In the past few months, I have been working with a few colleagues, including Dr Anastasios Bakaoukas and Ewan Armstrong, at Computing on initialising a VR project. The idea is simple: build our new Waterside Campus (due open in 2018) in virtual reality using game development engine so we can all (virtually) walk around on our new site before it’s fully completed in the physical world. So why have we volunteered to do this?
- Because we can! Our Game Development/Arts/Design programmes are strong and fast growing. We have expertise in modelling, artistic design and artificial intelligence for developing immersive games.
- It can potentially help the University to promote our infrastructure/facilities at the new site to prospective students. To this end, we have worked with the marketing team to understand their needs. The tool could also help improving the visitor/student experience once we move to the new campus.
- Using the new campus as the case for teaching. Students can drop their designs or game logics directly into this VR environment and test their work in a unique context.
- It will be a great platform for media, AI, and traffic analysis research.
Despite an enormous workload on teaching and marking, the team has worked with an external media company and has committed many many hours transform 3D models for the gaming environment (special thanks to Ewan!). We hope to deliver some interest results very soon!
BTW, if you like one of those “cut-in-half” arts, here are some of my takes on the Creative Hub:
Taking a small slice off and you can see some networking space on the left and entrances to blocks of lecture theatres on the right:
Cutting it further:
It looks like there is a standalone building wrapped inside…
And here is the Engine Shed, a Grade II listed building currently being restored and it will be the home of the Student Union.