Research of the Institute of Virtual Environments and Computer Games are based on the following three areas:
- Technology and Design focuses on how to create virtual environments and games — the tools used, the best practices followed, and the spark of creativity that breathes life into a game or an environment. Creation requires such computer science disciplines as computer graphics, networking and artificial intelligence, along with mechanical engineering, digital art (e.g., modeling and animation), music, sound design and writing.
- Society and Culture is the area in which scholars analyze the interaction between the world of the virtual and the world of the physical — people, societies, organizations and cultures. New cultures are arising within and among virtual environments and game arenas. Games and virtual environments are transforming the world in ways that we are only beginning to understand; therefore, law, humanities and social sciences are invaluable components of the Institute’s research. Essential components of analysis include historical perspectives on game and virtual environments, interpretation of spaces and artifacts in terms of law and policy, and cultural and aesthetic evaluation.
- Applications and Education includes the many ways to use virtual environments and computer games in health, education, training and entertainment. Harnessing the full power of digital technology to improve lives requires innovation and domain experts who, in the words of computer science pioneer Alan Kay, have the vision to predict the future by inventing it. Some research by Institute faculty members is inspired by the challenges that arise from designing, implementing, and deploying games and virtual environments for non-traditional gaming domains.