If you’re one of those people who thinks nothing cool happens outside of LA, NYC or San Francisco, this news might just do something to change your mind. What am I talking about? Well, the University of California at Irvine has opened up a school to research video games and virtual world technologies. Don’t know exactly what that means?
Well, you’re in luck then because we’ve got all the info from the official press release. And hey, we support education so this might be something worth checking out.
UC Irvine establishes new Center for Computer Games & Virtual Worlds Center to join forces with Institute for Software Research and Game Culture & Technology Laboratory
Irvine, Calif., Sept. 1, 2009 – UC Irvine’s Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences has established the Center for Computer Games & Virtual Worlds, led by ICS associate dean Magda El Zarki and senior research scientist Walt Scacchi of the UCI Institute for Software Research.
The center’s goal is to expand campuswide research activities that draw upon UCI’s strengths spanning the social and technological aspects of games and virtual worlds. More than 20 faculty members from computer science, arts, humanities, social science and education will collaborate in the center.
UCI was among the first major research universities to establish educational and research programs in computer game culture and technology. The UCI Game Culture & Technology Lab, launched in 2001, has attracted nearly $5 million in external funding.
“We now realize that scientific and cultural achievements go beyond the current concepts of what games and virtual worlds are good for, or how they may be developed or applied,” Scacchi said. “The center will support our research in demonstrating the sustained ability to invent and reinvent the future of computer games and virtual worlds.”
UCI has a growing number of game-related research projects, including game-based virtual worlds where students “play to learn” via interactive simulations, open community-based development of games and synthetic worlds, and gamelike synthetic worlds where autonomous characters display emotional responses and emergent behaviors. The Center for Computer Games & Virtual Worlds plans to host national and international research workshops as well as visiting research scholars. In addition, center faculty plan to establish industry and academic partnerships with computer game and virtual world research centers across the globe.