Miami Dade College to Receive $50,000 Epic MegaGrant to Prepare Students for Careers in Virtual and Augmented Reality Technologies

MIAMI, April 15, 2020Miami Dade College’s (MDC) acclaimed Miami Animation and Gaming International Complex (MAGIC), the region’s premier animation and gaming educational facility, will receive a $50,000 MegaGrant from Epic Games to empower students to become creative thinkers and tech makers in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies.

Virtual reality and augmented reality are emerging industries, which according to field experts have the potential to become the next big computing platform. Currently, both enterprises and consumers are the drivers of VR/AR adoption, and while videogames are taking center stage in this new platform, near-term applications for use include additional diverse industries such as entertainment, healthcare, automotive, retail, education, advertising, tourism, space, skilled trades, the military and law enforcement.  There is a growing need for industry professionals and non-traditional students to acquire these skills to enhance user/client experiences and create custom simulations and projects designed for specific needs in the local industry.

The Epic MegaGrant will support the MDC’s College Credit Certificate in virtual reality and augmented reality technologies.  The grant will cover creating new games using the Unreal Engine (UE4) platform by Epic Games.  Unreal Engine is a complete suite of creation tools for game development, architectural and automotive visualization, linear film and television content creation, broadcast and live event production, training and simulation, and other real-time applications.

The grant will fund and assist use of the Unreal Engine in faculty professional development, creation of projects and VR games, awarding low-income students with scholarship funds, and sharing with the Unreal community projects developed at MAGIC using the Unreal Engine.

Epic Games has committed $100 million to support game developers, enterprise professionals, media and entertainment creators, students, educators, and tool developers using Unreal Engine or enhancing open-source capabilities for the 3D graphics community.

MDC’s VR/AR program design adopts a project-based learning approach allowing students to create and develop projects from an original idea using UE4, and understanding the engine’s tools and capabilities. Projects will also be developed with the collaboration of other MDC academic departments, affording opportunities to work with these technologies to students from more than 400 programs offered, including healthcare, hospitality, and fashion.