Building Virtual Worlds

Building Virtual Worlds

Showcasing the latest ideas in interactive digital technology produced by students at Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) isn't an easy feat.

But it's done annually through the Building Virtual Worlds Show. And this year, it moved off campus to make room for a crowd that's typically packed to capacity.

BVW 2011
was held Dec. 7 at 4 p.m. at the Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead.

The student teams, including both technically and artistically minded members, used digital technology to tell stories, create fine art and play games. Some projects even provided training opportunities.

"BVW gives us a chance to show off the work of our talented students to an audience that will include entertainment industry executives," said Mk Haley, associate executive producer of the ETC, who teaches the BVW course with renowned game designer Jesse Schell.

The BVW class was originated by the late Randy Pausch, a computer science professor who became world famous for his inspirational "Last Lecture" video and book.

"It's always been hard to accommodate everybody who wants to see the show, but moving it to this large hall in Homestead will give the general public a great opportunity to join in the fun."

Among the highlights this year, audience members assisted teams in:

  • "fanning" wind to make a kite fly around the world
  • pumping hot air balloons for two knights on a mission to rescue a princess from a high tower
  • a tug-of-war game show
  • helping a mouse that falls in love with a computer mouse escape a college dorm together
  • saving the Earth from meteorites

"Building Virtual Worlds is central to the experience of first semester ETC students because it combines difficult technical, artistic and interactive design challenges with interdisciplinary teamwork. It's a class where students learn how much they are capable of, and it is usually much more than they would have expected," said Schell.

More information about the show is available at

Related Links: BVW | ETC | About Randy Pausch

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