The Games Institute (GI) encompasses 9000sq ft, numerous enclosed labs, 50 student cubicles, 4 shared faculty offices, 2 administrative offices, an enclosed presentation space (30-person capacity), a large open-concept collaboration/event area (80-person capacity) as well as state-of-the-art, CFI-funded research infrastructure. The breadth of space sets us apart from other labs on campus as all these spaces mentioned above are modular and reconfigurable. For instance, our VR Storytelling Lab doubles as a podcast studio, and the Presentation Room has a track-system installed for motion capture. Most of the GI space is open concept, with a heavy emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration, indigenization, and Green Office initiatives which encourages open conversation, sharing of knowledge, and welcoming divergent perspectives. The GI space is also certified for smudging ceremonies.
Facilities and Equipment
A key part of the GI’s facility are co-located research labs. GI researchers benefit from ongoing collaboration, exchange of knowledge and ideas as they take advantage of the co-located labs, and other research infrastructure. Access to all labs is centrally managed by GI Administrative Staff and is fully open to the entire membership of the Institute. A full list of the labs and their capabilities can be found below.
Our equipment is funded in large part through the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI), which allows us to purchase state of the art equipment including:
- 3D printer facilities
- VR and AR headsets with eye tracking
- Biometric equipment and bio sensors
- Motion capture systems
- Multiple generations of game consoles from Play Station, Xbox, Nintendo, and the latest Steam Deck
- Multiple interactive touch screens and displays
- Multiple Microsoft Kinects
- High-powered gaming computers
- DSLR, GoPro, and 360 cameras
- High quality audio and video equipment
- Laser cuter
GI Work Spaces
The Collaboration Space
The Collaboration Space can hold up to 80 people and be re-configured into many different set-ups to fit the needs of the membership including events, meetings, symposiums, etc. This open-concept space is also designed with a heavy emphasis on indigenization which encourages open conversation, collaboration, sharing of knowledge, and welcoming divergent perspectives. The GI welcomes Indigenous smudging ceremonies and offers a green space with many plants to take advantage of the benefits of a biophilic design. In addition, the GI also offiers many different types of tabletop and electronic games including some created by GI members for study and play.
The GI members enjoy both open-concept and enclosed workspaces to conduct their research, explore team collaborations, and expand their exposure to interdisciplinary research methodologies.
The GI members have access to a communal kitchen, gender neutral washrooms, and formal meeting spaces. They also benefit from highly sophisticated interactive technologies provided by Dr. Neil Randall’s StoryBoard Lab.
GI Research Labs
The Immersion Room has 5 workstations with high end TVs, monitors, VR equipment and a biometric sensor system. It is sound-proof, has white walls, a track system, and no windows. These features make the space ideal for running participant studies where researchers need to limit environmental stimuli. This lab was funded by Dr. Neil Randall’s CFI grant.
Virtual Reality (VR) Storytelling Lab
The VR Storytelling Lab has multiple purposes, all enabling GI members to develop and study VR experiences with rich narratives. The computers in the lab allow researchers to take advantage of sophisticated development software. It features a full suite of professional-grade audio and video recording equipment that we take advantage of to record the GI Podcast. This lab was funded by Drs. Neil Randall and Ashley Mehlenbacher’s CFI grant.
The Presentation Room can hold up to 30 people and can be used for groups meetings, lab discussions, partner meetings, and workshops. It also serves as a living lab that houses multiple interactive touch screens, and a track system to enable motion-capture and VR simulations. This room features equipment funded by Drs. Jim Wallace and Neil Randall respective CFI grants.
Living Room Lab
The Living Room Lab was designed as the antithesis of the Immersion Room. It is bright, with windows, green walls, and a colourful comfy seating facing a 4K TV and gaming consoles to emulate a family room. This room also features retro-gaming consoles and a CRT TV for those who study the history of electronic gaming. Researchers choose to operate their studies out of this space if they want to make participants feel comfortable or replicate a social setting. Humanities researchers use this space to critically consider games—an important aspect of humanities' methodologies in which the game acts as a "text" and researchers must play the game to analyse it. This lab was funded by Dr. Neil Randall’s CFI grant.
Haptic Experience Lab (HX Lab MakerSpace)
The infrastructure of the Haptic Experience Lab provides haptic researchers at the GI and the Canada Haptics Network with technology to develop multisensory touch experiences. The lab is open to all GI members who wish to build, prototype, tinker, or learn how to research through the act of making hardware. This lab was funded by Dr. Oliver Schneider’s CFI grant.
The StoryBoard Lab
The StoryBoard Lab is designed to answer one major question: how do we tell complex, compelling stories on large, interactive touch screens? Drawing on knowledge from the humanities, the social sciences, computer science, engineering, and the health sciences, the StoryBoard Lab emphasizes hybrid collaboration between virtual and in-person interactions. This lab is not in a central location but, rather, distributed across the entire GI space. This lab was funded by Dr. Neil Randall’s CFI grant.