The creators of the world-famous Fortnite video game have endorsed courses at Ulster University.
The university becomes the only facility on the island of Ireland awarded partner status to Epic Games Unreal Engine.
An investment of £1m has also been made in the university’s Ulster Screen Academy.
Students will be trained at a new virtual production facility at the York Street campus in Belfast.
The new facility will feature technology including an LED wall with camera-tracking technology, full-body motion capture, facial capture, a large green screen and virtual cameras.
Those studying on the course will be trained using the Unreal Engine to develop real-time 3D skills.
The engine is used by developers across all platforms to drive some of the most popular video games around the world but is also used in sectors such as film, television, architecture, transport, live events, as well as training and simulation.
Linda Sellheim, education lead at Epic Games, said the facility will prepare students for opportunities across the world.
“As the global demand for real-time 3D skills continues to increase, Ulster Screen Academy’s digital media, virtual production, and games design and animation programs will prepare students for exciting new career opportunities in Northern Ireland and beyond,” she said.
Dr Declan Keeney, director of Ulster Screen Academy, said it would help to train students in “skills gaps identified by our industry partners”.
“We have embedded virtual production into the curriculum, teaching students high-end production skills for games design, animation, film and broadcast,” he said.
“We cannot understate the importance of the Unreal Academic Partner endorsement – it’s the industry telling us that the Ulster Screen Academy is on par with the best institutions around the world yet available here on our doorstep in Northern Ireland.”
Economy Minister Diane Dodds said the move would help “to provide the highly skilled graduates needed to attract investment and high quality jobs in the creative industries”.
“This technology will add significantly to the sector’s potential contribution to Northern Ireland’s economic recovery,” she added.