Guildhall at SMU

The Guildhall at SMU joins elite Intel university research group

The Guildhall at SMU has received a $50,000 grant from Intel Corporation’s Visual Computing Academic Program for research scholarship funding. SMU students will conduct studies to expand upon applied research pursued within the Intel Science and Technology Centers for Visual Computing (ISTC-VC) and other Intel-supported visual computing academic research.

“We are thrilled to be a part of Intel’s Visual Computing Academic Program and working with the ISTC-VC,” says Peter Raad, founder and executive director of The Guildhall at SMU. “Our Master’s students are creating new worlds through interactive video game development here at SMU. This funding will help us collaborate with Intel and other universities to reach new levels of realism and expand the practical uses for visual computing.”

Intel’s Visual Computing Academic Program was established to accelerate the development of tools and techniques for interactive rendering on highly parallel architectures. The program encourages collaboration between Intel product development teams and elite academic research programs.

“We are excited about the opportunity to work more closely with The Guildhall going forward,” said Intel’s Randi Rost, manager of the Visual Computing Academic Program. “Through this relationship, we will be able to harden, optimize, and polish visual computing research results and incorporate them in game environments. This will provide value to students at the Guildhall, to our visual computing research collaborators, to Intel product development and enabling teams, and ultimately to consumers who use Intel platforms.”

“Having our faculty and students recognized by Intel as key contributors to the future of visual computing is very gratifying.  It will also allow us to collaborate with other great minds at Intel and other universities,” Raad adds.  “We hope to be announcing winners of this year’s research scholarships and their projects soon.”

In this video, James Ohlen, creative director of BioWare Austin, takes a moment at Comic Con 2011 to praise Guildhall alumni involved in the making of the smash hit online game Star Wars: The Old Republic. Click the YouTube screen to view, or click this link to open the James Ohlen video in a new windowvideo

> Visit The Guildhall at SMU online

Calendar Highlights: Dec. 13, 2011

Stock photo of a blue ornamentAs the days dwindle down to a precious few, here are some notable dates for the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012:

  • Dec. 16The Guildhall at SMU Cohort 14 Exhibition and Graduation, SMU-in-Plano. Paul Barnett, senior creative director of BioWare Mythic and the guiding force behind the critically acclaimed MMO game Warhammer Online, will deliver the graduation keynote speech.
  • Dec. 17: Last day of term and official date for conferral of degrees.
  • Dec. 17: All-University December Graduation Ceremony, 10 a.m., Moody Coliseum. Business and civic leader and SMU Trustee Carl Sewell (’66) will give the address. Faculty members may RSVP online for the Faculty Breakfast and processional.
  • Dec. 26, 2011-Jan. 2, 2012: University holidays.
  • Jan. 3-12J Term 2012 at SMU-in-Plano.

Stock photo of a wrapped holiday giftSMUSA plays Santa: The SMU Staff Association continues to collect gifts for United Way partner Children’s Medical Center of Dallas until Dec. 14, 2011. The Staff Association is accepting “ABCs” – action figures and dolls or their accessories; board games or handheld games and puzzles; and cards (as in gift cards, to child-friendly stores). Check the most current list of drop-off locations for the one nearest you.

Fine forgiveness: The Central University Libraries 2011 Food for Fines drive is on through Friday, Dec. 16. Every gift of a can or package of nonperishable food for the North Texas Food Bank equals a $2 credit toward outstanding library fines assessed from November 2011 onward. The waiver applies to materials from Fondren Library CenterHamon Arts Library and the ISEM Reading Room and for all SMU faculty, staff and students. Drop off donations at any listed library.

Book cover of 'Aiming at Maturity: The Goal of the Christian Life' by Stephen W. RankinCelebration station: President and Mrs. R. Gerald Turner host the 2011 All-University Holiday Party 3:30-5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 19, in the Martha Proctor Mack Grand Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center.

Signed and sealed: SMU Chaplain Steve Rankin will sign his new book, Aiming at Maturity: The Goal of the Christian Life, from 2-4 p.m. Dec. 20 at Logos Bookstore, 6620 Snider Plaza. In this work, published by Wipf and Stock, Rev. Dr. Rankin draws from the Scriptures, from popular biblical interpretation, and from his own work as a teacher and minister to make the case for spiritual maturity. For more information, call the Chaplain’s Office at 214-768-4502.



Guildhall students, alumni name 2011’s top 10 video games

Whiterun tundra panorama from 'The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim'

Ten cutting-edge games – ranging from the 3D exploits of Super Mario to the gritty combat of the Call of Duty series to a massive multiplayer experience set in a galaxy far, far away – have made The Guildhall at SMU‘s 2011 list of top video games for the holidays. The list was chosen this year by Guildhall students and alumni specializing in video game art creation, level design and software development.

Portion of a screenshot from 'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3'The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim leads the 2011 list, followed by The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword at number two. Rounding out the top five are Star Wars: The Old RepublicBatman: Arkham City and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

“The holidays are a huge moneymaker for the video game industry, and with so many great games hitting the market in 2011, we wondered which of those would be at the top of the must-have list,” says René Archambault, the Guildhall’s manager of admissions and alumni affairs. This year’s selections “are filled with beautiful art, astounding gameplay and storylines, and robust programming that brings it all to life,” she says.

Bounty hunter from 'Star Wars: The Old Republic'

Of this year’s top 10, Guildhall alumni have worked on three: Elder Scrolls VStar Wars: The Old Republic, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

According to the international accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers, the worldwide gaming market will be worth over $48 billion in 2011, making it “one of the most exciting industries in terms of growth numbers,” Archambault says. “The Guildhall at SMU is ecstatic to be a part of this thriving industry and is proud of the more than 400 alumni that add to its success on a daily basis.”

Following are 2011’s top games as selected by Guildhall students and alumni. Descriptions include the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) rating and the platform or platforms on which the game runs.

1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox Live
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

2. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Platform: Wii
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone age 10 and over)

3. Star Wars: The Old Republic
Platform: Multiplayer online
ESRB Rating: T (Teen – 13 and over)

4. Batman: Arkham City
Platforms: Onlive, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Windows, Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: T (Teen – 13 and over)

5. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Wii, Windows, Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

6. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

7. Battlefield 3
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

8. Super Mario 3D Land
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

9. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
Platform: PlayStation 3
ESRB Rating: T (Teen – 13 and over)

10. Minecraft
Platforms: Android, iOS, Mac OSX, Windows
ESRB Rating: Not rated

(Above, from top: a sweeping tundra panorama from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim; a soldier on a mission in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3; a bounty hunter from the world of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Alumni of The Guildhall at SMU helped create all three games, all three of which have been named to The Guildhall’s 2011 Top 10 list.)

By | 2011-12-08T14:22:26+00:00 December 7, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , , |

Calendar Highlights: Dec. 5, 2011

SMU J Term 2012 logoThe end of 2011 (and beginning of 2012) at a glance:

  • Dec. 5: Last day of instruction
  • Dec. 6: Reading day
  • Dec. 7-14: Examinations (no exams scheduled for Saturday or Sunday)
  • Dec. 16: The Guildhall at SMU Cohort 14 Exhibition and Graduation, SMU-in-Plano
  • Dec. 17: Last day of term and official date for conferral of degrees
  • Dec. 17: December Graduation Ceremony, 10 a.m., Moody Coliseum
  • Dec. 26, 2011-Jan. 2, 2012: University holidays
  • Jan. 3-12: J Term 2012 at SMU-in-Plano – registration deadline extended through Friday, Dec. 9

Food for Fines continues: The Central University Libraries 2011 Food for Fines drive is on through Friday, Dec. 16. Every donation of a can or package of nonperishable food for the North Texas Food Bank equals a $2 credit toward outstanding library fine assessed from November 2011 onward. The waiver applies to materials from Fondren Library Center, Hamon Arts Library and the ISEM Reading Room and for all SMU faculty, staff and students. Drop off food donations at any of the listed libraries.

Celebration station: President and Mrs. R. Gerald Turner host the 2011 All-University Holiday Party 3:30-5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 19, in the Martha Proctor Mack Grand Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center.

In McFarlin Auditorium:

Dallas Metropolitan Ballet presents 'The Night Before Christmas'Dec. 10-11: The Dallas Metropolitan Ballet presents The Night Before Christmas with guest artists Stephen Hanna and Margaret Severin-Hansen at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Tickets are $10-40 – find them online at Ticketmaster.com.

December 2011 brings the festive season at SMU

A scene from SMU's 2010 Celebration of Lights

December 2011 brings a flurry of festivity to the Hilltop, including some of SMU’s most beloved annual traditions. Save the dates for these events:

• On Thursday, Dec. 1, SMU’s Perkins School of Theology celebrates its Advent/Christmas Worship Service in Perkins Chapel with readings and music from Perkins professors, students and alumni at two different times: 4 p.m and 8 p.m. This year’s service will center on Luke 2:10, “And the angel said, ‘Fear not…,'” and will address the nature of fear in our society and how the message of hope offered in the Gospels speaks to our circumstances today. Read more about the 2011 service and see a video from the 2010 service. Video

• The Student Foundation’s 2011 Celebration of Lights begins at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, on the University’s Main Quad. More than 100,000 decorative lights will fill the trees, luminarias will line the sidewalks, musicians will perform songs of the season, and SMU President R. Gerald Turner will follow a decades-old tradition of reading the Christmas story from the New Testament. Hot chocolate, apple cider and cookies will be served starting at 6:30. Watch slideshows of past Celebration of Lights ceremonies courtesy of SMU News. Photos

Faculty and staff members also have the opportunity to sponsor a child’s campus visit for the celebration. The Student Foundation plans to invite 50 students from Dallas’ César Chávez Learning Center to the Hilltop for the holiday fun. Sponsors or sponsor groups will provide a gift and join the children before the ceremony for cookies, games and other activities. Learn more at Facebook or contact Jordan Kragen of the Student Foundation.

The Guildhall at SMU hosts the Cohort 14 Exhibition and Graduation Friday, Dec. 16, at SMU-in-Plano. Graduating students in art creation, level design and programming will show their work.

• Business and civic leader (and SMU Trustee) Carl Sewell ’66  will give the address at the University’s 2011 December Graduation Ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, in Moody Coliseum. Retired and current faculty members will assemble for procession no later than 9:45 a.m. in the Blanton Student Services Building lobby. Prior to the ceremony, a faculty breakfast will begin at 8:45 a.m. in the Blanton Building. RSVP online for the faculty breakfast and processional and learn more about the ceremony.

• President and Mrs. R. Gerald Turner will host their annual All-University Holiday Party 3:30-5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 19, in the Martha Procter Mack Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center.

SMU spring ceremonies honor outstanding achievement

Honors Day Convocation 2010SMU celebrates the approaching end of the 2010-11 academic year with two traditional ceremonies honoring some of its most distinguished faculty, staff and students. The 2011 Honors Day Convocation and Awards Extravaganza take place on the afternoon and evening of April 11.

Peter Raad, founding director of the Linda and Mitch Hart eCenter at SMU and executive director of The Guildhall at SMU, will deliver the address at the 14th annual Honors Day Convocation at 5:30 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium. The ceremony celebrates academic achievement at the University and department levels. Retired and current faculty will assemble in academic dress no later than 5:10 p.m. in the Perkins Administration Building lobby and will process together to McFarlin Auditorium. A reception follows the Convocation in the Dallas Hall Quadrangle.

> Read the list of 2011 Honors Convocation award recipients

Participating faculty members may RSVP online. Faculty members with questions regarding the faculty procession can send an e-mail to ceremonies@smu.edu or call 214-768-3417.

Later, the University presents several awards for excellence – including its highest honor, the “M” Award – during the 2011 Awards Extravaganza at 7:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballrooms. Awards Extravaganza honorees will be listed in SMU Forum the day after the ceremony.

Photo from Honors Day Convocation 2010 by Hillsman S. Jackson

> Find more information on Honors Day Convocation at the Registrar’s website
> Learn more about the Awards Extravaganza from SMU Student Life

SMU students win big in 2011 Indie Game Challenge

'Inertia' screencapEight graduate students from The Guildhall at SMU have been named as big winners of the second annual Indie Game Challenge (IGC). Their 2D arcade-style game, Inertia (pictured right), won the top prize in the Non-Professional category, as well as the Gamer’s Choice Award selected through online voting.

Founded by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, GameStop Corp. and The Guildhall at SMU, the IGC was created to foster innovation in gaming by independent developers. The top teams for 2011 were named on the closing night of the annual D.I.C.E.™ (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) Summit at the Red Rock Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

The SMU squad, who call themselves “Team Hermes,” graduated in December 2010 from the Guildhall’s nationally recognized graduate-level video game development program. They are the first SMU students to make the finals in the international competition and won $130,000 in cash and prizes for their efforts.

A total of 90 individuals selected by the AIAS served as judges for the competition – all professional game designers with groundbreaking titles on their résumés.

John Bevis of the Guildhall at SMU
John Bevis
Waylon Fong of the Guildhall at SMU
Wayland Fong
Michelle Hayden of the Guildhall at SMU
Michelle Hayden
Evan Skarin of the Guildhall at SMU
Evan Skarin
William Swannack of the Guildhall at SMU
William Swannack
Brandon Stephens of the Guildhall at SMU
Brandon Stephens
Christopher McCrimmons of the Guildhall at SMU
Christopher McCrimmons
Erasmo Simo of the Guildhall at SMU
Erasmo Simo

The team members include:

  • Evan Skarin – Team Lead, Level Design, and Art
  • John Bevis – Level Design and Music
  • Wayland Fong – Level Design and Programming
  • Michelle Hayden – Art Lead
  • William Swannack – Programming Lead
  • Brandon Stephens – Executive Producer and Level Designer
  • Christopher McCrimmons – Producer and Level Designer
  • Erasmo Simo – Level Design and Programming

“We’re so excited for Team Hermes,” said Peter Raad, The Guildhall at SMU founder and executive director. “Our graduate program is extremely challenging and our students are very busy on class projects. When we decided to become one of the founding members of the Indie Game Challenge, we realized that our own Master’s degree candidates would have very little chance to create a winning entry.

“The total production time for Inertia was 12 weeks while some of the other professional and non-professional finalists worked on their entries for two years or more,” Raad explained. “This winning game is a tremendous accomplishment that our students essentially did in a six-week class project and then six weeks on their own during a break in the summer. We could not be prouder of them.”

Inertia features an innovative mechanic that allows players to suspend gravity and use inertia to bounce off walls, float through space, and move through the game’s environment – a decaying space station on the brink of collapse. The game has been published on Xbox Live Arcade and is available in a full version and as a free demo.

“Since Inertia was developed at SMU, without a doubt the hardest part about making it was finding the time to balance between working on the game as a team and individual assignments from other classes,” said team leader Evan Skarin in an interview for the IGC website. “Our artist and programmer were also required to split time with other projects, so the level designers had to fulfill multiple roles in order to get the job done.”

The winners and awards include:

  • Professional $100,000 Grand Prize and $15,000 EEDAR DesignMetrics™ Winner: LIMBO
  • Non-professional $100,000 Grand Prize and $15,000 EEDAR DesignMetrics™ Winner: Inertia

Category winners include:

  • Kongregate Award for best browser-based game: Symon
  • Technical Achievement ($2,500): Inertia
  • Achievement in Art Direction ($2,500): LIMBO
  • Achievement in Gameplay ($2,500): Inertia
  • Gamer’s Choice Award, selected through online voting ($10,000): Inertia
  • Electronic Entertainment and Research DesignMetrics™ title research assessments to Inertia and LIMBO worth $30,000 for both groups combined

SMU’s role in the contest is limited to preparing the games for judging. The University has no part in the official judging of the contest. Teams are identified by team names only.

The recipient of the $50,000 Indie Game Challenge SMU scholarship will be announced later this year. SMU students are not eligible for this award.

The 2012 Indie Game Challenge will be open for entries May 1-Oct. 3, 2011. For more information on the competition and to learn more about each of the winners, visit indiegamechallenge.com.

Faculty in the News: Feb. 15, 2011

Peter Raad, founder and executive director, The Guildhall at SMU, talked with Krys Boyd of KERA Public Radio’s “Think” about whether video games have the potential to teach students social skills and the ability to cope with real-life challenges. The program was broadcast Jan. 31, 2011. Read more or listen to the Peter Raad interview. audio

Michael Lysko, Sports Management, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, talked about Dallas’ chances of hosting another Super Bowl with The Wall Street Journal Feb. 8, 2011.

Seyom Brown, Tower Center for Political Studies, Dedman College, talked about the politics of the evolving situation in Egypt with USA Today Feb. 2, 2011.

Guildhall student team among 12 finalists in the 2011 Indie Game Challenge

A team from The Guildhall at SMU is among 12 finalists in the 2011 Indie Game Challenge (IGC), making them eligible for awards and prizes worth more than $130,000.

The winners will be announced Feb. 11 at the Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain (D.I.C.E.) Summit at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas. SMU’s eight-member squad – known collectively as “Team Hermes” – includes:

  • Evan Skarin – Team Lead, Level Design, and Art
  • John Bevis – Level Design and Music
  • Waylon Fong – Level Design and Programming
  • Michelle Hayden – Art Lead
  • William Swannack – Programming Lead
  • Brandon Stephens – Executive Producer and Level Designer
  • Christopher McCrimmons – Producer and Level Designer
  • Erasmo Simo – Level Design and Programming

The team members graduated from the Guildhall in December 2010.

Team Hermes’ entry, Inertia, is available for trial and purchase on Xbox Live Arcade. The arcade-style game allows users to suspend gravity and fly through space as an astronaut trying to escape a space station on the verge of collapse. It was named Best of the Indies 2010.

IGC is an annual competition for video game developers offering more than $350,000 in prizes for professional and non-professional categories. Prizes include cash awards, scholarships, national consumer exposure for the top games and an opportunity for the finalists to obtain professional feedback and seek commercial avenues for their games through face-to-face meetings with representatives from the leading video game publishers.

Founded by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, GameStop Corp. and The Guildhall at SMU, the IGC was created to foster game development innovation by independent developers.

> Read more from SMU News

Calendar Highlights: Dec. 6, 2010

The end of 2010 (and beginning of 2011) at a glance:

Dec. 6: Last day of instruction
Dec. 7: Reading day
Dec. 8-15: Examinations (no exams scheduled for Saturday or Sunday)
Dec. 17: Guildhall Fall 2010 Exhibition, SMU-in-Plano
Dec. 18: Last day of term and official date for conferral of degrees
Dec. 18: December Graduation Ceremony, 10 a.m., Moody Coliseum
Dec. 24-31: University holidays
Jan. 4-13: J Term 2011 at SMU-in-Plano

Dallas Metropolitan BalletA fine time to give: SMU’s Central University Libraries continue the 2010 Food for Fines drive through Dec. 17. Every donation of a can or package of nonperishable food for the North Texas Food Bank equals a $2 credit toward outstanding library fines for SMU faculty, staff and students. The waiver applies to materials from Fondren Library Center, Hamon Arts Library and the ISEM Reading Room – drop off food donations at any of these libraries.

Everyone celebrate: SMU President R. Gerald Turner hosts the 2010 All-University Holiday Party at 3:30-5 p.m. Dec. 16 in the Martha Proctor Mack Grand Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center.

In McFarlin Auditorium:

Dec. 11-12: The Dallas Metropolitan Ballet (right) presents The Night Before Christmas at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Find tickets online at the Ticketmaster website.

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