graduate success

Not Playing Games: CSG graduate is ensuring real-world safety with flight simulation

For many outsiders, The University of Tulsa’s computer simulation and gaming degree sounds like a lot of fun and a lot of play — after all, it has the word game in the its name.

In many cases, it comes as advertised: an exciting program that teaches students what they need to know before entering a world of simulation and gaming.

For Alvaro Gudiswitz, who graduated from TU in 2018 after studying both CSG and computer science, the world of simulation is giving him a chance to help save lives in the real world. It’s a serious job, but he’s having fun while doing it.

Gudiswitz, a St. Louis native, now works at Tulsa’s CymSTAR, a simulation-developer that works primarily with the United States government to develop simulations that can be used to train pilots and better prepare them for active duty.

In his second year with CymSTAR, Gudiswitz is learning the ropes and applying what he learned from his time at TU to the high-stakes job of simulation development.

“There are some similarities between creating simulations and video games,” he explained. “But the biggest difference is that simulations have a lot of moving parts. Based on the reactions of the training pilots, the simulations are programmed to physically respond to mimic flight. Things run in real-time.”

Changing Plans Leading to Exciting Futures

Gudiswitz has been interested in the idea of simulation development since early in his time at TU. 

“It was my sophomore year when the CSG degree became an option,” he said. “And it’s a great program design because it pairs so nicely with computer science, which is what I started with and intended to pursue. I managed to do both, and they really helped prepare me for my job. Classes like game engines really translated well to what I’m doing now, as did networks.”

Recently, Gudiswitz has been helping with the flight simulator for a USAF C-5 Galaxy cargo plane and thoroughly enjoying the process.

“It’s a chance to poke around in different areas of coding,” he said. “And I enjoy all of it. Basically, this is a chance to use the practical applications of all the things I’ve learned in class. I get to travel some, do things I never imagined I’d find myself doing, and at the end of the day, we’re also helping people learn how to fly, which is the most important thing of all.”

Gudiswitz says that TU helped make this possible. The CymSTAR job came from networking — connections he’d made while on campus — and the development of the CSG program encouraging him to branch out and try new things.

While the CSG degree program might be a lot of fun, there’s also important applications, and graduates like Gudiswitz are using the knowledge from a digital world to keep people safe in reality.