Learn. Play. Build.

September 29, 2018

The computer lab at College Library recently launched a new Virtual Reality initiative. Both space and hardware have been allotted so that UW-Madison affiliates (faculty, staff, and students) have the tools and resources to create virtual reality experiences and/or video games. According to Crague Cook, Technology Operations Specialist, “It was faculty in the university’s art department who made a strong case for designating time and effort to this type of technical space. It’s really the next step in taking students from passive users of virtual reality, to giving them the opportunity to create in this new environment.” The station offers access to a powerful computer with HTC Vive and Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets with controllers and two game development platforms.

Located just to the left of the entrance to the computer lab in Room 2250, users need no previous experience in using or creating virtual reality. Documentation and tutorials open upon starting and patrons have their choice of using either Unity or Unreal (game development platforms).

Once developers are ready to test their work, they will have the option of using either Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive headsets. For those interested in technical specifications, the new workstation uses the following:

Graphics: EVGA GeForce GTX 1070
Processor: Intel Xeon Processor E5-2620 v3 (6C HT, 15MB Cache, 2.4GHz Turbo)
Storage: 512GB SSD
OS: Windows 10

College Library is open to other proposed uses of this station if any group, department, or organization would like the leverage the technology for academic purposes (i.e. support for teachers who want to showcase specific experiences to a class, offering experiences created on campus for general user access, etc.). In addition, staff are very interested in discovering if this new space meets the needs of campus VR developers. There is a low-tech paper survey available to collect thoughts, recommendations, etc. Simply put your response in the suggestion box at the workstation – in physical reality.

For more information on this pilot project, please contact the Library Technology Group.

Creating environments in the Unity VR platform