''Mortal Kombat'' series software developer speaks at Lewis

''Mortal Kombat'' series software developer speaks at Lewis University

Published: November 8, 2012.

Tom Sakkos, developer at Chicago-based Netherrealm Studios, spoke to a group of computer science students on Nov 6 at Lewis University in Romeoville. Netherrealm Studios develops and markets the popular Mortal Kombat video game series.

Sakkos discussed the skills, tools and collaboration necessary to have successful careers in the video game industry. He emphasized the importance of internships and shared available opportunities. The developer also encouraged students to work on projects outside the classroom, which will enhance their abilities and marketability.

By the end of his visit, Sakkos addressed two classes: Video Game Programming I and Database Systems. To the Video Game Programming I class, he discussed the performance benefits of C++, how polymorphism is used to develop games for the PS3 and Xbox, and the intricacies of memory management. The Database Systems class heard how valuable key-value and relational databases are for in-game logic and for game development tools.

Sakkos complimented the cutting-edge curriculum of the Lewis University Computer Science program. Dr. Ray Klump, chair of the Computer Science/Mathematics Department, said, “One of the useful things about what Tom presented is that it validated what we're doing. We encourage students to work collaboratively and communicate with each other about the code they write and the artwork they produce. He also inspired some future changes for the gaming curriculum that will help us meet the demands of the industry.”

Lewis University offers a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science as well as minors in Computer Science and in Cyber Security Science. It also co-manages a Master of Science in Information Security, which includes an innovative fast-track program that enables students to earn both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in five years. In addition to receiving personal attention from experienced faculty and learning in an attractive and modern facility, Computer Science students receive plenty of real-world experience, working on service projects for non-profits and taking advantage of numerous internship opportunities. Students acquire both the technical skills and the team-oriented problem-solving strategies necessary for a successful career, through a cutting-edge curriculum and integrated learning opportunities.

Lewis University is a Catholic university offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 6,500 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected, and socially responsible graduates. The ninth largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report.

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