Cyberworlds 2015 – Best Poster Award!

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My time in beautiful Visby (Sweden) is coming to an end, and I will be sorry to leave. Cyberworlds has been a brilliant event, a real credit to the organisers with a great range of talks covering a variety of virtual worlds topics.

IMG_1032I arrived here a day early and had an opportunity to walk around Visby town. The areas is picturesque, one of the most beautiful places I have visited. The tow itself is surrounded by a city wall, with various battements you can explore. Walking the circumference takes about 2 hours but is well worth it especially if (like me) you love architecture.

If you are interested in architecture and history, then Visby has more to offer inside the city walls. There are several ruined churches and cathedrals you can explore, and buildings of hundreds of different architectural styles. Its certainly a place I would like to revisit with my wife in the near future.

Day 1 of the conference was great, there were a number of great keynote talks and panel sessions. Anders Ynnerman’s talk on volume visualisation and public engagement was particularly interesting (you can see his youtube video here). Following this there was the poster “fast forward” and the poster session, which I presented on behalf of our research team.

Day 2 was broken down into a number of paper sessions. Our full paper “Does the Perceived Identity of Non-Player Characters Change how We Interact with Them?” was placed in session 5, and chaired by Professor Bill Seaman from Duke university. The talk went really well, and I got some great feedback from the audience. We were also invited to collaborate with another team of researchers to extend the work… so, all in all, the session couldn’t have gone better! CQ0D6WrVAAAIq95In the evening we have the conference banquet at the local museum which was lovely. The meal was actually served in a room surrounded by Scandinavian picture stones, which was eerily cool! The games development students from Uppsala University (Campus Gotland) brought along their projects for us to play on. These games were brilliant, engaging, professional productions. In particular I got really addicted to frog climber, and I recommend checking it out (see video here), a great use of 2D ragdolls and inverse kinematics. But, for me the Highlight of the evening was winning the best poster award, which was a real surprise considering the high quality work on display.

Day 3 had more presentations in the morning, including a great session on social agents and simulation (including a particularly interesting talk on crowd simulation). There was also a load of really interesting haptic and VR content which was very close to some of my own interests.

Overall, it has been a great event and I have made some new friends and formed a couple of new collaborations. So, generally a big success and I hope to come back next year!

Conference tips for Sweden: The main thing to be aware of is the cost of food here. Food is really expensive, its not unusual for a regular meal to cost upwards of £40, even fast-food is a little on the pricy side. What I would suggest is that you book a hotel that offers breakfast. At my hotel, adding breakfast to the room only cost an additional £5 a day. Having a good (read “big”) breakfast in the morning meant I could eat less in the afternoon, keeping within my budget. Also be aware that some of the taxi services only accept card (not cash) so bringing a credit card with you is essential.