BVW 2010

Art Snatchers from BVW 2010

It's virtually indescribable.

This year's freewheeling showcase of student-built virtual worlds produced by Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) was another crowd-pleaser. (Watch the show online.)

Using digital technology to tell stories, play games and otherwise entertain their live audience, the Building Virtual Worlds (BVW) show put on display the best worlds created by interdisciplinary student teams over the course of the semester.

The show routinely draws energetic crowds each year — including members of the entertainment industry.

The late Randy Pausch, the CMU professor and alum best known for 'The Last Lecture,' developed the BVW class and show. Pausch, along with Don Marinelli, later created the ETC.

"I want to make the world better by creating good content in the entertainment industry," said Youngwoo Lee (CMU'12), co-creator of A Viking We Will Go in which guests helped Vikings gather treasures as they sailed the virtual seas.

"Where could be better than here? The ETC has people from everywhere. I came all the way from Korea to be here."

Lee says the course taught him the real meanings of cooperation and friendly competition.

"I realized good team work is better than individual skills," he said. "And I learned to be a better listener and to be more open to ideas."

Lauren Lanster (CMU'12) agreed. Two of Lanster's worlds were in this year's show. In her team's Art Snatchers, a guest had to "hide" among artwork in a museum.

The twist? To hide, guests had to take on poses that matched artwork on display.

"There are times when opinions clash and working through those issues was a really big learning experience," said Lanster, who also played a magician in The Elusionist.

Meowch! had guests catching virtual cats tossed from a burning building onto a trampoline.

And this was the first year the show had to include a content warning. Five Days featured a woodsman trapped under a log with nothing but a saw at his disposal.

The class is taught at the ETC by Jesse Schell, a renowned game designer, and Mk Haley, associate executive producer of the ETC.

Related Links: Randy Pausch: An Enduring Legacy | Last Lecture, Lasting Impact | ETC

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