At High Point University (HPU), the recently renovated Miriam and Steve Kimsey Game and Interactive Media Lab now houses three unique spaces for students, including an esports arena, a design/makerspace, and a game and interactive media computer lab.
HPU’s Esports Club team utilizes this space to compete with other teams across the nation. Dylan Thompson, the general manager of HPU’s Esports Club team, said this space has provided a massive growth opportunity for esports at HPU, taking members from 11 to 90 in a single semester.
“We’ve added a number of games and every game now has two teams,” said Thompson. “Before, most students played in their dorms and a few played on the computers used by game design students. The arena has given esports a space to practice 24/7.”
In addition to the esports arena, the design/makerspace, and the game and interactive media computer lab provides students plenty of creative space to work on games, projects and the opportunity to socialize with others majoring in game design and communications.
Kelly Tran, the assistant professor of game and interactive media design, said the design/makerspace will also be used for classes that include roundtable discussion. In the game and interactive media computer lab, students will find technology and tools to produce, analyze and critique games, and is also used for game design classes.
“In the lab, we do everything from 3D modeling and animation, to theory and introductory classes,” said Tran. “We also have other communication classes, such as motion graphics, held in that space.”
With this new space, future plans for esports at HPU include hosting competitions and providing students with continued professional development opportunities in a variety of ways.
“The possibilities for the game students are obvious, but the sports media students will broadcast and offer commentary,” said Dr. Virginia McDermott, the dean of the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication. “The sport management students will manage the sponsorship and promotion process, and we look forward to expanding on these experiential learning opportunities.”
Thompson echoed Dr. McDermott, stating the renovated facility not only benefits the Esports Club team, but also game design, sport management and sports media students, giving everyone adequate space to collaborate.
“No matter what game you play competitively, you are a part of something bigger than just your one game,” he said. “You’re surrounded by like-minded people in the new arena space.”