ACU’s Digital Entertainment Technology (DET) club is working to give technology students a professional edge in the fast-changing field of digital entertainment through hands-on projects that are student-developed. One of the projects the club has been working on is creating a virtual map of the ACU campus using Unity, a cross-platform game engine. Unity is used in DET classes and in the gaming industry where developers are creating social interaction, game development, virtual tours, racing games, etc. Camila Rodrigues, president of the DET Club shares her inspiration for getting involved. “I saw it as a challenge and as an opportunity to get better at what I do. I love my DET family, and I wanted to get involved in something that could possibly help our family grow.”
While the virtual campus project began three years ago, it is still in the early phases of development as the pandemic has set the team back on their goals. However, some of the campus’s virtual buildings are now completed, such as the Mabee Business Building. The club is hopeful that the entire project will be done by the end of next year as they work to complete the interiors and exteriors of the campus buildings. Camilla said that the DET club faces challenges in getting everyone in sync now that they cannot always be present to work together due to COVID restrictions. She said that the software can also be unpredictable at times and has caused unexpected errors in the project. Although there have been challenges, Rodrigues feels that the project has still been beneficial for her and the other students, sharing “I learned more about the software I am going to use in my professional career and about industry tricks like Whiteboxing. I think the main thing I have learned in this project that I will apply in the future is the importance of having a team with diverse skills, and having good communication to keep the team in sync.”
Ideally, once the project is finished, prospective students touring the ACU campus will be able to visit the virtual reality (VR) lab located in the Mabee Business Building. Here they will be able to get a firsthand look at the virtual campus created by the DET students using the VR headsets that are in the lab. If visitors can’t wait to visit the ACU campus and happen to own their own VR headset, they will be able to visit the ACU virtual campus by downloading the program from STEAM. The DET club is hopeful that creating student-run projects, like the virtual campus, will help future students have a better understanding of what the digital entertainment technology major is and what types of careers can be pursued as a DET graduate.
While the majority of the club may be digital entertainment technology majors, it is open to students of all majors who have an interest in digital entertainment. The DET club provides an opportunity for students to get to know each other and create a community to grow in their knowledge and skills. Through projects like the virtual campus, it is an opportunity for students to hone their skills, get ahead of the curve, and work on projects that can benefit others while being part of a community that is passionate about what they do. To learn more about the DET club, contact Dr. Brian Burton by clicking here.