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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Spotlight on: The Green Screen Room at the UGL

There are many cool services and resources offered here at the UGL. You have the writer’s workshop, the research desk (which operates Monday-Thursday from 1-5) and the cool DVD’s and books located on the lower level of the UGL. As you can tell, you have a lot of options, but did you also that the UGL has a video studio room? (a.k.a “green screen room”) The room is part of the UGL’s media commons and offers students, staff, and faculty the opportunity to use professional equipment in a video production studio.

Video Production Room. Photo Courtesy of the UGL Media Commons

Video Production Room. Photo Courtesy of the UGL Media Commons

For those who are curious and who want to know more about this room, we will take you inside this high tech room. The video studio has much of the professional equipment needed for hi-tech projects. Among the equipment includes:

Six Lowell Fluorescent Lights, 2 Nikon DSLR cameras (D7100 and  D600) with several lenses, Wireless Lavalier Microphones, a green screen, iMac, other equipment, and coming soon, a Global Truss Lighting Grid.

How does one get to use this room?  The room is only available by appointment, so the student, staff, or faculty must fill out a reservation form. This form can be found at the Media Commons’ website, here.

Once you make a reservation, you will come into the UGL and go to the circulation desk and let them know you have a reservation.

video production studio

There is a limit of 4 people, but the new coming lighting grid will allow for 8-10 people total.

A staff member from the Media Commons will explain the basics on how to use the camera and lights. If you need more assistance on editing, you can make an appointment with the Media Commons staff member.

The only thing that students are asked to bring is an external hard drive and a their own SD cards. Not bad, right? Everything else is provided for you.

Be sure to be on the lookout for more blogs featuring the great resources that the UGL has to offer. What projects could you do using the Video Production room? Comment below!

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The UGL celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15th-October 15th. This month is celebrated all throughout the country and also in our very own community. The UGL is excited to let you all know about the events and happenings going right here at UIUC.

Mexican Folkloric

Mexican Folkloric Dance. Photo Courtesy of Leslie Kirkland

Before we get into all the  events happening, what exactly is Hispanic Heritage Month? Hispanic Heritage month used to be Hispanic Heritage Week. That is, until 1988, when Former President Ronald Regan enacted the Hispanic Heritage Month into a public law. This holiday celebrates the culture, accomplishments, history and contributions of Hispanic cultures from countries and regions such as Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

If you are interested in learning more about this celebration and how it is being celebrated on a national level, be sure to check out the official government website of Hispanic Heritage Month.

UIUC has many organizations and resources if you are interested in learning more about Hispanic Culture or language.

La Casa at UIUC is a cultural house here on campus. The mission of La Casa is to “promote a welcoming and dynamic atmosphere through the development of educational, cultural, socio-political, and social programs that lead to greater recruitment, retention, advancement, and empowerment of Latina/o students”. They hold events and speakers all throughout the year. For more information, be sure to go to La Casa’s website for more information and to check what events are going on.

Mi Pueblo at UIUC is a a place where you can practice your Spanish conversational skills. This group is comprised of students who volunteer one hour of their time to lead conversational sessions in Spanish. To take a look at their calender, be sure to check out their website for more updates.

Take the opportunity to check out these organizations, maybe brush up on your Spanish, or check out what activities are on their schedule.

Such activities include:

On October 9th at 12:00 PM, there is a lunch at La Casa. This lunch will feature a lecture “La Musica Romantica and other Queer Latino/a pedagogies.” This lecture will be led by Richard Vallegas.

On October 10th. there will be a movie screening and a discussion on “Unfreedom”, produced by Jose Toledo.

For a complete schedule, check out all the events for Hispanic Heritage Month. Be sure to check out the full schedule.

If you’re in the mood for some Latino/a writers, be sure to check out authors such as Gloria Anzaldúa, Pablo Neruda, Sandra Cisneros, Carlos Fuentes, and Isabel Allende, just to name a few.

Be sure to search through our catalog for any authors or books you might be interested in. As always, the UGL wishes you a happy celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

 

 

 

 

 

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A message from QB

Dear Inquisitive UGLers: Last week you may have noticed a whiteboard near the UGL’s entrance. This was Question Board’s more mobile cousin, Whiteboard, sent as a scout to ask you one simple question. The question was: Can you stump QB? Many riddles were posed, and QB has answers for some of them – but for others, your help is needed. Read on to help QB conquer these confounding queries.

Can you stump QB?

Well, can you?

First is this riddle, which QB feels quite confident about:

When I was young, I wear white
When I was a teen, I wear green
Now that I’m hot, I wear red
Who am I? Please address!

One intrepid member of Club UGL already put forth an answer on dear cousin Whiteboard, saying that the answer was ‘Strawberry…’ but then the original riddler responded with this:

This came quite close, but I am not.
For strawberry’s sweet, but I am hot.
You have given quite a close try
So I reward you with a smile

The written question is accompanied by a charming smiley face.

Look at that smile.

QB, driven by the idea of smiling rewards, would like to put forth that the answer to this riddle is perhaps….a pepper? Yes, that sounds right. QB is pretty sure of the answer for this one, as well:

What falls but never breaks?
What breaks but never falls?
Answers are connected.

QB doesn’t even need any incredibly useful library resources to pull off this one. The answer is as clear as night and day, because it is night and day. Night falls, and day breaks. QB is clearly on a roll here. QB can roll, too! Are you listening, Whiteboard?!

This riddle was also answered by an intrepid student…what do you think of their answer? QB thinks they’re close…if you have input, let QB know in the comments.

Three men are abducted and held hostage. The captor tells them he will set them free if they can solve this puzzle. He blindfolds the men, and each is wearing a hat, and stations them along a staircase – one at the top, one in the middle, and one at the bottom. On the captor’s cue, they remove the blindfolds. There are two kinds of hats: red & white. The goal is for one of the prisoners to correctly identify which color hat they are wearing. They maynot remove the hats. The hats have been randomized so that there is either 1 red + 2 white or vice-versa. The prisoners must remain facing forward or else they will be executed. How will they survive? They also may not speak for any reason except to guess.

The student provided answer was:

If they can walk, then they can switch positions. The one that sees two red/white hats know they must be wearing the other hat.

That make sense to QB..do you have any other possible solutions? Very intriguing. Also intriguing is this final riddle, which QB has thought and thought on, but still has no answer for…

I am black as night
Then I am red and bright
Then I am grey and bright
Who am I?
Can you get it right?

If you can figure it out, please share your wisdom with QB in the comment section. And if you can come up with further riddles and ridiculous (though very interesting) questions, remember to get them to QB via the QB online form. From the QB page you can also browse other questions and QB’s lovingly researched answers. Another option is to visit QB in the lower level of the UGL and read answers there. …Please. Follow cousin Whiteboard down here. QB is so lonely.

Thanks to special guest blogger Question Board!

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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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Office Hours are here!

And the award for best student goes to……you! Yes, you! For going to office hours and getting the help offered to you by the librarians and writing center. Hopefully, you have seem the awesome new flyers promoting office hours. We’re all aware that midterms are coming up and we’re scrambling to get projects done and papers turned in. Why not let the librarians and the writing center give you a hand with all that coursework?

The award for SMARTEST HELP ON CITATIONS goes to...Writer's Workshop Consultants!

Check out our awesome new flyers!

In case you haven’t see the flyers promoting office hours, here is the run-down. Office hours for the 2014 spring semester will be Tuesdays 7:00-9:00 P.M. and Wednesdays2:00-4:00 P.M. These will take place in the Undergraduate Library in room 291. You will be able to get in-depth research help from librarians, but wait, that’s not all! A representative from the Writer’s Workshop will also be there to help students with any help they might need.

So there you have it folks, if you need any help with research or finding a certain article, or help with revising an essay, come find us at the UGL! We are more than happy to help! After all, it’s why we’re there.

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UGL 101: Reach Out and Touch (Some Scanner’s Screen)

At the Undergraduate Library, you can reach out and touch our new scanner’s screen, to give your PDFs a better face, if you scan.

You could also scan to a JPEG or other image file, and then immediately send it via email to whoever needs it, or just save it to your smartphone for later. What is it that enables you to do all these things? What has us referencing Diana Ross? It’s the new touchscreen scanners we have on the upper level of the UGL!

You can find these scanners on the north side of the upper level, near where our book scanners and flatbed scanners are. They’re different from our other scanners in a few ways, which is what this blog post will outline for you.

Firstly, when you want to use one, you’ll have to log in with your NetID and password (the same combo you use to get into your illinois.edu email address). After you sign in, it’ll ask you how you want to receive your file – you can scan directly to a USB drive just like our other touchscreen scanners, but you can also choose from several other options.

Options for sending include sending to a smart device, email, USB drives, Google Drive, or the UGL printers.

Files can go anywhere.

You can also save to a variety of different formats. Each format will have different options for you to choose from to get the best quality image for your needs. After scanning (which works the same way as on our other scanners), you’ll be able to edit your file as well, and give it a name  so you can find it again.

Options include black and white, grayscale, or color images; JPEG, PNG, or TIFF files; or PDF, searchable PDF, or Word documents.

Choose wisely.

So many options! That’s the main difference between these new scanners and our others – they give you many options in one place, so you have to think less about which scanner to use. If you need help figuring out which of the options is best for what you need to scan, just ask a librarian at the reference desk or online, and we’ll be happy to get you started. Happy scanning!

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UGL 101: New Collab Room System

Have you studied in one of our incredibly useful group rooms yet this semester? If you have, you may have noticed that the system you used to snag your reservation is a little different than it was before. Read on for a tour of the new system and how to get collaboration rooms when you need them.

To get to the room reservation system, follow the same route you’ve taken before: start on the UGL homepage, then click on the button in the middle menu that says “Group Rooms.” From the group rooms page, look for the heading that says “How Do I Reserve a Room (Call D1bs?)” – underneath that heading is where you’ll find a link to the new reservation system.

When you first click in, you’ll be asked for information about what kind of room you need. How many people are in your group, how long do you need it, and when do you need it? Think generally – “morning,” “afternoon,” or “now” rather than “9 AM.” There’s time to get sepcific later.

Three drop-down menus let you specify your room needs.

For information about how many people can fit in a room, check the group rooms page or the subject guide linked below.

Next, it’ll show you which libraries have rooms available that fit all your needs. Click on the library you’d like to get a room in. If the library is grayed out and you can’t click on it, that means that library doesn’t have rooms that meet your time and space needs.

Information about the location of the rooms within the library is also provided on the second screen.

The “available times” number lets you know how many options are available at each library.

Next, pick a more specific time. The reservations that you see available should be for the same length of time that you specified in the first screen. Remember that rules about how many reservations you can make still stand – 2 hours at a time, twice a week, for a total of 4 hours a week. Click the time period that works best for you.

A list of reservation by time range is visible after selecting your library.

The number to the right shows you how many rooms are available for each specific time slot.

Finally, it’s time to actually reserve your room! On the final screen, put in your name and your @illinois.edu email address – and your phone number, if you’d like text updates – and click the button that says “Call D!bs!” See how clever we are? An email will be sent to your Illinois email address with the details about your room reservation. If you end up needing to cancel your reservation, the email will also contain a link that you can follow to cancel it.

So…tada! That’s the ins and outs of our new group room system. If you need further help with the system or if you have questions about room policies, we have a handy group room subject guide for you. You can also Ask a Librarian, as always. Happy collaborating!

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Fall Break Hours

At last! Fall break is nearly here. If you’re travelling over the holiday to see loved ones or just for vacation, we hope you have a safe and happy time of it. If you’re sticking around for all or most of the week, we hope you get as much working or relaxing done as you hope to. And you know…if you happen to need somewhere to hang out…the UGL will still be here. Here are our hours for fall break, in case you need or want to stop in.

Vintage Turkey lookin' fly

Photo courtesy of Evan Traveler on Flickr

Friday, November 22nd: Close at 7 PM
Saturday, November 23rd: Closed
Sunday, November 24th: Closed
Monday, November 25th: Open 8:30 AM – 5 PM
Tuesday, November 26th: Open 8:30 AM – 5 PM
Wednesday, November 27th: Open 8:30 AM – 5 PM
Thursday, November 28th: Closed – Happy Thanksgiving!
Friday, November 29th: Closed
Saturday, November 30th: Closed
Sunday, December 1st: Open at 1 PM; resume regular semester hours

If you want to grab something to read, check out the UGL’s Pinterest boards for tons of reading recommendations. Remember that if your books or movies are due while you’re out of town for the holiday, you can renew them using your online account to avoid overdue notices! Have a great break, and we’ll be here for you when you come back refreshed and ready to finish your semester strong!

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The Best of QB

You’ve all walked past the famous (and recently restyled) Question Board, affectionately known as QB, at some point. You may have marveled at QB’s magical powers of research and punnery. Now, as the leaves turn, the weather gets colder, and movie critic fingers tap out best-of lists, we’ve got a list of our own: the three best answers from Question Board, plus a surprise!

(Looking for the full text of these QB winners? Visit the QB archive!)

Let’s start with what QB is best known for. No, it’s not hilarious references. It’s using library resources! There are a few contenders for the best use of library resources, but last year, QB answered a question about the wide, weird world of jean shorts, and came out the other side with more knowledge than you can shake a sewing needle at. QB personally told the bloggers here at the UGL that this research is a particular point of pride for QB. Let’s take a look at the question, shall we?

Vintage photo of young women harvesting cabbage

These ladies are looking pretty suave in their jean shorts.

“Dear QB: Why do most women consider denim shorts (or ‘jorts’) on males to be unfashionable? Is this a psychological or neurological phenomenon? Also, are there any known health effects associated with wearing denim shorts?”

QB was able to answer this question with style galore, although without wearing a pair of jorts:

“Dear Fashion Forward:

QB was quite pleased to get your question. Not having legs, QB has never worn a pair of jorts, although QB suspects they may be quite comfortable. To start with, QB thought it might be wise to get some background information on denim in general…”

The fully-covered answer can be found here on the QB website. But QB isn’t just known for looking good while doing research; QB is also a pun machine. Let’s take a look at the answer to this burning question:

“Dear QB: There are so many squirrels on this campus – but where is all their poop?!”

QB’s answer began as such:

“Dear Scatman,
While squirrels may be ubiquitous on the UIUC campus, credible, scholarly information about their defecation habits is most definitely not. QB searched long and hard through the resources available in the University of Illinois library system and was unable to come up with even the faintest whiff of research on the subject…”

You can find the entire punfully entertaining answer revealed here. And if you’re looking for more squirrel info, QB has sent this squirrel to the reference librarians pretty often, and seems to find it funny.

In the land of the library there live many very proud nerds of all kinds. We here at the blog would like to give QB a shout-out for musically nerding it up while answering this question:

“Dear QB: Did the Obama’s political allies assassinate Tupac in order to prevent Tupac’s presidency?”

Sad cartoon character in headphones

We miss you, Tupac. (Image courtesy of kreezzalee on Flickr)

QB responds thusly:

“Dear Conspiracy Theorist,
QB applauds your keen eye in looking back at 1996… the year that saw the death of Tupac Shakur on September 13th…work your way through biographies of all the major players (the libraries here on campus have books on Tupac, Notorious B.I.G., Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, and Suge Knight…”

Such research (found in its complete form here)! And presented in such beautiful style!

This brings us to our surprise: the podcast. Didn’t you know we have podcasts? You’ve been missing out! Hear all the voices of QB on iTunes here and subscribe to listen to QB’s magnificent answers. Don’t have iTunes? No problem—QB makes sure that there is always a podcast up and ready online, right above the text of QB’s answer. Our favorite (and one of QB’s as well) answers the age old question:

“Dear QB: How come you can’t keep your eyes open when you sneeze? Is your body protecting your eyes from popping out?”

Find the podcast here and listen to your heart’s content.

So there you have it: QB’s top three answers—and a magnificent podcast to boot. Visit QB on the lower level of the UGL anytime for more thoughtful answers, or check out QB on the UGL website.  If you’ve got your own questions, don’t be shy—ask QB! QB is ready and raring to answer your most pressing and random questions. Anything you’ve ever wondered about but were too confused or embarrassed to look up yourself – QB can handle it for you.

Got a research question? QB is a busy board answering all your trivia questions. Try the Undergraduate Library Research Desk on the upper level or use our Ask-A-Librarian service online!

Special thanks to guest blogger Zoe Weinstein.

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