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Auburn grad designs video games—and teaches Auburn students how to

Samford Hall was Tim Lindsey's inspiration for the wizard's tower in "Oblivion," we're sure of it.

Auburn hoodies are great and all, but when it comes to successful designers working in the video game industry, Auburn has an even greater claim to Tim Lindsey, who not only went to Auburn (Industrial Design, ’96), he’s currently teaching at design class at Auburn

A 14 year veteran of the game industry, Lindsey’s game design career began in Boulder, Colorado developing snowboarding games for the Sony Playstation (1 and 2) under the Sony umbrella 989 Sports. He then moved to Maryland to serve as Senior Environment Artist and Level Designer for “Oblivion” by Bethesda Softworks, a game that sold 5.5 million copies.  He has recently been busy at CCP, developers of “EVE Online.”

Tim Lindsey and wife Jennifer, also an Auburn grad.

Be he’s also, somehow, currently teaching a course at Auburn—Industrial Design 5960: Special Problems. Unlike later level INDD courses that teach strong plastic, metal and wood prototyping skills, Lindsey’s class teaches “virtual prototyping,” known in the gaming industry as 3D modeling, animation, and scripting.

The course is pretty cutting edge, using the Unreal game engine (known for AAA titles such as “Gears of War”, “Bioshock” and “Mass Effect”) to teach interactive media and game design. Students are designing an educational video game that will be playable on an iPhone 4 or iPad 2.

From the online course content:

This is a design class.  This is not a class on how to make video games though a video game will be our product.  In this class we will build on all of the design skills the students have developed to date to deliver a virtual product instead of a physical product.  The product must have a defined market, game-play goals, a style, and reward the user thus encouraging them to come back.  This product interfaces with people much the same way as any other product does but the only difference is that the user experience is limited to the screen and speakers.

Lindsey’s vision: prepare Auburn students for business in design fields such as video game creation and interactive media. Students listen to critiques of their work from the instructor as well as from fellow classmates (their peer review process is similar to that employed by game designers). Lindsey stresses play testing and analysis of player reaction as key components of understanding how to grow a product.

In addition to teaching, Lindsey is currently working as the Design Director for Xaviant, an independent game development studio in Georgia.  The COO of Xaviant? George Chapman, Auburn guy. (‘91, Computer Engineering).

John Ringer graduated from Auburn in 1991 (which may be the greatest time ever to be an Auburn student – SEC titles in 1987, 88 and 89 and the 1989 Iron Bowl). His family has had season tickets every year since well before he was born and he grew up wandering around Jordan-Hare on game days. He currently lives in Richmond, Virginia where he spends way too much time reading about college football on the internet and teaching his children to love Auburn football. He’s also one half of TWER’s popular Wishbone column.

Pre-order a TWER shirt by Feb. 19 and get a huge discount—just $10 + free shipping.

Related: Popular video game developer best known for “Twisted Metal” is apparently an Auburn fan.

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