While GDIAC is an interdisciplinary program, it currently runs under the guidance of the Cornell Department of Computer Science. GDIAC faculty run project-oriented courses (CS/INFO 3152, CS/INFO 4152, and independent studies) in which students explore diverse aspects of game design and game development. The GDIAC team works closely with faculty members in various departments to enhance game-related courses and further game design as a theoretically and technically rigorous field. GDIAC also works closely with the game industry with a variety of research and development projects, as well as program feedback and student placement.
The Game Design Initiative At Cornell University started as a feasibility study coordinated by the Department of Computer Science in the Fall 2001 semester. Originally launched by David Schwartz (RIT), Rajmohan Rajagopalan (Monolith Productions), and Rama Hoetzlein (UC Santa Barbara). Since then, the interdisciplinary nature of the project has inspired collaborations with several other departments such as Fine Art, Music, and Performing and Media Arts.
Walker White (Director)
Currently, GDIAC is led by Walker White.
White is a faculty member in the computer science department and previously the project
leader of the data-driven games research
project. His current research interests include software design processes in games,
gameplay analytics, and formal analysis of game mechanics.
As a Stephen H. Weiss Provost's Teaching Fellow, Cornell University has repeatedly recognized Walker White for his innovations in interdisciplinary project-based instruction. He is the primary instructor for the game design courses, and is the primary advisor for independent studies. Several of his student's course projects have gone on to commercial success, such as the games Gathering Sky and Family Style. In addition to addition to teaching these courses, he has developed several instructional platforms for his students. These include Exerpy, an online automated tutoring system for beginning Python programmers, and CUGL (Cornell University Game Library), a cross-platform C++ game engine specifically targeting mobile devices.
As part of the Engineering Communications Program since 2012, Nathans-Kelly has a special
interest in social justice and techquity issues. She interacts daily to help engineers and
pre-professional engineers to hone their technical communication and leadership skills and
their technical messaging, whether it be via presentations, on paper, in meetings and teams,
or online channels. She has worked with practicing professional engineers, technical experts,
scientists, and related field experts for over 20 years, helping them to strengthen their
abilities to become impactful contributors in their organizations, such as in the games industry.
She is very active in IEEE, where her current work includes co-authoring the “English for Technical Professionals” coursework for ILN; committee commitments include the IEEE Continuing Education Committee, the Educational Activities Committee, and the IEEE Teaching Excellence Editorial Board. She also served as the editor for the IEEE Professional Communication book series for Professional Engineering Communication, with 12 books on the shelves for the series. The book Slide Rules: Design, Build, and Archive Presentations in the Engineering and Technical Fields was co-authored with Christine G. Nicometo.