July 26, 2011: UIC/EVL "Fleet Commander" video goes viral
On July 11, 2011, the UIC Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) posted a short video of the game "Fleet Commander," developed by EVL graduate student Arthur Nishimoto, on its YouTube page. As of today, the video has gone viral - and has more than 275,000 hits! News articles about the video appear in several online publications.
"Fleet Commander," an homage to the epic battles in Star Wars' Return of the Jedi, is more than an entertaining game. It is a real-time interactive application developed by Nishimoto to create and test features for the multi-user touch screen overlay that EVL had purchased and installed on its large, tiled display wall, named Cyber-Commons. Access to new large-format display technologies such as Cyber-Commons and new multi-user, multi-touch input devices motivate EVL students to develop new user-interaction techniques and to advance computer science research. By working with applications, EVL students are assured that what they develop is useful and useable to diverse user communities.
Luke Plunkett, of the publication Kotaku, says "Forget everything you know about Star Wars' games. The ones that used control pads, mice or keyboards. Because Fleet Commander, a student project, might just blow them all out the airlock....it's like seeing a childhood dream of the perfect video game come to life."
To date, articles about the game appear in the following publications.
While EVL received notoriety in 1977 for helping develop the computer graphics "briefing room" scene for the first Star Wars' movie, today's faculty, staff and students continue to be fans of the Star Wars' universe.