Over the past couple of months, Northeastern ITS has been hard at work supporting recent gaming ventures on campus!

ITS was a proud collaborator on the ESports Lab for the Northeastern University ESports Club Team. Nick Avery, Associate Director of Club Sports and ESports, partnered with ITS to expand the competitive gaming initiative at Northeastern. Located on the first floor of the Squashbusters facility, the space features 12 state-of-the-art computer workstations complete with 1080p Alienware monitors, backlit mechanical keyboards, and racer-style chairs optimized for gaming. Along with the equipment, ITS provided the infrastructure and security for the lab, ensuring that computers were connected to the network and the lab is securely maintained.

“ITS brought unbelievable perspective and expertise, whether it was on the hardware or software side of getting this lab up and running in a matter of months.” 

-Nick Avery, Associate Director of Club Sports and ESports

The ESports club team competes in games such as Rocket League, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, and Fortnite. ESports is a rising club sport on campus, and ITS wanted to empower students with the equipment and facilities they need to prepare for matches against other universities. Avery notes, “ITS brought unbelievable perspective and expertise, whether it was on the hardware or software side of getting this lab up and running in a matter of months.”

This is just the start of ITS’ collaboration with Campus Recreation, as we envision future expansion into the ESports atmosphere, both here at Northeastern and on a global scale.

Another gaming initiative on campus was last month’s Global Game Jam hosted by students in the College of Arts, Media and Design and CAMD New Technology Manager Jason Duhaime. From January 25–27, student game developers and gamers alike set out to design and program video games at various hosting sites around the world. A secret theme is revealed on Friday night, and teams must create a game centered around the theme—in just 48 hours.

Group of students with computer screens in the background
The team of students who built the VR game, My First Spaceship, during the Global Game Jam.

Northeastern ITS’ AR/VR/360° Pop-up Lab was just one of the locations within Snell Library where the Northeastern jam participants designed games for PC, Mac, web, and virtual reality. Fifth-year CAMD student Sam De Lara was lead artist and lead designer in My First Spaceship, an adventure VR game that was developed at the event. Although some members on her team had never programmed for VR, they made use of the gaming computers and the HTC Vive/Oculus Rift headsets provided by the Pop-up Lab.

“I’m incredibly proud of the work and problem solving my team did in the given 48 hours,” De Lara mentions, “[and we love] getting into the ‘try-something-new’ spirit of the Global Game Jam.” Although the team is refining the game further for a demo release soon, you can check out more details about their project here.

Since the AR/VR/360° Pop-up Lab opened last fall, it has served as a space to host teaching/learning experiences, research projects, and game developers looking to build their games. The Lab will host several fun VR competitions in the coming months that can give students, staff and faculty a chance to play around with the lab’s technology. Beat Saber, a game you can often find students passing evenings with in the Pop-up Lab, will be available as an organized competition later this month. For the more creatively inclined, ITS is also hosting competitions for Tilt Brush and LyraVR Music Composition.

Find more details and the registration on the Discovery Lab’s website.