Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Game Design Workshop at Trinity College, Dublin

Dublin, Ireland

Trinity College sealTrinity College, Dublin, is the most prestigious institution of higher learning in Ireland. It was founded by Queen Elizabeth I, back when England ruled the Emerald Isle, and is, for complicated reasons, the only college of the University of Dublin. Dr. Mads Haahr is a Dane who teaches computer science there. We met at GDC 2007, and this year he invited me to come give a game design workshop for his computing and multimedia students. They were a mixed group with a lot of artists among them, which I find always improves the results -- as indeed it did.

Trinity dining hallBefore the workshop itself Mads gave me a brief tour of the campus. Although it's nowhere near as old as Oxford or Cambridge, Trinity manages, with its architecture, to convey a sense of gravity that American institutions can never quite match. Even the most prosaic buildings, such as the student dining hall, are lent a certain dignity by the august personages looking down on the students.

We also had coffee in the Senior Common Room -- a place forbidden to students, and a room that is everything that it should be: lots of dark wood, leather sofas, a massive fireplace, and still more oil paintings of college dignitaries from days gone by. I felt as if I didn't really belong there (I should have been wearing a gown and mortarboard), but it was wonderful to visit. It's upstairs in the smaller building on the right in the image below.

Trinity College exterior view

Mads also showed me around his departmental lab, where they're working on a lot of fascinating stuff -- tiny Linux machines that fit into the handle of a tennis raquet; beds that detect the movement of the person in them (very useful for hospitals); and a variety of other motion-based devices. Great fun.