OUTRUN Building the Un-simulation of a driving video game – by Garnet Hertz
April 13th, 2011, 7:41 am · 8 Comments · posted by Ian Hamilton
After a week spent building a computer game from scratch, Justin Britch is sitting behind a laptop Monday night just five hours from an 11 p.m. deadline.
“We couldn’t get our levels to work for a very long time,” Britch tells Reza Ghassemi, president of UC Irvine’s Video Game Development Club.
“For how long?” asks Ghassemi.
“Are they working now?” Britch asks his teammates.
No, half the levels still don’t work.
Britch, 19 and a resident of Mission Viejo, is participating in his second “Game Jam,” a week-long marathon competition put on by the university’s gaming club pitting teams of computer science, art and informatics majors working around the clock against one another to build computer games.
“Most people have to work for a living; others get to play video games.” That is what United States Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) said about research at UC Irvine’s Center for Computer Games and Virtual Worlds in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Science.
The Center for Computer Games and Virtual Worlds is truly interdisciplinary, as befits a research area having broad social impact, with faculty not just from the fields of informatics and computer science but also humanities, law, education, art and anthropology. So it would be fair to say they do a whole lot more than just play video games there.
But last December, Coburn published “Wastebook 2010: A Guide to Some of the Most Wasteful Government Spending of 2010” through his taxpayer-funded senatorial office. In it, he ranked as No. 6 (out of 100 government-funded projects) work by UCI Professor Bonnie Nardi, Senior Research Scientist Walt Scacchi and 21 other researchers, for which they received a three-year, $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation in 2008.
UC Irvine’s New Computer-Games Major Gets Its Game On
The school is banking big on computer games as an emerging discipline
By MICHELLE WOO Thursday, Dec 9 2010
Open House Night remains a standard of American higher education, an opportunity for colleges and universities to convince prospective students and skeptical parents why their institutions are the best, why the parents should spend the next four to five years scrounging to pay tens of thousands of dollars in tuition, why the student must enroll in that program and ignore the competition. Administrators and professors pull out all the proverbial stops to impress recruits, from spending thousands on glossy packets to name-dropping prominent alumni to offering tours of grandiose campus architecture and boasting about the assured millions in salary that will inevitably come after graduation.
But for UC Irvine’s computer-game-science major, the pitch is simple: computer screens. With computer games loaded onto them. There they are—take them.
Bonnie Nardi shares findings from her participatory study of the online role-playing game World of Warcraft
UC Irvine informatics professor Bonnie Nardi recently published My Life as a Night Elf Priest: An Anthropological Account of World of Warcraft. The book is based on her research of the massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft, which has amassed 11.5 million subscribers worldwide. Commonly known as WoW, the MMORPG is produced by Irvine-based Blizzard Entertainment.
Interested in computer-mediated communication and society and technology, Nardi studies gender roles, culture and addiction in the play experience. She has spent more than three years participating in WoW in the U.S. and China – as a Night Elf Priest.
UCI, which is already outfitted with a Center for Computer Games and Virtual Worlds meant to expand research into those fields, will now let undergraduate students major in Computer Game Science after final approval was granted during a divisional Senate assembly meeting.