For students who are interested in learning game programming and taking part in game development and design. Computer graphics, human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence, and allied computational fields all play a role in this burgeoning industry. Art and engineering intersect to create innovative game environments that captivate players.
Sample research projects:
Professor Julian Togelius specializes in artificial intelligence, and has programmed AI agents that play several existing video games. In the clip above, an AI agent plays through Super Mario Bros.
Professor Andy Nealen, working in conjunction with PhD student Ming Jin, is perfecting RigMesh, a 3-D modeling and rigging program that, when completed, will be very intuitive to use. Compared to other modeling programs that require a great deal of time and effort to create a 3-D model of an object as well as the rig—the underlying skeleton that gives the model its articulation points and allows it to move—a user can simply "draw" the model using the mouse within minutes. The rig is then automatically placed and articulation points can be added or removed easily where needed.
Animating the model is simplified under RigMesh, as well. Instead of setting up key frames and moving the rigs, as in traditional 3-D animation, RigMesh utilizes digital cameras. A user can key a model's rig to a person standing in front of a camera and that person's movements will in turn animate the model. This method of animating is more time-efficient and inexpensive.