wall-mounted cameras, and can stream this live to remote viewers
if needed). On a typical day there might be one class running in the
afternoon or evening. Often our artist in residence is around working
on her games and chatting with students about their projects. The
faculty drift in for student check-ins and group meetings, and there
seems to be at least one impromptu VIP tour a week, as Poly is proud
of the space and likes to show it to visitors. Some days we will have
a public lecture happening in the evening, in which case we quickly
rearrange the classroom area of the lab into a more seminar-style layout. Everything has wheels, so it’s easy to reconfigure.
What is one feature of your lab you could not do without?
Before we created the lab, we did a space-planning workshop with
help from the guys who planned out space at the Stanford dSchool.
Grad students told us they pined for natural light in their everyday
workplace. The windows we designed into the plans have really transformed this space, and we would all be very sad not to have the daylight and the view of the trees in the plaza.
What is one feature of your lab that you want and don’t have?
Students sometimes wish for a laser cutter and other physical
How would you describe how people interact in your lab?
Designing the space to encourage creativity and teamwork seems to
have been a success; the living room in particular is a site of informal
conversation and play that helps drive collaboration across disciplinary and research-group lines. Though people do sit at desks and do
individual, focused work some of the time, they also regularly gather
and trade notes, and are free to plug a laptop into the big screen to
share an idea or host a quick, informal play test. Furniture moves
around regularly—the students feel comfortable editing the space
as needed, which I believe allows them to think more creatively and
flexibly as they build and test ideas.
Bottom photographs by Chang Kim
What is the one thing you see as most important about
what you do here?
Building playful experiences and innovating their technological
underpinnings requires deep expertise and collaboration across many
disciplines, and an environment in which it is easy to experiment and
test out ideas. I believe the Game Innovation Lab has been designed
well to support this way of working.
September + October 2012
DOI: 10.1145/2334184.2334203 © 2012 ACM 1072-5520/12/09 $15.00