Tune In: Fighting cancer with Minecraft


What if you could help fight cancer by playing a video game? Thanks to a partnership between SMU Guildhall and a team of scientists from the SMU Department of Biological Sciences, you can.

Gary Brubaker, director of the Guildhall, Corey Clark, Guildhall deputy director for research, and John Wise, associate professor of biological sciences, gathered in Plano for a special Facebook Live event on Sept. 28, 2017. Watch their discussion of how their partnership has turned the popular game Minecraft into a vehicle for cancer research – and effectively doubled the computing power available for this work.

> Learn more from the SMU Guildhall homepage


SMU Guildhall ranked 3rd among graduate game-design programs in 2014 Princeton Review list

The Guildhall at SMU, SMU-in-PlanoThe Guildhall at SMU has risen to the third spot among the world’s top graduate game-design programs in The Princeton Review’s fifth annual report, published Tuesday, March 11, 2014. The list puts The Guildhall four places higher than last year’s ranking of #7.

The University of Southern California is #1 on both the undergraduate and graduate school lists in The Princeton Review’s 2014 report; UCF’s Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy ranked #2 among graduate programs. At #3, The Guildhall ranks above the Rochester Institute of Technology (#8) and MIT (#10), and higher than three other top-25 graduate programs in Texas: UT-Dallas (#11), University of North Texas (#23) and St. Mary’s University in San Antonio (#25).

> Read The Princeton Review‘s full report on its 2014 game design program rankings

The Review selected the schools based on its 2013-14 survey of 150 institutions in the United States, Canada and abroad offering game design coursework and/or degrees. The 50-question survey asked schools to report on a range of topics, from academic offerings and faculty credentials to graduates’ employment and professional achievements. Among the 60 data points the Review considered in its assessments were program curriculum, facilities, career services and technology.

“Being in the top three schools is a tribute to faculty with deep experience, bright and motivated students, industry support, and a commitment to continual improvement,” said Gary Brubaker, director of The Guildhall at SMU.

The Princeton Review’s reporting partner, PC Gamer magazine, will include a section on the top schools in its May 2014 issue. The issue will feature information on degree programs, class offerings, events, prominent professors, and alumni. The print edition will be available on newsstands Tuesday, April 1.

> Visit The Guildhall at SMU online

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.