via UWaterloo: At a meeting of the University of Waterloo Senate last evening, a proposal for a Games Institute, drawing on Waterloo expertise in such fields as animation, gambling, simulation, neurobiology and wellness, was approved to move forward. The proposal, which was backed by the senate’s Graduate and Research Council and the Dean of Arts, drew on “core faculty members” in systems design engineering, drama and speech communication, psychology, anthropology, management sciences, mechanical and mechatronics engineering, English language and literature, and computer science.
The summary, which allowed that the Games Institute vision is very broad, incorporating game research that may have non-gaming applications, non-gaming research that may have game-related applications, hardware, software, and interaction, would seek funding from government (SSHRC, NSERC, MRl, etc.) and industry (Google, Microsoft, partners in the games industry and related industries); and UW seed funding. The proposal also went on to state that:
“The games industry is growing rapidly throughout Ontario, Canada, the U.S., Europe, and Asia, and offers numerous and wide-ranging areas for cross-faculty and multi-institutional interdisciplinary research collaborations. Furthermore, the games field is an area of strong interest for students, as researchers, creators and industry employees. The games industry is receiving substantial funding and incentives from governments, including the Ontario government.
“The Games Institute is proposed to advance research and knowledge in game-related interactions and technologies. The institute aims to establish strong academic and academic-industry research projects and programs, establish a richly cross-disciplinary graduate teaching and research institution, develop commercialization projects with industry partners, strengthen community ties, encourage student engagement, and enhance educational and employment opportunities for students. Research will cover video and computer games (including online games), social games, mobile games, educational and serious games, simulations and virtual worlds, more traditional non-digital games, board games and gambling games.
Also listed in the proposal were examples of some of the research studies and questions that researchers in the institute could tackle. Among them: “What are the psychological and psychophysiological aspects of gaming that contribute to addiction? What aspects of interface design can we learn from games? How can machine learning and AI influence new games? How can we optimize code for networked mobile games? How do we incorporate ideas from board games into new digital technologies? What public policy recommendations should be made with regard to games?”