The Games Institute Featured at the Waterloo Innovation Summit

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A partnership between the University of Waterloo and Communitech, the Waterloo Innovation Summit is taking place from September 16th - 18th. The Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre (QNC) on the UW campus hosted a variety of sessions on Thursday, September 17th. 

The Waterloo Region is recognized as a thriving entrepreneurial community and one of the fastest growing startup ecosystems in the world. Top businesses, academics, and policy decision-makers are joining together at the Waterloo Innovation Summit for Keynotes, Fireside Chats, and Panel Sessions.

WIS 2015Summit attendee Paul Graham of Y Combinator, an American seed fund that invests money in a large number of start ups each year, says the applications they receive from Waterloo students "are better than those we get from students of any other university". The Games Institute is proud to recognize many of these bright students as GI members. As part of the summit's Interactive Playground, GI members will be showcasing their developments to show what happens when artists, scientists, developers, and entrepreneurs come together in harmony.

Quantum Cats, a touch-screen action game, teaches the player basic concepts in quantum mechanics. With James Wallace and Neil Randall as principle investigator and supervisor, this game engaged players at the QNC Open House on campus. Conceptualization and design was aided by GI member Victor Cheung, artwork contributed by Keith McLean, and programming completed by Mike Brown and Jagger Nast.

Mike, Jagger, and Keith also featured their work during the QNC Open House with the game: Alice and Schrödinger. This Alternate-Reality Game (ARG) was designed by Elise Vist and Lauren Burr, taking players through the QNC building to learn more about the important scientific research conducted in the various labs. The QNC Tour designed by Erica Robinson also allowed visitors to view the type of work that goes on in the IQC labs with an interactive multimedia kiosk.

beam me round scottyFellow GI researcher John Harris has created a multi-faceted play experience designed to bridge difference in player skills, styles, and interests in his game Beam Me Around, Scotty! Pairs of players engage with asymmetric gameplay mechanics and interfaces (ex leading vs support, action vs strategy, gamepad vs mouse interaction) in a cooperative adventure to escape a hostile alien world.

rival booksAdam Bradley, Kent Aardse, Jonathan Rodrigues, and Evan Jones also presented their game, The Rival Books of Aster. This strategy game is set in a completely original fantasy universe and has players work both locally and across the Internet to survive in a virtual world driven by legends and mythologies. It mixes locative matchmaking with traditional CCG mechanics to create "spheres of influence" pitting players against others found within their geographic region, with the results two-player "duel" contributing to the on-going creation of a mythology. It is a mobile collectible card game (CCG) with beautiful art by Lauchie Reed that are not to be missed!

places pleaseFinally, GI member Shawn DeSouza-Coelho showcased his prototype of Places, Please!: Hamlet Edition. This 4-player cooperative, mobile game is designed to simulate the acts of putting a theatrical production at the Stratford Festival of Canada together. With artwork by Kate Phillips and programming by Jonathan Rodrigues and Alvin Lee, its foundations are found in the 2015 production of Hamlet which was presented at the Festival Theatre.

Director of The Games Institute, Neil Randall, has expressed his pride in the accomplishments of all of the GI members who have worked very hard on these projects. For further details on the schedule of events happening on the University of Waterloo campus during the summit, see the event's website

Congratulations to all of our researchers featured during the Waterloo Innovation Summit.