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UCSIM Welcomes INTERAlliance IT Careers Camp 2014!

For the ninth year, the INTERalliance is running its renowned “IT Careers Camp” program at UC, hosted by the IS Department of the College of Business, NKU College of Informatics, and Miami University, Oxford School of Engineering and Applied Science. Twenty students per week live in the dormitories and compete on four teams of five students, with each team sponsored and branded by a company (e.g., “Team P&G” versus “Team Cintas” versus “Team Kroger”, etc.).

The students go to a different sponsor site each morning and compete in problem-solving “Olympics”, with the events built around real-world business challenges encountered by the host sponsor company. The students have lunch with the IT management team at the company and discuss career opportunities in IT and applied technology at that firm, and then return to the host university to work on their capstone project – their entry in the “Technology Optimized Business Enterprise” or “TOBE” competition.

In this weeklong design contest, the teams attempt to conceive a business plan for a new business – a social enterprise – that can leverage IT and technology to create substantial employment and career opportunities for people with disabilities. On Saturday each week, the teams present their designs to a panel of judges from the local agency supporting disabled clients and the sponsors.

UCSIM is excited to participate in the event and welcomes the INTERAlliance camp students to the exciting field of immersive technology!

UCSIM Fun Facts

1.  Gaming is a $70 Billion dollar industry, surpassing the movie industry for the first time in 2013!

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2.  According to InvestorPlace.com, investors think several industries could be revolutionized by virtual reality technology!

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3.  Careers in architecture, engineering, urban planning, entertainment, game design, and many others require 3D modeling skills!

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4.  Game and entertainment design is a rapidly growing field, and most game engines now offer free student licenses!

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UCSIM Challenge Question

New interface devices like Google Glass, Oculus Rift, Leap Motion, and the Microsoft Kinect hint at a future in which virtual and augmented reality are not only more common, but allow us to interact with information and technology in more natural ways.  Instead of using a computer keyboard and mouse, or swipe screens, we’ll interact with augmented and virtual reality using our bodies, hands, voices, and other senses.

Your challenge:  How can the University of Cincinnati leverage this technology to improve the student learning experience?  Select one of the four technologies demoed today and explain how you would integrate that technology in the classroom to improve learning outcomes!

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Now Hiring Student Programmers & Graphic Artists/3D Modelers

The Center for Simulations & Virtual Environments Research (UCSIM) is now hiring student worker positions!

If you or someone you know may be interested in working at UCSIM, please send them a link to this post. We are hiring both graphic artists/3D modelers and programmers to join our team creating state-of-the-art virtual learning environments, educational simulations, and serious games.

See the job descriptions below for more information and email us at ucsim@uc.edu if interested.

Programmer

Job Description:  The UCIT Center for Simulations & Virtual Environments Research seeks talented programmer with previous game or simulation programming experience for exciting student worker position developing virtual learning environments, educational simulations, and serious games.  This position offers a wide variety of opportunities to apply your creativity and skills, including designing and writing code for game-play and simulation systems using the Unity3D game engine and Opensimulator platforms; designing, testing and refining interaction and UI elements; performing QA to debug, document, and deliver top quality work; and working with a team of artists and developers to create the best virtual experience possible within time and budget constraints.  Preference will be given to applicants in computer science, IT, game design, or related fields of study, or who have programming experience with the Unity3D game engine or similar game engines.  The ideal applicant has a great sense of humor and attitude, a strong work ethic, enjoys working independently or in a team environment depending upon the project, and is passionate about gaming, virtual environments, and the emerging metaverse.  Position provides flexible scheduling around your classes and academic requirements.

Minimum Qualifications  

  • Must be enrolled at least part-time (6 credit hours for undergraduate students and 5 credit hours for graduate students), with the exception of summer term, or will be a registered student during the next academic semester for summer work.
  • Must be age 18 or older.
  • Must be available to work throughout the summer term.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Programming experience in JavaScript, C#, .NET, C++ or related languages.
  • Web development experience, which should include some combination of experience with PHP, IIS, Apache, Python, MySQL, CSS, HTML, RSS, XHTML, or XML.
  • Applicants must have excellent problem solving skills, good code hygiene, and should be able to coordinate well with other programmers on the team.
  • Must have a high comfort with using discussion boards, blogs, wikis, Twitter, and other social media technologies.

Ideal Qualifications

  • Experience with the Unity3D game engine preferred, other game engine experience or development in OpenSimulator a plus.
  • Advanced programming skills, or knowledge of mobile development platforms such as Android and iOS a plus.
  • Experience in the areas of tools development, physics, shaders, and audio programming a plus.
  • Knowledge or previous experience with 3D content pipelines (Maya/Max/Photoshop into game engine) a plus.

Pay Rate

$10+ depending upon experience

Graphic Artist/3D Modeler

Unity_Beast_ProJob Description:  This position offers a wide variety of opportunities to apply your creativity and skills, including designing, storyboarding, and inspiring the visual elements of our simulations and games; developing hard surface and organic models, sets, and props; creating 2D textures and skins for 3D models; rigging and animating characters and NPCs; applying lightmapping and shading elements to scenes and sets; and working with a team of artists, programmers, and developers to create the best virtual experience possible within time and budget constraints.  Preference will be given to applicants in graphic communication design, electronic art, electronic design media, or related fields of study, or who have experience with the Unity3D game engine, Second Life, or OpenSimulator platforms. The ideal applicant has a great sense of humor and attitude, a strong work ethic, enjoys working independently or in a team environment depending upon the project, and is passionate about gaming, virtual environments, and the emerging metaverse.  Position provides flexible scheduling around your classes and academic requirements.

Minimum Qualifications  

  • Must be enrolled at least part-time (6 credit hours for undergraduate students and 5 credit hours for graduate students), with the exception of summer quarter, or will be a registered student during the next academic term for summer work.
  • Must be age 18 or older.
  • Must be available to work throughout the summer term.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Experience with Maya, Blender, or 3Ds Max.
  • Graphic design experience using Photoshop or GIMP.
  • Applicants must be able to coordinate well with other artists and developers on the team.
  • Must have a high comfort with using discussion boards, blogs, wikis, Twitter, and other social media technologies.

Ideal Qualifications  

  • Experience with the Unity3D game engine preferred, other game engine experience or development in Opensimulator a plus.
  • Knowledge or previous experience with 3D content pipelines (Maya/Max/Photoshop into game engine) a plus.
  • Experience with sculpting in Zbrush or Mudbox.
  • Ability to rig and animate models.
  • Advanced 2D, graphic design and/or 3D modeling skills; drawing, sculpting, and other traditional art skills a plus.
  • Knowledgeable in other Adobe programs (Illustrator, Flash, etc).
  • Some programming and HTML experience a plus.

Pay Rate

$10+ depending upon experience

For more information, contact us at ucsim@uc.edu!

3D Printing at DAAP’s Rapid Prototyping Center

While UCSIM focuses on developing virtual environments for education, from time to time we like to explore related technologies to discover potential benefits for future projects.  Recently, several UCSIM student staff have explored DAAP’s Rapid Prototyping Center (RPC) to learn more about converting 3D models into physical objects.

RPC uses 3D printers, CNC machining, Laser Cutting, and VACU Press machines allowing students many options to turn their projects into reality. Also, RPC is capable of two types of 3D printing: powder and plastic. Plastic is much more durable but very expensive. Powder is cheaper and usually less complicated when it comes to printing. Furthermore, a few months ago RPC acquired new machines that will print powder in color as well. The colors print dull and desaturated but they serve as a great base layer for painting. Printing color also costs the same as printing standard white.

We started the process by getting in touch with Aaron Rucker, a specialist in RPC. He walked us through the various technical issues to be aware of when modelling a project that you intend to print using a 3D printer. We use Maya for many of our projects at UCSIM, but our existing models may not be optimized for 3D printing. For example, to make modelling easier, Maya uses quads so a face can have four edges. The picture of the cube below shows what quads look like.

However the printing software doesn’t support this feature and might create problems when printing. The best way to avoid this is to run a cleanup operation. You can do this in Maya by going to the Polygons module, then Mesh>Cleanup. Scroll down to Fix by Tessellation and check 4-sided faces and Faces with more than 4 sides. This will keep the shape of the model but add edges so every face becomes the simplest shape there is, a triangle. This allows the printing software to read your model without any problems.

As a test object, we made a model of a scarecrow loosely inspired by the aesthetic of Backwater Gospel, then sent it to be printed overnight. This is when we found some problems with our model. The head and body were solid objects and the thin legs couldn’t support the weight so one leg broke off. Some drifting occurred with the fingers and left hand because they were so small, so the air blower simply blew them away. Since we didn’t have time to make changes in the model and schedule another print, we took what we had and glued it back together using epoxy and copper wires for support. The left image shows the computer model and the right shows the printed model.

While we still aren’t sure how we might incorporate 3D printing into future UCSIM projects, it was definitely worth learning new techniques and developing a better understanding of the whole process of 3D printing.

UC students and staff who are interested in using RPC for 3D printing should contact Aaron Rucker for more information. He knows all the ins and outs of printing models and can tell you what changes to make in your model before printing.  And many thanks to Aaron for all of the great information about RPC!

Student Worker Positions Available

The Center for Simulations & Virtual Environments Reseach (UCSIM) is now hiring student worker positions! If you or someone you know may be interested in working at UCSIM, please send them a link to this post. We are hiring both graphic designers and programmers. See the job descriptions below for more information.

Graphic Designer

Position Description: UCit Instructional & Research Computing seeks student with graphic design and 3D modeling experience for exciting position in website, games, and virtual worlds development.

Job Description: Join our team to help design, develop, and grow the university’s interactive, immersive virtual campus. Graphic design and modeling needs include creating 3D models, digital objects and assets, graphic design, texture creation, branding and signage development for projects, architectural modeling of campus architecture, and more. Preference will be given to applicants in graphic design, electronic design media, or related fields of study, or who have experience with the Second Life or OpenSim platforms. The ideal applicant will have a good sense of humor, strong work ethic, enjoy working independently, and be passionate about gaming, virtual worlds, and the emerging metaverse. Position provides flexible scheduling around your classes and academic requirements.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Must be enrolled at the University of Cincinnati at least part-time (6 credit hours for undergraduate students and 5 credit hours for graduate students), with the exception of summer quarter, or will be a registered student during the next academic quarter/semester for summer work.
  • Must be age 18 or older.
  • Must be available to work throughout the summer term of 2012.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Must have a high comfort with using discussion boards, blogs, wikis, Twitter, and other Web 2.0 technologies.
  • Graphic design experience using Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.

Ideal Qualifications:

  • Experience with the Second Life or OpenSim platforms, or other game design experience.
  • Experience with Blender, Poser, Maya, or AutoCAD.
  • Experience with WordPress blogging software.
  • Advanced graphic design and/or 3D modeling skills.
  • The ideal applicant will have a good sense of humor, strong work ethic, enjoy working independently, and be passionate about gaming, virtual worlds, and the emerging metaverse.
  • Pay Rate: $10+ depending upon experience

To apply for the position:

– Visit http://www.jobsatuc.com
– Click “Search Postings” on the left
– Search for the Position Number: 2110827-ses

The website should have further instructions for completing the application process and applicants should have a resume and cover letter prepared to submit with their application.

Programmer

Position Description: UCit Instructional & Research Computing seeks talented student with programming experience for exciting position in website, games, and virtual worlds development.

Job Description: Join our team to help design, develop, and grow the university’s interactive, immersive virtual campus. Programming needs include scripting virtual objects and assets for interactivity, developing modules to communicate between the web and the virtual world, designing and programming games and learning modules to support learning activities, and more. Preference will be given to applicants in computer science, IT, or related fields of study, or who have programming experience with the Second Life or OpenSim platforms. The ideal applicant will have a good sense of humor, strong work ethic, enjoy working independently, and be passionate about gaming, virtual worlds, and the emerging metaverse. Position provides flexible scheduling around your classes and academic requirements.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Must be enrolled at the University of Cincinnati at least part-time (6 credit hours for undergraduate students and 5 credit hours for graduate students), with the exception of summer quarter, or will be a registered student during the next academic quarter/semester for summer work.
  • Must be age 18 or older.
  • Must be available to work throughout the summer term of 2012.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Must have a high comfort with using discussion boards, blogs, wikis, Twitter, and other Web 2.0 technologies.
  • Programming experience, preferably with C, C++, or C#.
  • Web development experience, which should include some combination of PHP, Apache, Python, MySQL, CSS, HTML, RSS, XHTML, or XML.

Ideal Qualifications:

  • Experience with the Second Life or OpenSim platforms, or other game design experience.
  • Experience with WordPress blogging software.
  • Advanced programming skills.
  • The ideal applicant will have a good sense of humor, strong work ethic, enjoy working independently, and be passionate about gaming, virtual worlds, and the emerging metaverse.
  • Pay Rate: $10+ depending upon experience

To apply for the position:

– Visit http://www.jobsatuc.com
– Click “Search Postings” on the left
– Search for the Position Number: 2100311-ses

The website should have further instructions for completing the application process and applicants should have a resume and cover letter prepared to submit with their application.