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What is MAGIC?

Magic is a digital media research center at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and contains within it a research laboratory (the RIT Laboratory for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction & Creativity), and a production studio (MAGIC Spell Studios, LLC.)

Where is MAGIC located?

The physical offices of MAGIC are in Student Innovation Hall, Building 87, on campus at RIT in W. Henrietta, NY (see map). Virtually, we exist at magic.rit.edu, on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and similar services. Affiliate researchers in MAGIC have access to digital tools and systems from anywhere in the world.

Who can use the MAGIC Center?

The resources of the MAGIC Center are available to the entire campus community, with some caveats. While the building, and laboratory, are open to all RIT faculty and students pursuing digital media development, our affiliates, partners and projects have first priority. Specifically, we have established a policy hierarchy that students engaged in funded projects (i.e. paid via MAGIC through a project account, sponsorship, or similar means, or those projects that are a part of MAGIC Spell Studios or fall within the research agenda of affiliated faculty) have first priority. Next, students or faculty engaged in ‘start-up’ projects: i.e. those that will result in future work at a larger scale will be supported. Finally, any other use which is appropriate and which falls within RIT’s policies on computer use is supported as resources are available. Any and all use of the MAGIC Center must be in line with its general mission of the study and exploration of digital media: this includes speaker series, special events, meetings and gatherings, etc.

What kinds of resources are available in the MAGIC lab?

The MAGIC Center features a wide array of hardware and software that we use in constructing our digital media experiments. The main lab features 22 stations equipped with dual-screen (one touchscreen) Alienware workstations with the Adobe Creative Cloud, Autodesk Entertainment Suite, Visual Studio, Eclipse, Unity, and numerous other software and development environments. Each station is dual-boot capable between Windows and Red Hat Linux, and is connected to our development infrastructure for file storage, SVN, GIT, server development, etc. A unique feature of the lab is the construction of virtual machines on the fly for deployment in media-centric applications and testing. Through the Mobile Zone initiative, the lab also has numerous mobile devices and one-of-a-kind hardware solutions available for check out and development access.

In addition, the MAGIC Center features a round meeting area that seats approximately 100 people that doubles as our holodeck: there are three round curved walls that define the outside of the space, across which 9 HD projectors are seamlessly aligned. These projectors are driving by a machine with numerous nVidia graphics cards using customized software to create a seamless desktop that wraps around the entire space at extremely high pixel density. The applications for this are endless, but some that come to mind are shared media experiences, data visualization, medical simulation, data analytics display, and media-centric artistic and expressive performances.

Is the MAGIC Center the Student Center for Innovation?

In a word, no. The CSI was a former administrative entity that used to reside in Student Innovation Hall. In the spring of 2013, that entity merged with the Simone Center to form the Simone Center of Student Innovation & Entrepreneurship. While the Simone Center still occupies a portion of Innovation Hall, the MAGIC Center is a separate organization. That said, we often partner with the Simone Center on various initiatives, and are generally supportive of their mission as a student incubator. (The CSI is no longer an administrative entity as of July 1, 2013).

Can the MAGIC Center publish my game/app/digital creation?

Yes! One of the primary reasons we established MAGIC Spell Studios was to act as a third-party publisher for student and faculty work. We’re engaged with major distribution networks such as iTunes, Google Play, XBOX Live, etc. and are in the process of establishing channels and protocols for this activity. We’re essentially providing resources, personnel, and operations for developers in lieu of them having to deal with the complexity and cumbersome nature of setting up their own business. We’re also committed to helping developers tell their own story, branding and marketing the things folks are making at RIT.

Did we forget something?

Contact Jennifer Hinton, Assistant Director of the MAGIC Center with your question, and we will do our best to get it answered! If it’s one that we get a lot (or one that we just like) we’ll be sure to post it here.