The IU School of Informatics and Computing announces plans for IUPUI’s first gaming arcade for undergraduate student research and experiential learning. Referred to as the Media Arts Research and Learning Arcade (MARLA), the facility will provide a creative learning community for students interested in 2D and 3D game design, animation and game strategies. It is expected to open later this year on the fourth floor of the School of Informatics and Computing in the Informatics and Communication Technology Complex.
MARLA gives students access to a professional-level game studio, library and gallery equipped with the latest in gaming technology. Under the mentorship of faculty and industry pros, students will have the ability to design, build and test their own games among peers. Students will also work alongside faculty engaged in ongoing research, including the development of “serious games” for education, health care and energy conservation.
The MARLA game library will include classic books and gaming consoles, as well as a gaming archive. Everything from an Atari, to a Nintendo 8-bit system, to a modern X-box 360 will be available to play and test any game. Text collections on programming, animation, lighting, texturing, rendering, camera movements and other gaming-related subjects will be available for student research and study.
A game gallery within MARLA will serve as a space where students and faculty can display newly-developed games and animations, as well as concept and narrative game visualizations. MARLA could potentially serve as an incubator where entrepreneurial students can grow and spin off their own gaming and animation businesses.
Dr. Anthony Faiola, Executive Associate Dean of the School of Informatics and Computing, created MARLA as a unique means of building community while also strengthening the school’s commitment to gaming and IUPUI’s RISE initiative. Faiola worked with faculty from the school’s Media Arts and Science program to refine plans and pursue funding. The project was recently awarded a Learning Environments Grant from the Center for Teaching and Learning. Faiola hopes to bring MARLA to life for fall 2010.
An animation of the future MARLA space can be found on YouTube at www.youtube.com/iuinformatics.