Mike Zyda, center, and students
Zyda is an internationally known game theorist and designer profiled in a new book, Smartbomb: The Quest for Art, Entertainment, and Big Bucks in the Videogame Revolution.
"The mission of the GamePipe Lab is research, development and education on technologies for the future of interactive games and their application," said Zyda. "We focus both on entertainment and serious games, with the ultimate goal of creating a science of games."
The scene of the event was the large laboratory on the third floor of Ronald Tutor Hall on the USC University Park campus that GamePipe occupies in addition to offices at ISI's Marina del Rey campus. The day's presentations were in three groups: Advanced Games, Networked Games, and Serious Games.
Games presented included titles like TuneTube, Jadoo, Storm of Steel, Catch Me, Really Cool Racers and Trojanland. Feeding these demos were three classes now offered by the CS department, including Networked Games CS-599: Serious Games CS-499: and Advanced Game Projects CS-499.
Victor LaCour, a game designer and developer who serves as Projects Director and Creative Director for GamePipe, teaches no fewer than three of these, assisted by teaching assistants Dhruv Thrukral and Vincent Su. He served with Zyda as host for the gathering.
Victor LaCour gets into the game.
"I could not be more impressed with the students projects," he said. In 16 weeks they have gone from never having programmed or designed games to developing fully robust and innovative game levels.”
GamePipe began one year ago, when Zyda moved to ISI and USC from the MOVES Institute at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.
"To have assembled this impressive a set of course offerings, and this rich a program of student projects in so short a time is a significant achievement," said Gérard Medioni, chair of the Viterbi School's computer science department.
Industry judge-observers found much to look at.