The Game Innovation Lab is an interdisciplinary research and teaching space where we take games as an innovation challenge for
advancing computer science and engineering as well as design. We
designed the space to be highly reconfigurable, with affordances for
creativity and collaborative work, such as white-board walls and
scribble-able coffee tables, as well as a more playful “living room”
area for meeting and brainstorming. The lab is equipped with state-of-the-art game hardware and software that researchers and students
can use to prototype projects.
What is a unique feature of your lab?
Our lab has a unique public presence in the university, because of
its wall of large windows looking out into the urban plaza that NYU-Poly calls home. We have a large, 4x6 monitor display wall that faces
out onto the plaza that we use to run public games and other installations. We recently hosted part of the World Science Festival both
inside and outside the lab—the space design makes this mixing of
exterior and interior possible, allowing us to try out ideas for engaging
How many people are in the lab, and what is the mix of
backgrounds and roles?
We typically have 10 to 15 graduate researchers with access to the
lab, working on active projects, led by four participating faculty sponsors. Three of these faculty members are from the computer science
department, and one is from electrical engineering. The students
come from these departments as well as digital media at Poly, and
we also have students involved in the research from other schools of
NYU, including the Tisch School of the Arts, the Gallatin School, and
the Steinhardt School. Plus, we have an artist in residence.
The lab hosts two to three courses each term—a mix of CS courses,
such as mobile app development and HCI, and games-related digital
media courses, such as game development. These are primarily graduate courses, but we do get a handful of undergrads in the lab, too.
Briefly describe a day in the life of your lab.
Our lab manager and IT person arrive around 9: 30 am, and might find
a grad student asleep in the user research lab after a long night of
coding. Grad students come and go throughout the day and evening,
meeting and working together and in parallel at their desks and in
the living room. We often have play tests and user research going
on in our soundproof user research lab (which is equipped to record
and mix video and audio from a large display, as well as from three
September + October 2012