ACM GameBuilders Event at UGL

The University of Illinois has a wide range of organizations and clubs that allow students to nurture their talents and explore their interests. One of these groups, Gamebuilders from the University of Illinois chapter of the Association of Computer Machinery, will be showcasing their work Tuesday November 11th, from 7 to 9 PM in the UGL. The event will take place in the gaming area of the Media Commons. Students from ACM Gamebuilders will be on hand at the event to demonstrate over 25 games that they have created. It should be an informative and a fun look into the art and craftsmanship that went into producing these games. If you’re not able to make it to the event, you can still check out the groups work, as the UGL will have a computer running the games until the end of the semester.

GameBuilders focuses on creating and developing computer video games. This involves a wide range of activities and processes, including programming, visual asset creation, sound and music authoring, as well as game design. The group also provides education on game development and mentoring for interested students who are new to game development. If you’re interested, GameBuilders meets every Tuesday evening from 7 to 8 in Room 3403 of the Siebel Center.

 

The following are some of the games that students from GameBuilders have created.

 Flagfight

 

Flagfight is a capture the flag game created by Luke Puchner-Hardman and Ryan Norby for the 2013 Global Student Game Developer Competition.

 

Cat-astrophe

 

A turn-based tower defense game created by Luke Puchner-Hardman for the Fall 2013 Gamebuild-a-Thon.

 

Dystheism 

 

This game is a 3D block-based puzzle game that features a number of abilities used to solve puzzles (ex: breaking blocks, throwing fireballs). Created by Jack LaSota.

 

Mineralz

 

Mineralz is a 3D tower defense game where you control a robotic dragon that is tasked with defending a crater against a horde of robotic enemies. Created by Ryan Norby, Luke Puchner-Hardman, Eric Christianson, Danny Sapato, and Rafael Rego Drumond.

 

If reading about these student-created games whetted your appetite for gaming, you’re in luck! The UGL has a large collection of modern videogames (including Xbox One and Playstation 4 titles), which can be either used in the UGL at the gaming center or checked out to play at home.The UGL also has a vintage gaming collection that is being preserved for classroom instruction and research use. We’re always adding new titles to our collection, so be sure to keep an eye out for new releases and old favorites.

What are your favorite independently developed games? Any favorite games of 2014 so far? Let us know in the comments.

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…!

The combination of narrative and dialogue with sequenced illustrations is generally what sets a graphic novel apart from other literary forms. Speech bubbles between characters move the plot along, and expository notes from the author help us follow the illustrated action. Some artists, however, focus exclusively on the ‘graphic’ part of graphic novels, and create works with no words at all. In the following books, there are no sentences or paragraphs, but that doesn’t mean nothing is said.

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

First things first, if you haven’t already read “The Arrival” by Shaun Tan, pick it up right now. For those of you who have come a long way to attend UIUC, or who are still getting used to your new college environment, this book is a gentle, comforting tale of finding your bearings in a strange land. The illustrations are high detailed, but soft and warm. It’s the best picture book for adults, period – though children can enjoy it, too, of course.

Six Novels in Woodcuts by Lynd Ward

Before graphic novels, there were wordless novels: long series of woodcuts which, when viewed in sequence, told a story. Lynd Ward was the first prominent American artist to work in this proto-graphic-novel form, and we have all 6 of his stark works for you to enjoy. You can also read more about wordless novels in general in “Wordless Books” by David A. Beronä (lots of words in that one, though).

Mister O. by Lewis Trondheim

Mister O is a small person. Mister O is shaped like an O. Mister O would like to cross that chasm so that he can continue his walk, but everything in the world seems to conspire to prevent him from doing so – cranky birds, aliens, poorly aimed cannons… It’s very simple, but sometimes the simplest pictures are best. There’s a punchline on every page – almost instant gratification!

Congress of the Animals by Jim Woodring

While “The Arrival” (above) focuses on making a new home in a new place, “Congress of the Animals” is more about what happens when you leave home and have no idea where you are. Frank, a small buck-toothed critter, escapes his safe, but stifling environment and journeys through bizarre, woodcut-esque landscapes. Stuff gets real weird, but if you’re into it, you can check out the similarly wordless “Weathercraft” by the same author, which the publisher describes as containing “32 pages of almost incomprehensible suffering.”

Greetings from Hellville by Thomas Ott

As the title implies, the short stories in this collection are hellish and disturbing; finely-textured nightmares in which nothing goes right. The artists Thomas Ott draws inspiration from early silent horror movies, so give ‘em a look if you want to be seriously creeped out (and possibly scared speechless, much like the characters). You can also check out more of Ott’s work in “R.I.P: Best of 1985-2004;” just leave your nightlight on.

Sshhhh! by Jason

What an appropriate title for a book with no words. This is a collection of 10 short vignettes that follow a bird-headed man in a hat through journeys simultaneously mundane and surreal. Bird-head man explores love, jealousy, parenthood, aging, death, and isolation, in absolute contemplative silence. If you dig Jason’s style but want a little more conversation with your illustration, try another of his works, “Tell Me Something,” which (aptly enough) has some dialogue.

We think we’ve said enough about stories that thrive on a lack of words. Do you have a favorite graphic novel without words? Tell us about in the comments…or draw us a picture, if you’re really in the spirit!

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Classic Horror Stories Readers’ Advisory

Halloween season is here! Although there are many things to enjoy about the holiday (dressing up in silly costumes, eating tons of candy, the return of the NBA, etc.),a favorite part of Halloween is the tradition of reading scary stories. You can be scared witless by a story at any time of the year, but around this time feels just right to curl up with a scary book as the leaves are beginning to turn.

 

Horror fiction has a long, rich history. Many modern horror novels and films are influenced by the classic horror stories of yesteryear. The following reader’s advisory are horror stories and novels whose frights have withstood the test of time.

 

The Raven: Tales and Poems by Edgar Allan Poe

 Arguably the father of the horror short story, Edgar Allan Poe is one of the most notable writers in the horror/suspense genre. Poe is perhaps best known for his poem, “The Raven,” but his short stories are where the true scares can be found. This collection includes the titular poem, as well as nail-biters like “The Pit and the Pendulum” and “The Masque of the Red Death.” Recommended if you like Gothic literature, detective stories, and mystery.

The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers

 This 1895 collection of weird, supernatural short stories has experienced something of a renaissance this year. The cause behind this spike in interest is the HBO series “True Detective”, which heavily referenced Chambers’ work in its suspenseful first season (ex: The Yellow King, Carcosa, etc.). American horror master H.P. Lovecraft was also heavily influenced by this collection. Recommended if you like supernatural stories and/or if you’re a “True Detective” fan waiting for Season 2.

 

“The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

 Published in 1898, this novella is a literary tale of psychology and the supernatural. Given its short length, this is a good choice if you’re looking for an evening of mystery. Like many of the best horror stories, this novella is still inspiring a debate over whether the ghosts in the tale are real or merely imagined. Recommended if you like psychological literature, ghost stories, and New Criticism.

Necronomicon: The Best Weird Tales of H.P. Lovecraft by H.P. Lovecraft

 Despite not being widely recognized during his lifetime, H.P. Lovecraft is now one of the most celebrated authors of Horror and Weird Fiction. Although not all of his work falls into the horror genre, Lovecraft’s short stories and novellas have plenty of terrifying and eerie moments. This collection contains all of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu stories, including his most famous story, “The Call of Cthulhu,” as well as his legendary novella, “At the Mountains of Madness.” Recommended if you like terrifying creatures, complex mythologies, and artist H.R. Giger’s work on the Alien films.

 

The Shining by Stephen King

 One of Stephen King’s best works, The Shining is a quintessential haunted house (or hotel) story. Although Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation is excellent and quite scary at times, the book is way more terrifying. Set at a luxurious mountain hotel in Colorado, The Shining explores what happens when the Overlook Hotel closes for the winter and aspiring novelist Jack Torrance and his family stay on as caretakers. Recommended if you like supernatural terror, haunted houses, and being scared of bathtubs.

 

These five works merely scratch the surface of the scares that horror literature has to offer. What are your favorite scary stories or films? Tell us in the comments below. Happy haunting!

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An Ocean of Good Reads

Central Illinois is a wonderful place. It is home to our wonderful Alma Mater, the charming cities of Urbana and Champaign, and enough cornfields to support even the most voracious grilled corn habit. There is, however, a distinct lack of salt air, of booming waves, and of billowing sails. If you find yourself pining for the sea life, take home one of these ocean-themed books from the UGL. You can read them in a hammock and pretend you’re below-decks!

Silver : My Own Tale as Written by Me with a Goodly Amount of Murder
by Edward Chupack

An Ocean + A Boat = Pirates, obviously. You’re probably familiar with Treasure Island, perhaps the most well-known pirate story of Western literature. But have you ever wondered about how the infamous pirate Long John Silver became who he is? This is his life story, recounted by Silver himself, as he sails imprisoned towards his execution in England. Many murders and treasure troves are recounted, in highly stylized pirate lingo, but the biggest and most mysterious treasure is only hinted at…

The Seas: a Novel
By Samantha Hunt

“Long walks on the beach” are often heralded as being the height of romance. What if, however,  you’re a young woman in a desolate seaside town, grieving the loss of your father, convinced you’re a mermaid, and in love with a older, damaged veteran? Time spent on the beach together might have a different feel to it, then. That’s the premise behind this novel, which draws from ethereal fairy tales but is set in cold, hard reality.

8 Men and a Duck : an Improbable Voyage by Reed Boat to Easter Island
by Nick Thorpe

Translating the art of the road trip to the southern Pacific, this is the tale of 8 dudes (mostly non-sailors) who attempt to travel from the coast of Chile to Easter Island in a boat made out of reeds. Their motivation? Living to tell the tale, mostly. There are sharks, storms, and rival sailing teams who attempt to sabotage the mission; there is also, as promised, a duck. The duck’s name is Pedro.

The Sea is My Brother
by Jack Kerouac

Before he became a famous figure in Beat literature, Jack Kerouac was a merchant marine. That means he worked as a sailor on ships carrying passengers and cargo, and that is the setting of this, his first, incomplete novel. Young men at sea grappling with loneliness, identity, and drinking in the modern world – if that sounds like your cup of grog, pick this one up.

 

The Sea Wolf
by Jack London, adapted by Riff Reb’s

Originally a novel by Jack London, of White Fang and Call of the Wild fame, this graphic novel adaptation adds dramatic, high-contrast illustrations to a classic adventure tale. Instead of furry beasts in snowy Yukon climes, the ‘wolf’ in this story is a hardened sailor in the South Pacific. He and his crew of seal hunters pick up a shipwreck victim, Humphrey, who is initially glad for their help…but Humphrey soon realizes that this ain’t no pleasure cruise, and he will have to fight to survive.

 

That’s it for our fleet of ocean-centered stories. We hope you got to see more of the ocean this summer that the UGL ever does, from it’s vantage point underground. Do you have a favorite book or movie set on the high seas? Tell us about it in the comments!

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Got Pride? LGBT Pride Month at the UGL

The Stonewall Inn Riots, a series of protests following police raids on a queer bar in New York City that are widely considered the igniting spark for the modern LGBT rights movement, took place on June 28-29, 1969. Ever since then, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer folks in the United States have taken the month of June as a symbolic time to demonstrate pride in their sexual and gender minority identities.

A rainbow-colored robot invites you to LGBT pride month.

Original image by Quinn Dombrowski.

This year, 45 years later, President Barack Obama has again declared June LGBT Pride Month, recognizing the importance for LGBTQ people to celebrate themselves and the political struggles their communities have been involved in. In order to show off our own pride, the UGL would like to recommend some items from our collection that display some LGBTQ pride and history.

Stonewall

by Martin Duberman

If you’re interested in going back to the beginning, Martin Duberman’s Stonewall is an important look—even 20 years on—at the watershed nature of the events at Stonewall through the eyes of six very different people. His history captures the conflicting and varied responses to the Stonewall events and draws a messy picture of the events leading up to Stonewall that made the riots such a historic event.

Smash the Church, Smash the State book cover with vintage photos of activists

Smash the Church, Smash the State: The Early Years of Gay Liberation

edited by Tommi Avicolli Mecca

Smash the Church, Smash the State takes a look at the political climate immediately following Stonewall by investigating the early years of the Gay Liberation Front, a anti-assimilationist activist group—the first to use the word “gay” in its name—that worked alongside (and sometimes against) other radical movements of the 1970s. Written by former GLF members, this book provides insight into a turbulent and fabulous movement whose work laid the foundation for contemporary LGBTQ politics.

Body Counts boko cover with image of couple kissing

Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS, and Survival

by Sean Strub

Moving forward in time, another historically significant event in the history of queer people in the United States was the AIDS crisis of the late 80s and early 90s. Sean Strub’s memoir, Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS, and Survival, documents one slice of that time and what it meant for the gay community. As the founder of POZ magazine and the first openly HIV-positive candidate for the US legislature, Strub’s insight into the critical need for AIDS-related protections and research and his work with ACT UP paints an important picture of this era.

Redefining Realness book cover with image of Janet Mock looking incredibly regal

Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love, and So Much More

by Janet Mock

For a contemporary look at one aspect of LGBTQ pride, check out Janet Mock’s Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love, and So Much More. Mock was born to Black and Native Hawaiian parents in a working class neighborhood of Honolulu, and is now a respected writer and advocate for trans rights, creating #girlslikeus, an online movement for transwomen living visibly. Mock’s memoir traces her life from a childhood in Hawai‘i through her career in New York City, and it highlights the need for mainstream LGBTQ movements to center the experiences of trans women of color to continue to fight oppression both within and outside of LGBTQ communities.

There’s lots more Pride to be found in the stacks of the UGL and in Champaign-Urbana more widely. If you’re looking to celebrate this month, check out the UP Center’s Reel It UP! LGBT film festival, with showings every Tuesday in June at the Champaign Art Theater. Or, if you won’t be back on campus until school starts, Champaign-Urbana Pride  will be on Saturday, September 6 in downtown Champaign. We encourage you to celebrate along with us by checking out some of these resources and events…Happy Pride!

Special thanks to guest blogger Tad Andracki!

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SAAM at UIUC

April is designated as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in the United States. The Women’s Resource Center on campus has been having events all month, with more still to come in the next week. Read on to find out how to participate, and how the library can help you learn more about understanding and preventing sexual violence.

A teal ribbon is one symbol of the campaign against sexual assault.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia user MesserWoland

The official Women’s Resource Center SAAM site has a listing of all the events that have happened so far, and the ones still to come. Upcoming events for this week include a Take Back the Night march and a Denim Day display on the quad. You can find a full listing of events on the WRC page.Both Take Back the Night and Denim Day are nation-wide events with their own websites, where you can learn about their history and (if you’re off-campus) possibly find an event near to you.

Whether your on-campus or off, many of the events and campaigns held during Sexual Assault Awareness Month have as their end goal of educating people about the problems of sexual assault. If you’ve been educated about an issue, such as sexual assault, you’re better prepared to put an end to it, or improve it. If you’re unable to attend any of these events, the library, as a place concerned with the sharing of knowledge, can help you educate yourself and become a better ally to those who need your help. There’s a subject guide on rape and sexual assault that can help you find books and articles on those subjects and further your knowledge. Here’s another guide about sexual harassment, which is a related topic you can educate yourself about and help prevent. Searching in the catalog for subjects like “Rape Prevention” can also bring up informative and helpful books, such as Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape.

If you want help researching sexual assault, you can ask a librarian for help. If you need personal help coping with sexual assault, the Women’s Resource Center has lists of campus and community resources that you can look to for assistance. No matter what you need, somone can help you find it.

 

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Ideas for Improvement

You may have noticed that there’s a survey going on in the library – there are table tents, flyers, and images on the digital displays (those TVs that hang from the walls everywhere) telling you to take the survey and share your opinions with us. Why should you?

A puppy implores you to win a $50 gift card.

The puppy wants you to share, and the puppy wants you to win.

Improving Library Services

One reason you should take the library survey is so that we know what’s working for you and what isn’t. If the answers we receive on the survey tell us that something we’re doing is helpful to most people, we can make sure we keep providing that service successfully. If the answers we receive tell us that something needs to be fixed or improved, we can work on making it better based on what you tell us. There are lots of other ways you can share your opinions with us – like this feedback form, or messaging us on Twitter – but if you use this survey, we can have everyone’s answers to standardized questions in one place, and that makes it easier to make decisions!

Union Bookstore Gift Card

The other reason you should take the survey is that your participation puts you in the running for a $50 Union Bookstore gift card. Fifty whole dollars! What can you buy with $50? That will get you:

Or anything else you can think of that’s available in the Union Bookstore (maybe a textbook for next semester?).

All your library and sweatpants dreams can come true, but you have to take the survey to get there. We appreciate everyone who takes the time to share their opinions and we look forward to seeing what you have to say.

 

 

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Spotlight On…CQ Researcher

You’ve got a paper coming up, and you don’t have a topic yet. The paper has to be about a current issue that’s controversial, or maybe you have to debate the pros and cons of something – but there are so many issues in the world! How do you know what to choose and where to start? If you come to the UGL’s website, we have a resource that can help you solve all these problems. It’s called CQ Researcher.

What and where is CQ Researcher?

CQ Researcher is one of the many databases that the library provides for you to use. It’s a little different from other databases you may have used, because it’s designed to make it easy for you to browse articles by topic. The topics that articles in CQ Researcher cover range from education issues (like homeschooling) to disputes over international law (like the ethics of war), but all have been topics of intense discussion and debate in the recent past or present.

To get to CQ Researcher, start at the UGL homepage and click the Find Articles button that you see under the Easy Search box. That will take you to the Find Articles guide, where we list some of our databases by type. CQ Researcher is a general database, so you can find a link to it in the first section that’s labelled “Starting Points (Multi-Subject Databases).”

CQ Researcher should be the third database listed under Starting Points.

What can I find in CQ Researcher?

Every topic covered in CQ Researcher will be explained in a report – a long article that provides an overview of the topic,  including background information, current controversies or problems, and potential outcomes. An editorial piece from each side of the argument – a “pro” and a “con” position – are also provided by an expert on the topic. Other helpful features include timelines of major events, and lists of suggested sources for further research. This information could be used to help you figure out what specific aspects of a general topic you’re most interested in, where you should look for more information, or how a specific issue fits into a larger issue or trend.

You can navigate through the different kinds of information provided using the menu on the left side, or explore related issues using the Issue Tracker menu on the right.

How can I use CQ Researcher?

If you already have an idea of what you’re interested in, the main page of CQ Researcher has a search feature in the upper-right hand corner of the screen. If you don’t have an idea yet, don’t worry – it also has options to browse through information by what’s been added most recently, or by general area of interest (like the ‘education’ and ‘international law’ areas we mentioned above). As you browse or search, CQ Researcher will offer suggestions for related topic in a menu on the right-hand side of the screen.

The search box is in the top-right corner, and the Browse options are in the main navigation menu under the heading.

So, if you’re trying to find an interesting, contemporary debate to explore for an assignment, or you’ve already got one and need ideas for how to approach it, find your way to the UGL homepage and try CQ Researcher. There’s also that helpful Ask-A-Librarian chat box on the UGL page, so if you should get stuck, a librarian is only a click away! We’ll be happy to help you use this or any other library resource.

Find other posts in the Spotlight On… series here.

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Warm up for Spring Break at the UGL

Hey UGL-ers! Here in Chambana, it’s finally starting to warm up. Which means there’s only one thing on our minds—spring break! Whether you’re staying in town to catch up on sleep or packing for an exotic adventure, the UGL has all the resources you need to make this spring break the best yet.

Cover of Foder's Los Cabos guidebook

Where can you snorkel in Los Cabos? Find out here!

If you’re heading out of town for spring break this year, check out the UGL’s collection of travel guides to read up on your favorite destination. Where is the best place to hike in Wisconsin? Which towns in Spain are must-sees? Where can you snorkel in Los Cabos? All your travel questions can be answered in these handy guidebooks.

Traveling out of the country? Learn a few phrases or brush up on your conversation skills in hundreds of languages for FREE using our Tell Me More language software. Take a look at our previous blog post to learn how to use this great resource.

Cover of The Globetrotter Diaries

Get inspired for an adventure of your own.

If your spring break plans look a lot like your pillow, the UGL can bring out your inner hitchhiker while you catch some Z’s right here at home. Check out our Pinterest board that highlights a few of our favorite books about travel writing and photography, as well as the guidebooks we mentioned above.

The Hobbit DVD cover

“Not all who wander are lost.”

As always, the UGL’s collection of movies, TV shows, and audio books are ready to cure your travel bug from the comfort of your couch. Need a European adventure? Live vicariously through every James Bond film. Feeling wanderlust? Trek through Middle-earth with a Lord of the Rings marathon. Or, get pumped for the release of the next Captain America film with your Avenger pals. Stock up on all your favorites before break!

If you’re looking for a thrilling page-turner to pass some time over break, be on the lookout for our up-coming display “Road Trip with a Book.” We’ll surprise you with a great new read!

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Spotlight On…Film Resources

The 2014 Oscars have now been awarded, and whether you agree with the winners or not, the library has resources you can use to learn more about film history and theory, as well as find more movies to watch.

Researching Film History and Theory

  • Film Study Reference Guide – This research guide, put together by the Literature and Languages Library, is a one-stop shop for all film theory research needs. It has resources for finding film reviews, if you want to find out what critics said about those Oscar winners before they were winners, as well as lists of books that can serve as your introduction to the history and study of film.
  • Finding Article about Film in Databases – The Communications Library has put together a list of databases that contain articles pertaining to film history and criticism. Once you gotten a good introduction using the reference guide above, you can use these databases to find more specific articles about whatever film topic interests you.

Findings Movies to Watch

  • Finding Movies in the Library – Reading about movies is great, but reading reviews and articles won’t be helpful if you haven’t seen the movies themselves! The Undergraduate Library has a guide to help you find the movies you need in the library catalog.
  • Ideas for What to Watch – If you don’t know where to start, the UGL has Pinterest boards that collect our favorite horror movies, science fiction features, summer films, and movies based on books. Browsing the entire media collection by genre is tough, because it’s just not arranged that way, but here’s a tip: on the catalog search screen, change the first dropdown menu from “Keyword” to “Subject,” then try typing in what you’re looking for. You could try a genre, like “Horror films,” or a topic followed by the kind of  movie you want, like “High school students – Comedy.” It takes some practice, but soon you’ll be a master at finding great new movies.

What do you think about when you decide whether a movie is good or not? Let us know in the comments!

Need ideas for other great library resources? Find more in our Spotlight on… series here.

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