Students, profs, gaming industry reps meeting at NC State
The meeting, to be held 7 to 9 p.m. at the Walnut Room on the fourth floor of the Talley Student Center at the NCSU main campus in Raleigh, will provide students and members of the significant gaming industry based in the Triangle area a chance to learn about the research and academic curriculum related to gaming available at NC State, and career opportunities.
Student gamers will also have a chance to have professionals check out their work as a conclusion to a Gameboy Advantage (GBA) game developers competition. The idea for the competition, run rather informally this semester, began last fall when Game Developers’ Club president Michael Daly spoke with Ismini Roby, chief editor and co-founder of WomenGamers.com, based in Raleigh.
“People who are interested in making games of their own have been building tools for that for quite a while,” Daly says. “Ismini said she thought it might be neat to do a contest, because she was familiar with what you could do with it.”
“GBA games have a much shorter development time than building a PC or console game from the ground up,” Roby says. “It also helps students focus less on creating robust 3D game engines, detailed artwork and worrying about hardware compatibility. Instead they can work towards making a simplistic yet fun game design for a more limited system. It's faster, it uses some of the same concepts for developing other kinds of games but on a smaller scale, and it gives students the opportunity to complete a game for their portfolio before they get into the work force.”
About 50 people came to the student organization’s initial meeting about the competition last fall, he says, although he is not certain how many actually followed through with creating games. Those who did have a chance at the $100 cash prize being awarded to the top game.
Daly says he is excited about Tuesday’s meeting, regardless of how many student teams actually come with a new game in hand, because it will offer opportunities to hear from the gaming community as well as faculty at NC State.
The gaming industry based in the area includes Red Storm Entertainment, Vicious Cycle, iEN Central, Octagon Entertainment and Epic Games/Scion Studios, Roby says.
Faculty presenters are professors Michael Young and Christopher Healey, whose research and courses provide knowledge essential for those with an interest in the gaming industry.
Young, assistant professor of computer science, is director of the Liquid Narrative research group at the College of Engineering's computer science department. The group focuses on the development of core artificial intelligence (AI) techniques for use within virtual worlds, with applications in entertainment, training, education and other interactive systems.
Two main research systems that Young's team is working on are the Mimesis architecture for intelligent control of virtual environments and the IDM system for generating natural language discourse in the context of user interactions with very large datasets. Young also is co-director of the Center for Digital Entertainment, a informal research center with participants from the Colleges of Education, Engineering, Design and Humanities and Social Sciences at NC State.
Healey, associate professor of computer science, focuses his research on computer graphics, scientific visualization, perception and cognitive vision, color, texture, databases, and computational geometry, which have applications in the gaming industry. Healey is also one of the faculty members working with the Center for Digital Entertainment.
For additional information about the meeting, contact Daly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information about research or coursework related to the gaming industry, contact:
Prof. Michael Young, email@example.com, 919.513.3038
Prof. Christopher Healy, firstname.lastname@example.org, 919.513.8112
Michael Daly has pursued his interests in gaming while an undergrad at NC State’s Department of Computer Science. He’s developed two games thus far, and will have two more finished by the end of the semester.
One was completed as part of a Senior Design Center project team sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The team developed a game that teaches children about the dangers of exposure to too much sun. Daly was the artist for that project, a role he enjoyed because it allowed him to blend his computer science knowledge with his artistic skills.
“To be a good game artist, you have to understand how the engine will process what you create – how to turn the corners, for example,” he says. “Other artists might not know that.”
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