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Press Release

Contact:
Eric Sloss
412-268-5765

For immediate release:
October 27, 2005

Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center Develops PeaceMaker, a Videogame Simulation To Encourage Peace in the Middle East

PITTSBURGH—Videogame technology has a reputation for being entertaining and at times violent. But a team of students from Carnegie Mellon University's Master of Entertainment Technology (MET) program developed a videogame simulation to teach and encourage players to create peace. Players assume the role of the Palestinian president or the Israeli prime minister and take on the challenging task of maintaining peace in one of the world's most volatile places.

"PeaceMaker is a unique videogame in that it teaches students how to achieve peace through negotiation and cooperation, unlike many videogames that rely on violence," said Asi Burak, the producer of PeaceMaker. "Young people today relate to videogames. It is the main media to communicate with them. So why not create an engaging game that will also teach them how to be warriors for peace?"

Students Burak, Eric Brown, Eric Keylor, Olive Lin, Tim Sweeney and Victoria Webb, in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon faculty, are designing the videogame simulation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which will be available to the public in spring 2006.

As the Palestinian president or the Israeli prime minister the player must respond to events, such as diplomatic negotiations, suicide bombings or military actions and interact with eight other political leaders and social groups to resolve the conflict before the player's term of office ends.

After the game is publicly released, PeaceMaker will be available online for free so that people all over the world will have access to play. "We want to teach young adults in high school, who are getting ready to serve in their military or to vote, about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," Burak said.

The team has tested PeaceMaker with two focus groups from local Pittsburgh schools and is soliciting support from both Palestinian and Israeli groups. "Teachers can use PeaceMaker as an engaging and modern way to involve their students in the discussion of current affairs, this particular conflict, and politics and negotiation in general terms," Burak said.

The project team is interdisciplinary, with backgrounds in graphics, programming, game design, math, advertising and music. The team is working with Professor Tina Blaine of the Entertainment Technology Center and Professor Laurie Eisenberg of the History Department.

PeaceMaker will be featured at the Serious Game Summit in Washington, D.C., October 31 - November 1. The Serious Games Summit is a unique, two-day event that provides game-developer training and education specific to serious game creation. For more information on the summit, visit www.seriousgamessummit.com/home.html.

The Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon offers an interdisciplinary master's program with the College of Fine Arts and School of Computer Science. Although students come from both fine arts and technology backgrounds, they are not expected to master both fields. Instead, the program focuses on honing the students' existing skills and teaching them to work effectively with other professional groups. Carnegie Mellon is the only university to offer the MET degree.

The photo below is a screenshot of the PeaceMaker videogame simulation. For more information about PeaceMaker visit www.impactgames.com or e-mail inquiries@impactgames.com.

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