Guildhall at SMU

The Guildhall at SMU names its top 10 games for 2012

Cynder the dragon from 'Skylanders Giants'

The dragon Cynder, newly freed from her evil past, plays a key role in the all-ages video game ‘Skylanders: Giants.’ Alumni of The Guildhall at SMU helped create the game, which has made The Guildhall’s Top 10 of 2012 list.

The Master Chief in 'Halo 4'

‘Halo 4’ marks the return of one of video gaming’s most iconic characters: the Master Chief. Alumni of The Guildhall at SMU helped create the new title, which has made The Guildhall Top 10 of 2012 list.

The Guildhall at SMU has named 10 state-of-the-art titles – ranging from the epic adventures of a Disney icon to the American Revolution seen through an assassin’s eyes – to its 2012 Top 10 Video Games list. Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two and Assassin’s Creed 3 are two of the games chosen by Guildhall faculty, students and alumni in 4 different specialties for their outstanding art, level design, software development and production quality.

Guildhall alumni have worked on 6 of this year’s top 10 games: Borderlands 2Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, The Elder Scrolls 5: SkyrimEpic Mickey 2Halo 4 and Skylanders: Giants.

Battlefield 3 and Elder Scrolls 5 are the first games to make the list in two consecutive years. Released in late 2011, both had a critical and commercial impact that carried over well into 2012, says Doug Darby, Guildhall manager of creative and digital strategy.

Borderlands 2 - Axton at the wheel

Graphic novel-style art and a wicked sense of humor are hallmarks of ‘Borderlands 2,’ which features work by alumni of The Guildhall at SMU. The Guildhall named the title to its Top 10 Video Games of 2012 list.

The international accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts that the worldwide video game market will expand to $83 billion by 2016, growing at a 7.2 percent compound annual rate. Increased availability of broadband internet is expected to propel a 36 percent increase in online gaming by that year.

Following is the complete list, in rating order, of 2012’s top games as selected by The Guildhall at SMU. Descriptions include the developer/publisher, genre or genres, ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) rating and the game platform or platforms on which it runs.

# # # # #

Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two •
Blitz Games Studios, Junction Point Studios / Disney Interactive
Cooperative gameplay, platform game
Mac OSX, PC, PlayStation 3, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

LEGO The Lord of the Rings
Traveller’s Tales / Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Action-adventure, open world
Nintendo DS and 3DS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Wii, Windows, Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

Skylanders: Giants •
Toys For Bob / Activision
Platform game
Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

Assassin’s Creed 3
Ubisoft Montréal / Ubisoft
Historical, action-adventure, open world, stealth
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, Windows
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

Battlefield 3
EA Digital Illusions CE / Electronic Arts
First-person shooter
iOS, PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

Borderlands 2 •
Gearbox Software / 2K Games
First-person shooter, action-adventure, role playing
Mac OS X, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 •
Treyarch / Activision
First-person shooter
PlayStation 3, Wii U, Windows, Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim
Bethesda Game Studios / Bethesda Softworks
Action-adventure, role playing, open world
PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

Halo 4
343 Industries / Microsoft Studios
First-person shooter
Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Firaxis / 2K Games
Turn-based tactics, strategy
PC, PlayStation 3, XBox 360
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

• Indicates a game featuring work by alumni of The Guildhall at SMU.

Calendar Highlights: Dec. 4, 2012

SMU J Term 2013 graphicWinter Break is nearly here – the end of 2012 (and beginning of 2013) at a glance:

  • Dec. 3: Last day of instruction
  • Dec. 4-5: Reading days
  • Dec. 6-12: Examinations (no exams scheduled for Sunday)
  • Dec. 14The Guildhall at SMU Winter Exhibition, Cohort 16, SMU-in-Plano
  • Dec. 15: Last day of term and official date for conferral of degrees
  • Dec. 15December Graduation Ceremony, 10 a.m., Moody Coliseum
  • Dec. 24, 2012-Jan. 1, 2013: University holidays
  • Jan. 7-16J Term 2013 at SMU-in-Plano – registration deadline extended through Monday, Dec. 10

Celebration station: President and Mrs. R. Gerald Turner host the 2012 All-University Holiday Party 3:30-5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13, in the Martha Proctor Mack Grand Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center.

Food for Fines continues: The Central University Libraries 2012 Food for Fines drive is on through Friday, Dec. 14. Every donation of a can or package of nonperishable food for the North Texas Food Bank equals a $2 credit toward outstanding library fine assessed from November 1, 2012 forward. The waiver applies to materials from Fondren Library CenterHamon Arts Library and the ISEM Reading Room and for all SMU faculty, staff and students. Drop off food donations at any of the listed libraries.

In McFarlin Auditorium:

Dallas Metropolitan Ballet - 'The Night Before Christmas'Dec. 15-16: The Dallas Metropolitan Ballet presents The Night Before Christmas with guest artists Stephen Hanna and Margaret Severin-Hansen at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10 to $40 – buy them online at

SMU celebrates the 2012 holiday season

SMU holiday lights at night on the Main Quad

The December holidays deliver some of SMU’s most beloved annual traditions. Save the dates for these 2012 events:

• The Student Foundation’s 2012 Celebration of Lights begins at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, on the University’s Main Quad. More than 100,000 decorative lights will fill the trees, luminarias will line the sidewalks, musicians will perform songs of the season, and SMU President R. Gerald Turner will follow a 35-year-old tradition of reading the Christmas story from the New Testament. Hot chocolate, apple cider and cookies will be served starting at 6:30. Check out slideshows and video of past Celebration of Lights ceremonies, courtesy of SMU News. Photos

• On Thursday, Dec. 6, SMU’s Perkins School of Theology celebrates its Advent/Christmas Worship Service in Perkins Chapel with readings and music from Perkins professors, students and alumni at 4 p.m and 8 p.m. This year’s service focuses on John 1:5 – “The light shines in the darkness….” Admission is free; food and cash donations for the North Texas Food Bank will be accepted in the chapel narthex at the entrance. For more information, contact Teresa Rosado, 214-768-2502. Read more about the service.

• President and Mrs. R. Gerald Turner will host their annual All-University Holiday Party – this year dubbed the “Santatennial Holiday Celebration” – from 3:30-5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13, in the Martha Proctor Mack Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center.

• The Guildhall at SMU hosts the Cohort 16 Winter Exhibition noon-6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, at SMU-in-Plano. Graduating students in art creation, level design and programming will show their work, and attendees will have the opportunity to play games designed by students in Cohorts 16, 18 and 19.

• The University celebrates its 2012 December Graduation Ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, in Moody Coliseum. Retired and current faculty members will assemble for procession in academic dress no later than 9:45 a.m. in the Blanton Student Services Building lobby. Prior to the ceremony, a faculty breakfast will be served beginning at 8:45 a.m. in the Blanton Building. RSVP online for the faculty breakfast and processional and learn more about the ceremony.

SMU announces new Guildhall leadership

SMU announced today that Gary Brubaker has been named the new director of The Guildhall, the University’s renowned digital game program. Brubaker replaces Peter Raad, who will return to his position as a professor at SMU’s Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering.

Brubaker, who served previously as deputy director for academic relations at The Guildhall, begins his new position immediately.

SMU issued this announcement today: “Dr. Raad has done a marvelous job in founding the Linda and Mitch Hart eCenter and then The Guildhall at SMU. He has put The Guildhall on a solid foundation for the future and prepared it for continued excellence. The University and Dr. Raad have therefore decided that it is time to turn it over to a new leadership to further its great promise and to allow Dr. Raad to pursue his professional interests with a well-deserved sabbatical. As a result, he will be returning to his position as a professor at the Lyle School of Engineering as of this fall semester.”

During Raad’s tenure, The Guildhall garnered international acclaim for its programs and for the success of its highly sought-after graduates. Brubaker said he hopes to build upon those achievements.

“I want to thank Dr. Raad for the foundation he established here,” Brubaker said. “This is an amazing opportunity to work with leading faculty, staff and students. I look forward to helping lead The Guildhall in this next phase of its growth and achievement as one of the premier digital game programs in the world.”

Since joining The Guildhall in 2004, Brubaker has been deeply involved with designing curricula and lecturing. As deputy director for academic relations, he was responsible for recruiting and collaborating with The Guildhall faculty to provide students with a premier game development education through a multidisciplinary approach.

Brubaker previously served as a development director, a manager of core technology and a lead programmer in the digital game industry.

He began his programming career at the Jet Propulsion Laboratories working on the Voyager and Galileo projects. He turned his passion for games into a career in 1992 when he joined LucasArts Entertainment. While there he worked on Rebel Assault, Shadows of the Empire, The Curse of Monkey Island, The Dig and Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine.

He later joined Stormfront Studios, where he worked on the EA title Lord of the Rings: Two Towers. He also contributed to other titles, including Lego MyStyle. He then moved to Dallas to join Atari/Paradigm to become Manager of Core Technology. He led a group that created the engine for a number of Atari games, including Terminator 3: The Redemption, Mission Impossible: Operation Surma, Dungeon & Dragons: Heroes, and Backyard Baseball.

Brubaker received a B.A. in physics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1989 and an M.B.A from SMU in 2008.

The Guildhall at SMU is the premier graduate video game education program in the United States. The program crosses traditional disciplinary lines to combine art, design, software development, business, physical sciences and humanities to create the 21st century’s first new academic discipline.

Guildhall students to host game test on main campus April 27

Stock photo of a man's hands holded a game controllerMaster’s degree candidates from The Guildhall at SMU will bring their game projects to SMU’s main campus Friday, April 27 – and they’re looking for people to test-drive them.

The Guildhall’s 2012 Capstone Game Test will take place 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Commons. The project leaders seek avid gamers who would like an opportunity to test new games that are not available to the public.

All games to be tested were created by students in the Guildhall’s May graduating class, Cohort 18. Titles include:

  • Raven Tide
  • Rooty Island
  • Taurus
  • Ruined
  • Cyborg Ninjas on Fire 2: Reloaded
  • Food Feud
  • Nerd Rage

No advance sign-up is needed. Interested gamers need only to show up to participate.

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