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Creating Video Games, from Luge to 3-D June 9, 2008

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Videogame creation is serious work at NC State. Starting with raw ideas, pitches and pizza, computer science and industrial design students work collaboratively to develop computer games with compelling art and visuals, paired with sound game play mechanics and technical wizardry.

The results of this semester-long collaboration were be on display at the fifth annual Game Development Showcase featuring presentations by each of the four game development teams composed of students from computer science’s advanced game development course taught by R. Michael Young, and industrial design’s 3D game development studio led by Tim Buie. Teams gave hands-on demos of their games and answered questions about the games’ design and technologies.

Four games made it from pitch to project:

• Beating Heart Studio’s Deliver Us From Evil
• Catlyst Studio’s Compound Reaction
• Meltdown Studio’s Meltdown: Xtreme Luge
Unus Studio’s Enyara

HASTAC Digital Media + Learning Awards February 21, 2008

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A mixed reality game for high school students in Los Angeles and Cairo to learn about the real-time impact of air pollution in their neighborhoods. A web application that aggregates news and nonprofit needs, where every news story is linked to real-world actions that users can take. A mobile musical laboratory that allows students to explore new ways of making music with laptops and local area networks.

These are three of the 17 projects that will receive up to $238,000 in funding as part of the first ever Digital Media and Learning Competition funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and administered by HASTAC (the Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory). Selected from a pool of 1010 applications, the winning projects are expected to produce promising innovations in the use of digital media for formal and informal learning. For details, go to http://www.dmlcompetition.net/

SecondLife on NBC-17 August 2, 2007

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Peace Furst

Shirley Min (aka Shirls Beck, SecondLife) with NBC 17 met with a few of us in SecondLife last week to learn about what we’re doing in Second Life at NC State for instruction in distance education.

She has a piece on SL that aired on Wednesday, August 1st, at 7pm. In addition to the story that airs during the news, they also released a second story exclusively for the station’s website (www.nbc17.com) on in-world commerce in SL.

Read the related news article at NBC-17.

Be sure to check out the resources available at Delta/Distance Education & Learning Technology Applications.

BarCampRDU 2007 July 27, 2007

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August 4, 2007 – Red Hat Offices, 8:30 AM-6PM – Raleigh, NC.

Pre-party: Friday, August 3, 2007. Tyler’s Taproom, Durham, 7:30-9:30PM.
Location: Red Hat, Centennial Campus Offices, Raleigh, NC
Info: Breakfast, lunch, snacks and refreshments provided.
Hint: Doors will open at 8AM.
Arrive early to avoid the rush and guarantee that we have your T-shirt size.

A Bar Camp is an unconference where people interested in a wide range of technologies come together to teach and learn. Unfamiliar with the un-conference format? Here’s the idea in a nutshell. Rather than having scheduled speakers, everyone pitches sessions the morning of the BarCamp. Those sessions are put on a schedule, and lots of little groups form for intense group learning. Everyone is expected to teach, to talk, to participate. Yeah, its different from a regular conference – but it works!

More Information at http://barcamp.org/BarCampRDU/

Meet & Greet in 3-D: Virtual Onboarding at IBM April 17, 2007

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IBM Second LifeTalent Management has a quick interview with Chuck Hamilton, director of IBM’s Center for Advanced Learning. IBM is taking the company virtual with thousands of employees using Second Life and Plane Shift to support new employee orientation and training. It is about time what we begin to see some innovative pilot programs being developed and used in a true business environment. Not bad for a technology that was once only thought of as a way to reduce travel expenditures.

A lot of technology has thwarted their efforts to be more creative, and what I’m seeing in this space is that we’re all of the sudden opening up an environment or a platform that says, “You be the creator. You open that up.” As a matter of fact, very little of content that is created in the Second Life environment is created by the owners of the tool themselves — all of that content and the world you see there is created by the people who participate in it. This is a very creative medium right from the get-go. You’re seeing a merging of skills that weren’t naturally merged before. This environment is very artistic, so you’ve got this medium merging art with technology and social with environmental.

[ Read More at Talent Management ]

Lecture: Electronic Arts, Moving from Player to Creator March 16, 2007

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Moving from Player to Creator:
Opportunities in the Videogame Industry

Colleen McReary and Ryan Stradling, Electronic Arts

Date and Time:
3:35 – 4:45 , March 21, 2007

EB1, Room 1011, NCSU’s Centennial Campus

Many people are now growing up as expert gamers. How can you
make the jump from playing videogames to getting paid to create them? This talk will explore what the games industry expects in terms of coursework and knowledge for students hoping to create games post graduation.

Speaker Bios:

Colleen Wheeler McCreary is Global Director of University Relations for Electronic Arts (EA), the world’s largest interactive entertainment software company based in Redwood City, CA. McCreary manages a global team and leads the development of the first formal University Relations program for EA, partners with academia on engineering and game design curriculum recommendations, and is building a process for finding,
recruiting, and retaining new college graduate and intern talent around the world.

Ryan Stradling is Senior Development Director at EA’s Tiburon Studios.

Visitors coming to this talk from off-campus locations should
obtain a visitors’ parking pass from the Centennial Campus Visitors’ Center and park in the Partners Way Parking Deck. For Specific directions, see http://www.csc.ncsu.edu/department/map/. Note that this
link directs you to EBII. This talk is held in EBI, shown on the map
adjacent to EBII.

Lecture | Art of Machinima, The Garage Innovators November 6, 2006

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Hal Meeks makes a great comparison to the early innovators working out of their garage (Apple, HP, Disney, et. al.) to the new animators creating content from non-traditional applications. He may not know that he’s really hinting at is basic “Long Tail” economics theory but I won’t go on about that soap box… (read the book).

So where are we now? Animation/video that is found online can be prolific and viral… A great example is that we have StrongBad coming to market. (more…)

‘Beyond Machinima’ October 19, 2006

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Trapped AshesIn a very detailed interview visual effects designer John Gaeta, best known for his Oscar-winning ‘bullet time’ effects for The Matrix, talks to Gamasutra about his collaboration with EA’s Rudy Poat on a startling new film using real-time game engine manipulation and AI. We’re talking video mashups, interactive films and dynamic camera angles here… It’s interesting to note that a lot of the thought and techniques mentioned by Gaeta are also stressed in the book Synthetic Worlds by Edward Castronova. Synthetic Worlds is a must read anyone interested in the business, design and culture of the new-new media and gaming industry.

[ Read it at GamaSutra.com ]

In the year 2006 we can only really be thinking about these things in terms of an animated feature, but we all know that it’s only a matter of time until we are able to do some virtual cinematography inside of a game system. Essentially we’ll be able to create a hybrid environment using some of the techniques used in film. That’s all starting to filter into games now, and it’s adding a heightened sense of realism. Even importing moving, high def environments like a seascape that changes into something I can interact with at a certain distance. There are many interesting “mashings” that are about to happen over the next few years. – John Gaeta

World Usability Day 2006 October 17, 2006

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World Usability Day 2006

“Making Life Easy!”

“Why doesn’t this work right? What am I supposed to do with this now?” — World Usability Day, November 14, 2006, is for everyone who’s ever asked these questions. This Earth Day style event, focused on raising awareness and visibility of usability engineering and user centered design, is currently being organized by volunteers and local event coordinators from around the world. Whether a usability professional or just an enthusiastic (or frustrated) user, each participant is making a contribution to “making life easy”.

The Triangle User Experience Group is putting together a World Usability Day 2006 event in RTP on November 14th, 2006. We’re looking for students/faculty/staff that are interested in participating in the event. There will be a keynote speaker and a usability interactionary contest.

Graem Boddy, VP Info Services Business Applications
Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC

When: November 14th, 2006 from 6PM to 9PM
Where: GlaxoSmithKline’s Ruvane Auditorium


We’ll be working with different teams in a contest of sorts solving a usability challenge. The event last year pitted NC State, Chapell Hill and industry participants in a usability interactionary.

Local chapter for usability:
More information on the national event:

If you know anyone that would be interested or if you would like to participate in this usability event hosted at GlaxoSmithKline on November 14 please contact me.
Contact me if you are interested in participating.

Cat in Space, Tap and Nike on the run… September 14, 2006

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Way before the ‘So You Can Dance’ and ‘Dancing With the Stars’ odd-ball-pseudo-reality-70’s flashback-variety shows… Gregory Hines put out a film called “Tap” where he wired up tap shoes to midi/synths.

I’m not sure if these were ever functional or if they were part of a hollywood effect… But this concept isn’t new… however the methods of interactivity and sound effects available have improved on the initial idea.

Sound Shoes

Tina Jespersen from Cat In Orbit has one of her projects involving shoes fitted with pressure sensors and wired into Max PSP. Walking around in the shoes creates audio effects like walking in gravel, leaning forward on your toes triggers a mouse-click that swaps out the sound effect and then you’re walking in puddles of water. Although these are wired, this could easily be updated with Flash 8, MakingThings/Teleo, mp3 audio recorder and a few force sensors or bend sensors.

View the Flash video here…

Although I can see sound effects shoes like this paired (no pun intended) with kids shoes that have blinking lights activated as they step, jump or run around in them… This input method not only could be used with gee-wiz audio effects but could integrate with data driven, interactive applications similar to Apple/Nike Sync. One could create a health/phys ed game for kids to increase movement and exercise – jumping, stomping and shaking… would give a whole new meaning to hoky-poky.