Full Sail Technology and Gaming Event

The Emerging Tech booth at Tech Fest!
The Emerging Tech booth at Tech Fest!
Cole Montag

On Thursday, we had Full Sail University come by and host an event showcasing the latest technologies available as well as having a competition for the chance at a scholarship!

Full Sail is a private university in Winter Park, Florida. It offers programs at an accelerated pace as well as a flexible 24/7 nature to prepare students for the future they want. Because of this, students can get a bachelor’s in half the time they would at other universities!

Andrew Duncan, Director of Outreach, has worked for Full Sail for the last fourteen years. He enjoys not only the connection but the atmosphere and freedom the university provides. He used the analogy of a concert: The crew has to be well acquainted with the equipment and after everyone leaves the crew has to take everything down, and they won’t leave the set for hours.

When asked about what makes Full Sail unique, he said that it’s a project-based and hands-on approach to education. Almost everything taught is the “behind the scenes” aspects of entertainment and technological industries: sound production and mixing, cinematography, game programming and design, and business.

I asked him if passion and dedication are a big part of student culture, and he wholeheartedly said yes. The school’s philosophy is perfectly described by its motto: “If you’re serious about your dream, we’ll take your dream seriously.” Full Sail University is a school for the dreamers who want to do something that most people would say to pick a “stable” career instead. He expands and says this school isn’t for the “typical” college experience where you would find yourself and what you want to do. Of course, as a young adult, you don’t need to know every detail but Full Sail is for those who are drawn to something unconventional.

The tech festival featured different stations for some of the major courses at Full Sail, including Emerging Technologies, 3D Art, Game Development, and eSports. There was one ambassador for each and we got the chance to talk to each of them and ask them questions about their fields.

Emerging Technologies are generally inventions or breakthroughs that are recent and growing. The main emerging tech at the station was AI, such as a tablet-guided Sphero device and a live demonstration of ChatGPT. I asked the woman representing the station about her opinion of AI, and how it will impact us. She then responded that AI will end up asserting itself firmly into our futures and while some won’t embrace it with open arms, we are beyond the choice now. We will just have to learn how to use it the best we can and enjoy viewing the great advancements to come.

Next up was 3D Arts, modeling for animated movies or certain video games. The ambassador described the classes at Full Sail as very hands-on, meaning a lot of learning and doing. She also said that 3D animation has evolved a lot from the simple stick figures and models seen only decades ago.

Another big thing at the university is their game development. Many important people got their start at Full Sail, including Discord’s co-creator Jason Citron, Insomniac Games’ head of technology Shaun McCabe, and many developers of the Call of Duty series. In the game development classes, they teach students to use Unreal Engine, a popular free tool to develop games. Fortnite, the 2020 remake of Final Fantasy VII, and the Batman: Arkham series, among others, were made with the game engine.

To give context, another popular game development software, Unity (used to make games such as Among Us, Pokémon Go, and many independent games) announced a 20-cent fee for every install of large games. The change was met with immediate backlash and the company changed its mind soon after the interview, but the effects are still there. The ambassador said that the change could be a net positive by driving independent game creators to the superior Unreal Engine. Also, with more people into gaming since the COVID-19 pandemic and the tech-adept generation like our Chiefs, opportunities are available to everyone, from competitive players to coders.

Another game-focused course at Full Sail is eSports, led by their amazing team, The Armada. Full Sail is paving the way for gamers who want to dedicate their lives to their hobby, including ten different collegiate-level teams and streaming courses. They also released a new program focused on the gaming business not too long ago. If the ambassador were to compare the gaming industry to anything, it would be movies. 

The ambassador said that you will have your big hits and blockbusters, along with incredible independent creations. There will always be ebb and flow, namely deadlines that do not leave time for the developers to release the game in a bug-free state. For the movie industry, this was the pandemic, leading to movies not shown in theaters and a massive loss of money. However, if the people in charge are smart, they’ll take feedback and learn from their mistakes. The fans will always notice the faults of new releases and they will make a statement with their wallet for the companies to do better.

But the main event of the showcase was the Super Smash Bros. tournament! Our school had a total of 21 finalists, three from each period, and they will be heading to Orlando in November to compete again against finalists from other schools for a scholarship to Full Sail.

 If you are interested in joining anything in the future like our winners, there is an eSports club run by Mr. Snyder, Mr. Fenda, and Ms. Begley on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month, so contact them if you are interested!

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