May 18, 2006 at 2:46 AM HST - Updated July 26 at 11:15 AM
(KHNL) -- Tucked away in a computer lab on the Kapiolani Community College campus, Jared Matsushige decides to make a few more adjustments to his class project, a video game.
"For this one we decided we wanted to go with to something that's kind of bright," Matsushige said.
He's one of an increasing number of students hoping to work in the growing field of computer animation and game design.
"We're starting to develop a pool, a workforce pool with the necessary skills," said Joseph Tremonti of KCC's New Media Arts program.
As video games increase in popularity, the potential for new jobs also opens.
"Digital media is part of mainstream entertainment," Tremonti said.
Building flashy graphics is only half the job. At KCC students learn to design immersive interactive experiences.
"You know how movies can make you cry," Matsushige said, "Video games it's a little bit harder, but it's possible."
The faculty at the University of Hawaii at Manoa sees the potential to grow a games and computer graphics industry in hawaii.
"The field is booming. Games are bigger than Hollywood, but the problem is as a consequence of that the competition to get in is very high," said Kaveh Kardan of the Academy for Creative Media.
In the late 90's, Japanese gaming giant Square made a computer animated film in Honolulu. Poor box office receipts doomed the project, but industry veterans said it showed what can be done in hawaii.
"If you look at where the game development studios are these days they're in places you wouldn't expect. I mean, calgary," Kardan said.
Designing games is slow tedious work - but local students say they're willing to learn.
"Everytime I see movies, animation, I see special effects I always really wanted to learn how they did that," said student James Hall.
From the computer code that makes the games run, to the animation that brings characters to life, to the storylines that make the game, the seeds of a new industry may be growing in a classroom near you.