Computational Studio: Simulated
This computational studio course immerses students in the fundamentals of simulated worldbuilding, covering both technical implementation and critical theoretical contexts. Using tools like Unity, Blender, and coding, students learn systems design, modeling, animation, interactivity, and critical approaches for realizing virtual environments and experiences. Assignments progress from conceptual experiments to hands-on creation of behaviors, forces, and narratives through 3D assets, shaders, and other computational methods. Readings ground technical tutorials in relevant media theory, cybernetics, critical game studies, and object-oriented ontology, informing in-depth discussions on notions like agency, emergence, complexity, and control. For example, students examine philosopher Jane Bennett on vibrant matter to analyze video game objects. Guest speakers further bridge conceptual and practical approaches, from architect Eric Wong’s creative worldbuilding to artist Lawrence Lek’s simulation narratives. By mobilizing understandings across philosophy, computation, design, and technique, students create their own meaningful simulated worlds addressing themes from AI to technoculture.