ViGHaL – Video Game Hardware Laboratory

The Klaus 1446 ECE computer lab contains some high-performance hardware geared
towards real-time 3-D graphics and/or scientific computation. These resources
may be used for classwork and also for “extracurricular activities” such as
the Indie Games Club (Georgia Tech ACM
SIG on Game Development
the Entertainment Software
, and various ad-hoc student
teams that have formed around various indie game contests. Of course,
students needing these resources to complete class assignments should have
priority over other activities.

ECE students (and
any student currently enrolled in an ECE class) should have buzz card access to
this lab and be able to log into the PCs. If you need buzz card
access (for instance, a CoC student who needs to use
the Xboxes) but do not have it, please contact
Prof. Lanterman.

Many thanks to the
Computer Support Group
especially Peter Huyhn, for
helping get all this hardware and software set up.

The lab contains the following goodies:

  • The PCs are Dell Precision T3400s with Intel Pentium Core 2 Duo 3 GHz
    CPUs running Windows
    These PCs were purchased using “Technology Fee” funds, so they should
    be primarily devoted to classwork (broadly including UROP and Special
    Problems) and student-driven projects (for instance, for
    indie game clubs).
    Some of the PCs (but not all) in the back two rows have
    high-end GPU cards kindly donated by NVIDIA or AMD/ATI.
    The back two rows have 8 PCs each, containing:

    ATI 2900 ATI 2900 GeForce 8600 GeForce 8600 NVS290 NVS290 NVS290 NVS290
    ATI 2900 ATI 2900 GeForce 8600 GeForce 8600 GeForce 9800 GX2 GeForce 9800 GX2 NVS290 NVS290

    The leftmost entries in the table are by
    the door and the second line is the back row.
    The 9800 GX2 cards have 1 gig of RAM; the other card have 512 meg of RAM (I
    think). CUDA will only run on the NVIDIA cards. The 9800 GX2s are capable of
    double-precision floating point, but the rest will only do single-precision.
    Note the NVS290 are not fancy 3-D cards; they are the standard graphics cards
    for the machines in that lab. I am including them as placeholders.


  • The PCs with the good graphics cards are equipped with the following
    • DirectX 9 SDK
    • NVIDIA SDK 9
    • Cg Toolkit 2.2
    • XNA Game Studio 3.1 (works with Visual Studio 2008)
    • CUDA (only runs on the machines with NVIDIA cards)


  • Additional software might potentially be
    made available for the PCs
    • The Unity engine and
      Epic’s UDK
      (Unreal Development Kit) may be installed
      upon request; contact Prof. Lanterman if interested
    • Georgia Tech has a campus-wide

      site license for the C4
      . Although the
      license strictly limits
      its use to Georgia Tech research and education efforts, students who use it
      are eligible for a 50% discount on purchasing their
      own personal
      indie license
      after graduating.
      Contact Prof. Lanterman
      to learn more about using the C4 Engine.
    • There is the possibility of obtaining a relatively inexpensive
      licenses for Valve’s
      Source Engine
      and SDK
      along with assets from much of Valve’s catalog (3-D models, animation
      data, sounds, level data structures, C++ script code, etc.), for
      use in a class.
      Contact Prof.
      to learn more.
    • If you need any other software, contact
      Prof. Lanterman.


  • Four Xbox 360s (kindly on loan from
    Blair MacIntyre
    of the
    School of
    Interactive Computing
    are on the table by the door.
    Each Xbox has a gamertag/profile
    titled “mpglabx” where
    x is an integer number from 1 to 4 (inclusive).
    These gamertags have “Creator’s Club” memberships.
    Students may log into Xbox Live using these gamertags and hence be able to
    run Game Studio Connect on the Xbox, which allows the user to
    load and run
    XNA games on the Xbox
    . The PCs in the lab with good graphics cards have
    XNA Game Studio 3.1 installed, and can be used as host PCs for the Xboxes.
    (Both the PCs and the Xboxes are on the same subnet, which is necessary
    for the connection to work).
    Alternatively, users can bring in their own ethernet cable, disconnect
    the ethernet running from the wall to the Xbox at the Xbox, hook their
    laptop to the Xbox, and “share” the wireless connection on their laptop
    with the Xbox to be able to connect to Xbox Live. (If you do this, please
    reconnect the original ethernet cable when you are done!)
    Please direct questions to
    Prof. Lanterman.
  • A Playstation 3 loaded with

    will appear next to the
    Xboxes once we figure out how to secure it. This is to support research
    with the Cell processor that would benefit from a graphical display. (For
    batch-type jobs, we recommend getting an account on
    CellBuzz, which is a
    cluster of IBM QS20 dual-Cell blades).
    Unfortunately, Sony has not released a Linux
    driver for
    the RSX graphics chip in the Playstation 3, so Linux users are stuck with a
    relatively slow framebuffer graphics mode – you can see the machine stutter
    when you move a window. 🙁

    Contact Prof. Lanterman
    about getting an account on the Playstation 3.

This page was last updated on 1/19/2010.