We’re still under construction, of course–still eight months to go before opening day.
This semester a combined group from the College of Design and the Department of Computer Science was turned loose to work with a digital palette the size of which they could only have dreamed of in the past, a prototype of the 21-foot-wide, high-definition video wall that will be the centerpiece of the Hunt Library’s Gaming Lab.
One group of students scoped, planned, and delivered a video game based on the essence of the Hunt Library experience. NOL, a collaborative pursuit game, is designed to use real-time data delivered from the NCSU Libraries’ databases to allow a group of players to work together to guard the Vault of Knowledge, the mystical storage site in which the collected wisdom and secrets gained from the innate human capacity for curiosity and thirst for understanding are under attack.
Another group of budding designers approached the Hunt Library as an unprecedented library space—one where the robotic bookBot book delivery system minimizes the need for book shelves, where large video walls and other technologies dominate space in a way that patrons have never experienced before, and where digital, virtual, and physical environments merge in unique ways. Using the newest strategies in graphic and interaction design and working with complex systems of information, the students developed strategies for how to orient users to the new environment.
The result, according to Professor Scott Townsend from the College of Design: “The experience provided a huge competitive advantage for my students. Anyone can future-cast and blue-sky scenarios for new hypothetical technologies and spaces. But these NC State students now actually have real-life experience in developing for demanding and complex real-life opportunities. It will be a huge proof point of excellence on a resume.”
Walking into the Hunt Library for the first time, early in the class, senior design student Mandi Gelselman put it quite simply: “I feel like I’ve been handed the keys to the spaceship.”
The Research Triangle Park is currently the East Coast hub of the video games industry in the United States, supporting 1300 highly paid jobs in the area, many of them filled by NC State graduates.