UC-Irvine Establishes Games Research Center

The University of California-Irvine, already home to a game culture lab, has established the Center for Computer Games & Virtual Worlds. Twenty faculty members from the university's computer science, humanities, education and other departments will collaborate on its work.

The mission of the Center for Computer Games & Virtual Worlds, according to a university statement, will be to "expand campuswide research activities that draw upon UCI's strengths spanning the social and technological aspects of games and virtual worlds." It will likely be the site of national and international research workshops, and will host visiting research scholars on the subject.

The statement also points out that UC-Irvine was one of the first major research universities to establish teaching and research programs for computer game culture and technology. Its Game Culture & Technology Lab has pulled in nearly $5 million in external funding since its establishment in 2001.

The Center for Computer Games is a part of Irvine's Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences; it's led by the school's associate dean, Magda El Zarki, and senior research scientist Walt Scacchi, of the UCI Institute for Software Research.

"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."

The statement adds that: "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."

UC Irvine establishes Center for Computer Games & Virtual Worlds [UC-Irvine Today, thanks Elizabeth L.]