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Professor Graham Morgan Unveils the Transformative Power of Game Development Beyond Entertainment



Mett.Ai Leadership Desk

From Healthcare to AI-driven Finance: How Game Technology is Shaping Diverse Fields and Future Careers

In the ever-evolving landscape of gaming technology, where reality and imagination intersect, Professor Graham Morgan stands as a visionary at the forefront of innovation. With a keen focus on distributed systems, cloud computing, real-time simulations, and digital healthcare, Professor Morgan, hailing from Newcastle University, sheds light on how the dynamic landscape of gaming is interweaving with diverse fields. From powering stroke patient recovery to steering the trajectory of AI-driven financial instruments, his insights underscore the profound influence of video game advancements beyond the gaming realm. In an exclusive interaction with Mett.AI, Professor Morgan offers a fascinating glimpse into the manifold ways game development principles are propelling innovation and shaping future careers.

The following are the excerpts from the interview:

Q. Can you share your insights on how the research and advancements in video game development have contributed to or benefited other fields or disciplines beyond the gaming industry?

Newcastle has pioneered several uses for gaming technology, including delivering video games to promote and monitor stroke patient recovery and diagnosing eye disorders in children via 3D games. The strive for realism has enabled video game technologies to immediately impact the movie industry while presenting suitable simulations in which to train robots using artificial intelligence. The rapid solving of routes and paths of exploration for game characters feed into self-drive vehicle research and route map finding. If technology enables something to happen in a game, it has the potential to be transferable to the real world.

Q. Video game development is a multidisciplinary field. How do you see the principles and techniques from video game development crossing over into other areas of teaching and research, such as digital healthcare or real-time simulations?

At Newcastle, we excel in enabling technologies that infuse realism into video games. Our collaborations with leading video game studios highlight our technology's capabilities, from simulating fluid dynamics for flood management to the material deformation of composite materials. In digital healthcare, we combine artificial intelligence and statistical analysis with gameplay patterns to monitor recovery for diseases restricting movement. An area often overlooked in relation to video game programming is automated share dealing and financial futures prediction. We have highlighted how the equations used to enhance realism in video games can also refine the performance of AI-driven financial instruments.

Q. With the rising popularity of gaming as a potential career path, how do you believe students studying game development are benefiting from the skills and knowledge they acquire? What are the broader career prospects for these students beyond the gaming industry?

Programming with a focus on performance and resource conservation (creating faster programs that use less memory) is central to all technological advancements. For instance, aligning machine hardware with the optimal program structure is essential for meeting real-time demands, ranging from embedded systems in health monitors to real-time navigation in autonomous space vehicles. Such skilled programmers are sought after across all industries and at every level.

Q. Newcastle University's Game Technology Lab has been a hub for industry-driven innovation. Could you elaborate on the lab's mission, its contributions to the gaming industry, and its collaboration with other sectors?

Our mission is clear: to develop the enabling technologies that bring realism to real-time simulations and to nurture the talent that propels this innovation into the industry. With over 40 industry partners, 500 alumni in the video games sector, and up to 20 industry-based projects annually, we have contributed to some of the best-selling video games ever.

Q. The gaming industry in India has seen significant growth, mainly due to factors like smartphone adoption and the pandemic. In your opinion, how can educational institutions like Newcastle University play a role in nurturing this interest in game development and contributing to the industry's growth?

We consistently welcome students from India to our programmes, and many remain actively involved in our alumni group on LinkedIn. This network serves as a platform to highlight advanced job opportunities within the global video games industry. Furthermore, our distinguished alumni in prominent roles often seek the expertise of our past students, fostering a cycle of mutual growth. India benefits from the skills imparted through our courses, and our alumni are well-positioned to offer opportunities for students returning to the country.

Q. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are integral to modern game development. Could you discuss how these technologies are shaping the future of video games and potentially influencing other sectors?

Artificial intelligence (AI) fulfils dual roles: (1) Assisting in programming through tools like GitHub Go, and (2) Enhancing in-game experiences via artificially controlled non-player characters (NPCs). At Newcastle, you can anticipate AI's integration in both these dimensions. Moreover, AI is shaping various facets of gaming, from optimizing bitrates in streamed games to enhancing the adaptability of in-game interface responses. As we move forward, AI will be integral to every stage of video game development and the gameplay experience itself.

Q. The Game Engineering MSc program at Newcastle University offers a unique blend of industry-focused education. Could you outline some of the program's key features and how it prepares students for the dynamic world of game technology?

A standout feature of the MSc is its tailored design in collaboration with the video games industry to address the high demand for engine-level programming, an area currently facing a skills shortage. With over 30 industry partners and a lecture series featuring major industry figures, our students not only benefit from technologically driven talks but also receive invitations to collaborate. Consequently, Newcastle students enjoy unparalleled access to some of the industry's giants, even getting opportunities to work on major games while still enrolled at Newcastle.

Q. As the gaming landscape continues to evolve, what advice would you give to aspiring students and professionals looking to make a mark in the gaming industry?

Become a programmer with a deep understanding of computer operations, enabling you to design efficient programs. Harness artificial intelligence to amplify your coding creativity in this domain.

Q. Looking ahead, what exciting trends or developments do you foresee in the realm of game technology and its influence on other technological domains?

Gaming platforms now offer shared experiences streamed directly to any device, shifting away from hardware-specific gaming. Meanwhile, artificial intelligence is harnessed to craft and expand content on a grand, real-world scale.

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