Award Winning for 17 Years
Top Ranked & Globally Recognized, Setting the Bar Since 2003
SMU Guildhall has a rich history of many outstanding milestones, achievements, and awards. Since its genesis, SMU Guildhall has set the bar in game development education. The program’s achievements can be seen in its high-caliber game successes, program and student game awards and contest wins, consistent high rankings among the top graduate game design programs across the world, and graduate job placements among 860+ in-demand alumni who have worked at 270+ studios worldwide.
It’s long held a seat in the Top 10 rankings for game development programs internationally by the Princeton Review, sitting at Number 1 for the previous two years. In addition to its Team Game Production curriculum, the Guildhall has been commended for the high quality of its faculty of industry veterans and professionals as well as its career services achievements.
Here's a sampling of some of our accomplishments:
- Achieved #1 standing in The Princeton Review’s ranking of the world’s top graduate game-design programs for the second year in a row
- Up in the Air: Intel University Games Showcase — 3rdPlace, Best Gameplay
- Game Developers Conference Student Narrative Analysis Competition — 1 platinum winner (Larry Shen) & 3 gold winners (Santiago Moreno, Lauren Breeding, Justin Loar)
- Codex: Lost words of Atlantis: Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPrize — Finalist, $100,000; Featured on Google PlayStore
- SMU Research Day Poster Sessions — Dean’s Award, $250 (Wenzheng Huang: "Using Computer Vision to Identify Player Inputs on Street Fighter 5")
- Achieved #1 standing in The Princeton Review’s ranking of the world’s top graduate game-design programs
- ChilleniumSpecial Recognition — Sound Design
- Intel University Games Showcase — 2ndPlace, Best Gameplay (Mouse Playhouse)
- DICE – Winner of Summit Intel Scholarship and Diversity Award
- Codex: Lost words of Atlantis: Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPrize — Semi-Finalist, $100,000
- AVA Digital Awards, Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals — Gold Winner, Website Design
- DotCOMM Awards — Platinum Winner, Website Design
- Hermes Creative Awards — Gold Winner, Website Design
- Gold sponsor of video game emoji
- Gearbox Software hires entire student team for VR development project
- ExtraLife — Raised $15,330 to benefit local Children's Miracle Network Hospitals
- Student game Inua was awarded First Place for Best Visual Quality in the Intel University Games Showcase at the 2016 Game Developers Conference, marking the third year in a row that SMU Guildhall won in the competition. Student game projects from CMU, Digipen, Drexel, NYU, RIT, Savannah College of Art and Design, SMU Guildhall, USC, UC/Santa Cruz, Utah, and Texas competed to win the competition and $35,000 in hardware prizes. [March]
- Guildhall student games Scrapped and Gravitas were greenlit on Steam, making 100% of the May 2016 graduates' games commercially shipped titles.
- Achieved #2 standing in The Princeton Review’s ranking of the world’s top graduate game-design programs.
- Student game Gravitas was named a finalist at E3 2016
- Student game Super Slash 'n Grab was awarded 3rd place for Best Visual Quality and $2,500 in prizes at the 2015 Game Developers Conference Intel University Games Showcase. [March]
- Cohort 21 student Jackie Huchel was awarded an Intel GDC scholarship worth a $1000 travel stipend to the Game Developers Conference and an all-access pass
- Cohort 22 student Taylor Smith was awarded an Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences scholarship to attend the 2015 DICE summit
- Guildhall hosted Japanese developer Square Enix and their Final Fantasy art director Yusuke Naora in February, as the first stop on the Square Enix U.S. College Lecture Tour for the release of Final Fantasy Type-0. In addition to a live-streamed panel-style interview with Yusuke Naora, the event included a Master Class for students and one-on-one portfolio critiques. This video produced by Square Enix features SMU Guildhall students and their art. https://youtu.be/EuLXRjH6sYI
Maintained #3 standing in The Princeton Review’s ranking of the world’s top graduate game-design programs.
Doug Lombardi, VP of Marketing at Valve presented a master class on the history and current state of the Steam Greenlight process, with over 150,000 views online. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pp40c7p9R7M
SMU Guildhall and SMU Department of Psychology partnered in the project “My Voice My Choice”, a virtual reality role-play scenario for use in dating violence research which addresses sexual harassment (Newsweek, February 1, 2015)
- Student game Kraven Manor was awarded Best Gameplay in the Intel University Games Showcase at the 2014 Game Developers Conference. [March]
- Student game Kraven Manor was Greenlit on Steam, selling thousands of units to date.
- Game Narrative Review
- Received 3rd place at the 20 Over 20 Hackathon for a proposed solution to creating new science and technology education models — a way to create a detailed psychological student profile based on play of certain games
- Intel featured a presentation of student game VooDudes at the Game Developers Conference
- Student game Kraven Manor reached #1 on indiedb.com with over 110,000 downloads and 1 playthrough on YouTube receiving over 2.5 million views within one year.
- “Rendering Realistic Real-Time Grasslands,” a master's thesis by Cohort 11 student Edward Lee, was published in Intel’s Visual Adrenaline Magazine in March 2012.
- Cohort 16 student Jordan Ewing received 2nd Place in Modeling & Texturing at the Industry Giants Student Art and Animation Competition
- GDC Online Narrative Winner
- Intel’s Visual Computing Academic Program provided financial grants to recognize student research in gaming innovation utilizing Intel technology, and learning opportunities through conference scholarships and access to new innovations in technology. The Guildhall continues to maintain its longstanding partnership with Intel Corporation today. [January]
Inertia, from the Guildhall’s Team Hermes (Cohort 13 students), won the top prize in the non-professional category of the 2nd Annual Indie Game Challenge. [February]
Slime Garden, from the Guildhall’s Team Gelo T Rex (Cohort 14 students), was named one of three finalists to present in the National STEM video Game Challenge. [March]
- The production specialization was approved in 2011, and the first production students began their education at The Guildhall that Fall. [May]
- Cohort 17 student Ashleigh Mills was named "Environmental Runner-Up" at the Blizzard Student Art Contest
- GDC Online Narrative Winner
- GameStop, The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, and SMU Guildhall partnered to hold the first Indie Game Challenge. In the first year, 250 submissions were received, with the finalists presenting at the Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain (DICE) Summit. [February]
- SMU Guildhall master’s degree recipient Jennifer Canada was an invited speaker at the 2010 Game Developer’s Conference. [March]
- The first Game::Business::Law Summit was held in collaboration with the Dedman School of Law and the Center for American and International Law, bringing together attorneys, analysts, venture capitalist and game industry leaders from across the country. [January]
- Student gameThe Color of Doom was named a winner in the first round of the 11th annual International Games Festival Student Showcase. [March]
- The M Lounge, a high-tech haven in the SMU Student Center, as a result of the partnership between Paul Raines, CEO, Game Stop. [April]
- The “West Wing” of SMU Guildhall was completed and opened, adding 18 faculty/staff offices, two meeting areas, and a kitchen for students. [March]
- Student game Toybox Heroes was the regional winner of the IGF Student Showcase. [March]
- Student game S’more Wars was named a finalist in the 2008 Intel Game Demo Contest. [March]
- 20 students from SMU Guildhall received the first ever Master of Interactive Technology in Digital Game Development degree. SMU Guildhall was the first program to ever offer this degree. [March]
- Student game Invalid Tangram won the IGF Student Showcase award, and Weekday Warrior received the IGF Best Singleplayer FPS Mod in the professional category, the highest possible award for an independent game. [March]
- SMU Guildhall teamed up with the U.S. Army to release “America’s Army: Special Forces” (Overmatch) (SMU GH Map Pack) for download at the America’s Army game web site. [March]
- As a result of a joint effort between Texas Instruments DLP Products, SMU Guildhall, and Ignition, three Guildhall students were awarded scholarships for the Next Generation Gaming Projectors Competition: Trisha Swanson for the “Ball,” Dane Munkholm for his “Tube” design, and Graden McCool for his design “Tower.” [May]
- Collaborative programs were established in 2007-2008 with Lyle School of Engineering and Meadows School of the Arts to enable students pursuing the BSCS or BFA to specialize in a game track and complete the Guildhall Master of Interactive Technology degree. [June]
- The first Guildhall Academy took place — a game development camp for middle school and high school students. [July]
- Student games Eclipse and The Hunt were named finalists in the 2006 Independent Games Festival (IGF) mod competition. [March]
- Master of Interactive Technology in degree in digital game is approved, establishing a master’s degree in digital game development. [April]
- Team game projects Dark Territory and Technomancy received fourth place awards in the educational category of the “Make Something Unreal” international game competition. [May]
- SMU Guildhall’s first cohort graduated. Warren Spector was the honorary guest speaker, who delivered inspiring remarks. [December]
- SMU Guildhall was established, opening its doors to the inaugural class of 32 full-time students entering a first of its kind graduate-level digital game development program. [July]