Wednesday, March 27, 2013

03/25/2013: Outreach Officer Election and Virtual Harlem


2013 - 2014 Outreach Officer!

After barely falling short in the race for president Cindy's name once again appeared on the ballot. This time for outreach officer. Her competition was a self-taught and talented designer, William, who also wished to bring more variety to our club as well as more people. Both candidates have contributed much to the club already. Cindy has started crafting the club logo and William is working to spruce up our website. Thanks to both of them!

In the end Cindy received the majority and became the new Outreach Officer, but both were/are highly qualified.

Now that elections are over we can focus on getting some talks and projects going.

Virtual 1920s Harlem

After the elections, our special guest, Dr. Bryan Carter, from the Africana Studies Department pitched an idea to the club. His goal was to enlist some interested members in working on improving a 1920s virtual rendition of Harlem, New York.

The project has been in motion for years, but after expensive "cave" units his focus is on bringing Harlem to the desktop. The first manifestation of the game was built on second life and then on the open-source version, open sim. Now, developers at Unity are porting over the game into their engine which will may allow for an increase in the graphical capability if there are no other bottlenecks. 

He pictures a collaboration of the humanities and the sciences to create a historical world full of games to drive the interest of students. Hopefully incorporating a "game" atmosphere with a  foundation of history will lead students to roam the virtual world and discover things about the time period, however big or small.

After Dr. Carter departed some ideas were tossed around on how the virtual world should be molded. Not making it like Assassin's Creed was an easy consensus for the group to come to, but we did decide that would needed to be more immersive and come alive for the players. 

If you are interested in improving 1920s virtual harlem while getting some academic credit (summer availability also) and perhaps something to add to your portfolio then contact Dr. Bryan Carter. In addition, next semester he will be teaching a colloquium on education and mobile Apps, so look for that.

Email: bryancarter@email.arizona.edu

For information and a tour of the project visit his blog and twitter.
 - Visit his Twitter for a link to 13 minute video showcasing the environment.
 - Visit his blog to read about the development, create an avatar, download the client, and explore.