Computational Media

The Computational Media Department is dedicated to the creation, enhancement, and study of media forms that can only be made using computers. The department emphasizes the construction of technologies that make possible novel media experiences, while simultaneously embracing and engaging in theoretical and practical approaches from the arts, humanities, and social sciences. UC Santa Cruz hosts the Center for Games and Playable Media, the largest games research group in the world, comprised of the Expressive Intelligence Studio, Social and Emotional Technology Lab, Interactive Systems for Individuals with Special Needs Lab, Augmented Design Lab, and the Software Introspection Lab.

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Computational Media in the News

Angus Forbes

11 Faculty Members Join the Baskin School of Engineering in 2017-18

New cohort brings the faculty total to 101, including Computational Media faculty Angus Forbes.

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Scene Sampler

Games And Playable Media Faculty To Discuss Future Trends At IndieCade Festival

SceneSampler, a game from UCSC's Social Emotional Technology Lab, is an official game selection to be demonstrated at the international festival of independent games.

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Sammy Showcase

UC Santa Cruz students to show VR projects and videogames in public showcase

The 'Sammy Showcase' on Saturday, June 3, is hosted by the Games and Playable Media program at the UCSC Silicon Valley Campus.

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GameSpace Offers a Playable Visualization of 16,000 Videogames

UCSC researchers developed the game as a tool to help people find information about videogames.

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Games researcher Katherine Isbister honored by Association for Computing Machinery

Katherine Isbister, professor of computational media at UC Santa Cruz, has been recognized by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) as a distinguished scientist for her contributions to the field of computing.

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UC Santa Cruz now offering graduate degrees in computational media

The University of California has given approval to UC Santa Cruz to begin offering graduate degrees in computational media, the first comprehensive degrees available at a U.S. university in this rapidly growing and deeply interdisciplinary field. The Department of Computational Media in UCSC's Baskin School of Engineering is accepting applications now for the M.S. and Ph.D. programs to begin in fall 2017.

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UCSC students receiving IndieCade award
UC Santa Cruz student games win awards at IndieCade

Two games developed by UC Santa Cruz students won awards at the 2016 IndieCade International Festival of Independent Games, which celebrates the best independent games of the year. The winning games were Bad News, which won the Audience Choice Award, and Threadsteading, which won the Technology Award. "There are only nine awards given out to games, so this is an amazing percentage," said Noah Wardrip-Fruin, professor of computational media at UC Santa Cruz.

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Coffman and Mastroni
UC Santa Cruz Game Design Students Featured at IndieCade 2016

The game design program at UC Santa Cruz will be well represented at the 2016 IndieCade Festival, which celebrates the best independent games of the year. Four games developed by UC Santa Cruz students have been announced as official nominees for IndieCade awards, and UCSC students will also take part in a panel on "Games as Protest" during IndieXchange, a series of workshops and sessions for developers that precedes the festival.

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How Games Move Us

Computational Media professor Katherine Isbister appears on Science Friday to discuss her new book How Games Move Us, as well as her research on playable game innovation. Isbister’s book was written with an audience that is unfamiliar with game-making in mind and aims to explain how game developers use choice and flow to shape players’ emotions as they play games. She argues that the gamer experience is not one of isolation or numbness but that games can create empathy and emotional experiences for its players.

Games and Human Computer Interaction

Professor of Computational Media, Katherine Isbister and her students use games to explore how technology can influence our emotional experiences.

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