Robert Bass, '12

Hometown: Cambridge, MA
Degree: BS, Computer Science and Interactive Media & Game Development

Why did you choose to attend WPI?
The IMGD program was a big deciding factor. The fact that you can get both an IMGD and CS degree at the same time was also a plus.

How has WPI’s philosophy of Theory and Practice, and working with teams, been beneficial to you during your time at WPI?
I feel more prepared for getting a job after graduation. Knowing how to work with people whose strengths and knowledge are in different areas is such an important benefit of the WPI education. Also, learning how to apply what you’ve learned makes you stronger in your field.

In the games industry in particular, it's very important to know how to explain how technical concepts work to people who aren't programmers, or at the very least aren't as experienced as you are. WPI's project-centric format has helped me to do just that. On my IQP, for example, I was the only one with programming experience, and I had to learn how to explain why certain things were difficult to do, or even impossible. This has helped me become more prepared for later jobs, where this kind of communication is essential.

What do you think are WPI’s greatest strengths?
I think the focus on teamwork and projects is probably WPI's biggest strength. The fact that I will leave college knowing what it's like to work on major collaborative projects for long periods of time is very comforting.

How have the professors in your department impacted your studies and your life?
Honestly, I haven’t had any "negative" experiences with WPI faculty; they have been supportive and effective. Professor Joshua Guttman was extremely helpful when I took his programming languages course (CS 4536) last term. The homework assignments for that course were tricky and ended up generating a lot of questions. Professor Guttman was very accommodating, answering all of my questions promptly and in a way that was easy for me to understand.

What are your research projects?
I am currently in the final stages of my MQP. We're making a dungeon crawler game with a heavy focus on teamwork and intelligent AI. To achieve this effect, we've integrated a planning system developed by Chuck Rich called “Disco,” which controls high-level strategies. It works in tandem with a less sophisticated, but much faster, AI system that dictates tactics and assigns actions.

What do you hope to do when you graduate? What would be your ideal job?
I'd like to program for games, so that means either getting a job in the game industry, or going into the CS industry and making games on the side.

Groups or extracurricular activities you participate in at WPI:

  • Member of the WPI Men's Glee Club

Academic or professional awards you have received:

  • WPI Presidential Scholarship
  • Computer Science Outstanding Junior Award for 2011

Additional comments:
As I double major, I’ve been careful to choose the arrangement of classes that works for me. WPI gives you this flexibility.

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