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Tuesday, April 4, 2006
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OUWB and GRID Lab bring campus innovators together for training on serious game development tool

ATHENS, Ohio (April 4, 2006) -- Ohio University Without Boundaries has taken the leap into "serious" game development. OUWB partnered with Ohio University's Game Research and Immersive Design (GRID) Lab to offer training sessions on an innovative tool that helps campus users develop serious games - those that are created for training or educational purposes. The two training sessions took place March 16 and 17, attracting innovators from all reaches of the Ohio University campus.

The training taught organizations and individuals how to use Mission Builder, a tool that lets game developers create conversational learning simulations. These conversations are used in games for a variety of teaching purposes, such as business negotiation or customer service.

According to OUWB design coordinator Christopher Keesey, "the training session did a great job of giving us a greater knowledge of the tools and theory behind Cyberlore's conversation methodology and how to create non-linear conversations between characters in games."

The training sessions attracted many people including Eric Marcoullier and Ian Schreiber of Minerva, formerly know as Cyberlore Studios, the game-development firm that produced Mission Builder. Numerous campus organizations joined the sessions with OUWB and the GRID Lab. Those organizations included the school of Visual Communication, Instructional Technologies, Library Services and Computer Services. Individual students with interests in gaming technology were also in attendance.

Marcoullier said he hoped the training would "inspire a handful of people and get them working on actual projects." These projects could be for their own personal portfolios, coursework or even something created for Ohio University through OUWB or the GRID Lab, he said.

This developing partnership between OUWB, the GRID Lab and Minerva materialized out of a chance meeting between OUWB representatives and Marcoullier while both were at the GRIB Lab. It will produce many benefits, not just for the organizations and individuals involved, but also for the university. While OUWB designs, develops and delivers learning experiences for professionals and adult learners, the GRID Lab provides Appalachia Ohio with resources and tools to create interactive digital media and technologies.

"Along with learning the tool, we have also brought innovative units and individuals together from all over campus," Keesey said. "We are seeing a culture of complete proficiency in all ends of game development grow on the Ohio University campus and this was yet another important part of that."

Given the growing popularity of serious game use in the educational and corporate worlds, this awareness and cooperation between different groups on campus will continue to catapult Ohio University to the forefront of serious game development in higher education.

To learn more about OUWB, visit www.ouwb.ohiou.edu/. For more on Minerva, visit www.cyberlore.com/.  

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Media Contact: Media Specialist George Mauzy, (740) 597-1794 or mauzy@ohio.edu

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