Student internship at VRVis: "A playful approach" to visualization research
During the summer months, VRVis has for many years offered the opportunity to get a taste of the world of research as part of a student internship. This year, two high school students from Vienna became part of our GeoSMAQ research group for one month.
Forscher Attila Szabo (links) und seine Kolleg:innen vermittelten den Schülerpraktikanten Mateusz und Sebastian Visual-Computing-Forschung auf einem Weg, der wirklich jeden jungen Menschen begeistern muss: über die Entwicklung eines Computerspiels.
For one month, the school interns Mateusz and Sebastian were members of our Geospatial Visualization, Semantic Modeling and Acquisition Group, where Lisa Kellner and all the other team members provided excellent knowledge and know-how.
Turning knowledge learned in school into hands-on experience - that's what the development of the computer game "Aardwars", which was created from components of the Aardvark platform, was all about.
3 modeling, intersection calculation, linear algebra, and along the way programming basics were taught while creating the shooter game "Aardwars".
The computer game, which was created within a few weeks and will continue to grow in the future during further student internships, was released in August via Github as an open-source version.
How can lessons learned at school be turned into applied expertise? And what do the two students who applied to us at VRVis for a summer internship specifically need for their further school and professional careers? These were the questions the researchers of our Geospatial Visualization, Semantic Modelling and Acquisition Group asked themselves and, of course, the interns Sebastian and Mateusz before they shaped an ambitious internship program for the two: the development of a first-person shooter game to teach essential visual computing know-how.
Linear algebra, including vectors, matrices, etc., is needed to calculate intersections, for example, without which you would have neither gravity nor the ability to hit a target in a first-person shooter. The basic knowledge from school in 3D modeling became without further ado the best starting point to design various models for a computer game. In addition to the ability to develop and refine game logic on their own, the two managed - almost playfully along the way - to greatly expand their basic knowledge of programming. By the time their month of internships came to an end, Mateusz and Sebastian were able to write code in F# on their own. A programming language they had never seen before!
The computer game "Aardwars", which was created collaboratively between Sebastian and Mateusz during the internship, and of course actively supported by the GeoSMAQ team, turned out to be quite impressive. If you want to convince yourself, you can test the game, which is based on Aardvark components, in the open source version released on Github - and of course develop it further.