Fall 2013 GameLab Projects Selected

Following the live pitch sessions on March 22, five projects were selected to go into production in the Fall 2013 session of GameLab. Prospective production team members who are accepted into GameLab will be assigned to one of these five projects according to need.

Body Shop

From creative director Kelly Weeren: “Body Shop is a 3D space-opera RPG in which the player starts out as a disembodied head. As the player explores the world, they are able attach or remove additional body parts at will, allowing the player to become a head with a leg, a head with multiple arms, an average human, or something more unique.”

Castor and Pollux

From creative director Steven Zapata: “Castor and Pollux is a side-scrolling, physics-based, two player puzzle-platformer/action-platformer wherein both players are given a unique character, each with a different skill-set and play style and are asked to work together to achieve a common goal.”

Control Room

From creative director Joshua Miller: “Control Room is a 2D real time, top down stealthy strategy game with puzzle elements. The player is a double agent control room operator in an advanced military facility. He or she must guide a group of AI controlled infiltrators through the facility in order to blow it up while avoiding suspicion.”

The Fast and the Fjorious

From creative director Caroline Curley: “The Fast and the Fjorious is a 3D, two versus two racing game featuring sprinting cartoon Vikings on a mad dash to obtain Thor’s glorious hammer, which has fallen from the sky… a good distance from the player’s home village, with dense, harsh forest in the way… You and a friend have to navigate through the forest and reach the hammer before the two members of your rival village.”

Zarathustra: Sea Station to the Impossible

From creative director Harry Lesser: “Zarathustra is an isometric 2D turn based strategy game with roguelike elements. …The player controls a squad of soldiers sent down to the undersea research station “Zarathustra” in an attempt to quell a Lovecraftian crisis. Players will guide their squad… through rooms generated in a procedural, roguelike fashion… and ultimately sacrifice the squad to empower one soldier with the ability to defeat the unknown terror.”

GameLab Projects to Be Featured at Spring Arts Festival

Student-made games from this semester’s Game Production Lab, as well as selections from Game Pipeline Methodologies, Games and Gallery Art, and Experimental Game Lab, will be on display and playable as part of the Spring Arts Festival.

The event is open to the public and will take place Friday, May 3 between 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Visual Arts Studio (AS).

EMAC Professor to Receive 2013 Inclusive Excellence and Intercultural Teaching Award

Kim Knight

Dr. Kim Knight has been selected for the Inclusive Excellence and Intercultural Teaching Award to be presented at the 4th Annual UT Dallas Diversity Awards Gala hosted by the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement (ODCE).

The Inclusive Excellence and Intercultural Teaching Award honors the contributions of an individual who has supported diversity and inclusion at UT Dallas in the past academic year.

Each year the ODCE recognizes the contributions of UT Dallas faculty, staff, students, and community partners to advance the UT Dallas diversity mission, goals, and programs, with special awards during the annual Diversity Awards Gala. The Gala was established in 2009 to celebrate and highlight how diversity enables and empowers the UT Dallas community to reach the highest levels of excellence.

Article in Nature Examines Growing Opportunities for Interdisciplinary Education

A new article in Nature examines the convergent relationship between traditional scientific and artistic avenues of study.

Graduate students who want to pursue both art and science have multiple options. Universities are responding to the demand from students with hybrid interests, who want to pursue the coupling of art and science rather than be forced to choose between the two, says Roger Malina, Distinguished Chair of Arts and Technology and Professor of Physics at UT Dallas. UT Dallas opened an Arts and Technology (ATEC) program in 2004, and launched an ATEC PhD program last year that currently has 55 students and is planning to double in size in the next few years.

Dr. Roger Malina

Malina adds that other universities are also experimenting with how best to fuse art and science. Some, such as MIT, UCLA and the University of California, Davis, offer student training at their art–science centers or labs.

In France, a partnership across the scientific research institutes and the decorative- and performing-arts centers of Paris Science and Letters has launched the Science, Art, Creation, Research PhD program.

And such training can help newly minted PhD holders to expand their job search to include art-related posts. “We are starting to see a few positions for hybrid art–science professionals, and I believe this will continue to grow,” says Malina.

Guna Nadarajan, dean of the University of Michigan School of Art & Design in Ann Arbor, notes that Google and IBM are hiring graduates with design backgrounds for their research and development teams; and companies such as 3M and Proctor and Gamble have a steady demand for those skills in their efforts to develop innovative materials.

Read the full article on the Nature Website.

Deadlines Extended to Apply for Advanced Game Courses

Applications are required to enroll in any of three new, advanced game courses being offered in the fall: Game Development 2, Game Design 2, and Virtual Environments 2.

The deadlines for interested students to submit their applications have been extended, and are now rolling deadlines, which means the applications will be reviewed as soon as they are submitted.

The required paperwork can be downloaded below, picked up outside Dr. Monica Evan’s office, ATEC 1.908, or picked up from any of the ATEC advisers.

It is requested that students submit their completed applications as soon as possible on the ATEC server, following the instructions on the application forms. Game Development 2 and Game Design 2 applications may also be submitted via e-mail to Dr. Monica Evans (mevans@utdallas.edu). Due to the size of the attachments required by the Virtual Environments 2 applications, those applications may only be submitted to the server, not via e-mail.

Students will hear back regarding their application status by May 1, May 15, and periodically throughout the summer. Applications will be reviewed up to August 15, 2013.

Any questions should be directed to Dr. Evans or an ATEC adviser immediately.

ATEC, EMAC Professors Promoted to Tenured Associate Professors

As of September 1, 2013 the ATEC and EMAC programs at The University of Texas at Dallas will have three new tenured associate professors: Monica Evans, Todd Fechter and David Parry.

Monica Evans

Monica Evans

As a faculty member in the Arts and Technology program, Monica Evans‘ focus is to expand the game studies curriculum, particularly at the graduate level. This year she created the Game Production Lab within the ATEC program, a series of courses in which students design, develop, and produce original games and gaming content at both the graduate and undergraduate level.

Monica Evans has recruited many industry members to donate equipment and resources to the ATEC program, offer internships to ATEC students, teach ATEC courses as adjuncts, and advise students through seminars, guest lectures, and as judges for the UT Dallas CGEC. Companies include Pixelux Entertainment, iStation, Gearbox Software, Barking Lizards, MumboJumbo, iD Software, and Texas Instruments, as well as investor Hughes Ventures.

Evans’ personal research is focused on narrative for games and other interactive systems, which she is currently publishing as articles, book chapters, and conference submissions; and on meaningful play, serious games, educational games, and simulations, for which she is both publishing articles and submitting multiple grant proposals. She is currently working on a series of proposals for new research in virtual medical simulation, and proposals have been sent to the American Heart Association, Pediatrix, Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) granting agency.

As to the significance of her work: Game studies is a brand-new, continuously evolving field, and few universities are pursuing significant academic research in the area. Evans’ long-term goal is to seed top-level game studios with our undergraduate students at higher than entry-level positions (in other words, positions where they have influence over design, content, and innovation); to seed top-level universities with our masters and doctoral students as the next generation of game studies scholars; and to provide a place for students to incubate independent game studios, research projects, or to follow other academic inclinations in the field.

Todd Fechter

Todd Fechter

Todd Fechter‘s professional background is in the field of 3D computer animation. He has experience working on both television and film productions, which he gained while employed at DNA Production, Inc from September 2002 through June of 2006. There he held the position of Head of Environment Modeling, where he led a team of eight modelers in the planning and creation of all environments and props.

After leaving DNA Productions he worked as a freelance 3D artist providing both modeling and texturing services for various companies including Jeep, Ember Studios, Reel FX Entertainment and NASA.

In October 2006 Fechter accepted a position at Element X Creative as Head of Modeling. There he worked on various projects ranging from promotions to a direct to DVD animated series.

Fechter is currently an Assistant Professor of 3D Computer Animation at UT Dallas. During this time he has been able to integrate his production experience and expertise into his teachings with the goal of better preparing students to reach their professional aspirations. This includes the creation of the first online Arts and Technology computer animation digital class material archive where students have unlimited access to course materials and examples that allow for off campus learning and review.

Fechter’s current interests are in the continued redesign and growth of the ATEC 3D animation curriculum. Two new courses will focus more on the planning and development of 3D animation rather than the actual execution. Students will then be able to fully realize production timelines and methodologies to focus skills learned in other ATEC courses and create of their own complex animations. In return these works will be submitted to festivals and other showcases.

David Parry

David Parry

David Parry has taught as an assistant professor since August 2007, and has helped to grow and shape the EMAC program. His work centers on understanding the complex cultural transformations brought about by the change from an analog archive to one whose substructure is a digital network. His current area of research is focused on understanding how the digital network produces a different type of public and alters civic practices, analyzing how power structures and relations between people and governance are altered in the digital era.

Currently he teaches courses on writing in the digital era, digital culture, and civic media. His presentations and published writing include works on digital games, web technologies, digital literacy, and the emerging networked public.

David writes for several online resources including his own blogs, Profound Heterogeneity (www.profoundheterogeneity.com), and Academhack (www.academhack.com), and has been featured in The Chronicle for his work on microblogging as pedagogical practice. He also is regularly invited by organizations to speak about digital literacy and the changing cultural landscape.

Capstone Celebration


The time has come for our graduating seniors in the Emerging Media and Communications program to showcase their capstone projects that they have been working hard on for the past semester. Many of these students have been thinking about this project for their entire Undergraduate or Graduate career here at UT Dallas. This year the Arts & Humanities school really wanted to make this presentation a celebration of our students’ outstanding work.

Please join us to celebrate the projects and graduation of our Spring 2013 graduates on
Wednesday, May 1, 2013 
CN 1.112 in the Alexander Clark Center

This year a prize of $250 will be awarded to one outstanding undergraduate and one graduate. We will provide light refreshments and snacks during intermission.

If you are not able to attend the celebration because you are out of town, don’t fret because we will be recording the event and will post a video on our YouTube channel after the event. Also, if you would like to follow the Twitter chatter surrounding the event, you can follow the event hashtag, #emacC2.

View the program notes online.

EMAC Lab Readies New Release

The EMAC Lab, formerly the Mobile Lab, which has previously created projects such as Undetweetable and Enemygraphis working on a new software project, which should be ready for release next month. The project, called Github Syllabus, is designed to allow college instructors to quickly and easily share copies of their syllabi on the Github platform. Github, was originally designed as a mechanism to allow programmers to quickly and easily share source code files and collaborate. However, recently the platform’s capabilities have attracted attention from academics in the humanities and social sciences as well. This is mostly because of how the github platform handles files. It stores information about every revision made to a file, allowing the evolution of a complex document, even one contributed to by multiple authors, to be recovered. It also allows users to “fork” files, creating a new version for themselves with a link back to the original version. This allows for flexible collaboration and sharing of materials. University instructors are interested in using these collaboration and sharing functions to work together on teaching and research materials. At present, uploading material to github in a format that it uses gracefully can be difficult and time consuming. Github Syllabus is designed to help with that. It is a plugin for the popular WordPress blogging platform that allows syllabi shared using this platform to be quickly and easily transferred to github. As many faculty use WordPress for classes, this connection will help them more readily make use of the github platform. Look for Github Syllabus, the latest creation from EMAC Lab, in the coming weeks!

MIT Press Journals Director to Discuss The Evolution of Scholarly Publishing

Nick Lindsay, Journals Director for The MIT Press will speak on “The Evolution of Scholarly Publishing” as part of the Art Rendevous Science (ARS) Research Colloquia series on Wed., April 17 at noon in the ATEC Conference Room, ATEC 1.606.


“Publishing is about to go through 25 years of evolution in a five year span.” Said in 2008. This is a fairly accurate description of what’s happened in scholarly journals publishing over the last five years. This talk will cover what’s worked, what hasn’t, and try to make some predictions about what may come. What are publishers concerned about and how are changes in publishing technology altering how scholars do their work are among the topics to be discussed.

About Nick Lindsay

Nick Lindsay has been working in the scholarly communication trenches for almost a decade. First at the University of California Press and now at The MIT Press where he oversees the Press’ journals department. MIT publishes journals that range across the arts and humanities to the social sciences and hard sciences. He is a past chair of the Scholarly Journals Committee of the Association of American University Press.

The ATEC/EMAC Colloquium Committee welcomes suggestions for speakers visiting the metroplex or from the metroplex. Please send your suggestions to one of the Colloquium Committee Members: Professors Roger Malina and Mihai Nadin; co-chairs: Andrew Famiglietti, Paul Fishwick, Mona Kasra and Bonnie Pitman.

Leonardo Abstracts Service Seeks Art, Science, Technology Graduate Theses

Students who will be getting an M.A., M.F.A. or Ph.D. on a subject related to the intersection of art, science and technology are encouraged to submit an abstract of their thesis to LABS (Leonardo Abstract Services).

This peer-reviewed database has been in existence for over 10 years and functions as a way for international artists and scholars to learn about the work of the next generation.

The LABS peer reviewers for this year:

  • Yiannis Colakides is the co-director of NeMe (New Media), Limassol, Cyprus.
  • David Familian is the artistic director of the Beall Center for Art and Technology at University of California Irvine, Irvine, California.
  • Tom Leeser is the Program Director of the Art and Technology Program in the School of Art and the Director of the Center for Integrated Media at the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California.
  • Emmanuel Mahe is the director of research at ENSAD which recently launched a Ph.D. in “Science and Art Creation Research,” which includes several art schools.
  • Andrea Polli is an associate professor of Fine Art and Engineering at the University of New Mexico Albuquerque.
  • Lea Rekow is founder of Green My Favela, a land use reclamation project based in the Rocinha favela of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and on the advisory board for UrbanIxD, a European research network that builds data-rich urban environments through focusing on human activities and experiences.
  • Edward Shanken is a researcher at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and a member of the Media Art History faculty at the Donau University in Krems, Austria.
  • Charissa N. Terranova, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Aesthetic Studies, School of Arts & Humanities, The University of Texas at Dallas.

The top-ranking LABS authors each year are invited to publish their work in Leonardo Journal and Leonard Education and Art Forum. The database can be viewed at leonardolabs.pomona.edu. Inquiries should be made to Sheila Pinkel.