CSC News

May 03, 2007

Computer Science Department Launches Digital Games Research Center


NC State’s Department of Computer Science Launches the Digital Games Research Center

Raleigh, NC. -- The science of games is about to get more serious in North Carolina.

NC State University’s Department of Computer Science today announced the launch of its Digital Games Research Center (DGRC) to study an area of information technology that holds the promise to change the way we learn, play, collaborate and work in the 21st century.

This new departmental center has a multi-disciplinary nature whose focus investigates the scientific, design, social and educational challenges of design and construction of games and game technologies. In addition to computer science faculty, the center's faculty include colleagues from the colleges of Education, Engineering, Design and Humanities and Social Sciences who collaborate on a wide range of research and educational initiatives that focus on new modes of interaction in digital game environments.

"Game and simulation development has matured into a serious profession that demands knowledge of a broad spectrum of disciplines.,” said Juan Benito, Creative Director of Destineer Studios and a member of the DGRC Advisory Board.  “NC State is presented with the opportunity to integrate an equally broad range of high-quality faculty into an effort that will prepare the next generation of tools, techniques and students for the challenges of professional game development. It is my sincere hope that NC State will fulfill this potential and emerge as a leading institution in this exciting and important field, and I fully support the farsighted efforts of Professors Michael Young and Tim Buie in this regard."

The DGRC will initiate a series of efforts designed to deepen the understanding of the arts and sciences of game development, enhance the quality of games-related education, and improve the exchange of information between re-searchers, educators and game development practitioners in North Carolina and across the nation.

The first of these efforts will be to establish the North Carolina Serious Games Initiative, a state-wide collaborative effort bringing together academics and educators from North Carolina’s colleges and universities to explore the use of games technologies for applications in areas beyond entertainment.  The DGRC will host a one-day workshop, Collaboration in the North Carolina Serious Games Space, which will be held on NC State’s Centennial Campus during the summer of 2007. This one-day workshop will provide a forum in which industry leaders can interact with leading scholars and students as they discuss ongoing research and development in the use of games in education, training, visualization and many other areas. The Center's workshop is designed to narrow the gap between state-of-the-art scholarship and academic research and the leading edge practices of the North Carolina serious games industry. 
Other initiatives include:
•    The establishment of a series of invited talks by local and national leaders in the research and development of computer games, each discussing their vision for game development over the coming decade and beyond.  The se-ries, called The Future of Games (FoG), was piloted in the Spring of 2007 and will continue again in the Fall semester;
•    The creation of a series of interview-based podcasts serving as companion pieces to the Future of Games speaker series.  Center faculty will interview many of the FoG speakers as well as other leading technologists, designers and academics working to shape the future of game development and use;
•    The creation of Planet Academic (, a web community where educators and aca-demic researches can share best practices in the use of games in courses and in their research projects.  Planet Aca-demic will serve as an archive for course syllabi, research papers and software resources contributed by its users as well as a forum for discussion of techniques and technologies for the use of commercial game engines in academic settings.
•    Extension of the strong relationship between NC State Computer Science and the Triangle area’s strong presence in the games industry, specifically by
•    working with industry  to provide unprecedented access to commercial game engines for faculty at NC State and for using these powerful tools in classes and advanced research projects.
•    building a web-based clearing house for NC State students seeking experience in the North Carolina game in-dustry through summer jobs and extended internship programs.

The DGRC will be located in the new $46 million, 210,000 square foot Engineering Building II on Centennial Campus – a state-of-the-art teaching and research facility –  and will be directed by Professors R. Michael Young (Computer Science) and Timothy Buie (Industrial Design). Young is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Game Development and is known for his work on the integration of artificial intelligence research with computer games. Buie has worked as an award-winning art director supervising the development of 8 game titles produced by North Carolina game studios and has exhibited his work at SIGGRAPH, E3 and at galleries nation-wide; he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on game design as well as 3D and 2D graphics, modeling and animation.

The Digital Games Research Center is unique in many ways. North Carolina is home to a cluster of game companies ranging from serious game development studios like Destineer and Virtual Heroes to game engine providers like Emergent Game Technologies and Vicious Cycle to leading game makers such as Electronic Arts, Epic Games and Red Storm Entertainment.  NC State Department of Computer Science faculty have more than 8 years experience in research on games and 3D environments and teach a range of classes to both undergraduates and graduate students in the area of games and games technologies.   The DGRC will further benefit from participation by faculty and students drawn from NC State's leading programs across the Colleges of Design, Education, Engineering and Humani-ties and Social Sciences. 

"We are thrilled to start the Digital Games Research Center and are excited to see the compelling research it will foster," said Young. "Our goal is to transform the science of game development, enabling the creation of new interactive systems that use games in fundamentally new ways.   Digital games are already a central element of life, integrated into our leisure, our learning, our social interaction; expanding our knowledge of the many disciplines involved in the creation of game technologies will facilitate advances in these areas and more.   The resources that can be brought to bear at NC State—in computer science, design, education, and humanities and social sciences—will enable us to tackle the problems in fundamentally new ways.”
For more information about the activities of the Digital Games Research Center, visit the center’s website or contact the center’s directors, R. Michael Young and Timothy Buie.

DGRC Website:

R. Michael Young

Timothy Buie

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