing his current role as lead producer/project manager on upcoming multiplatform title XCOM: Enemy Unknown.