My name is Trond Nilsen, and I’m a computer scientist, research consultant, and eternal student. That’s me on the right.
Currently, I’m based in Christchurch, New Zealand, where I’m working as a software engineer, research consultant, and general geek at large. Later this year, though, I’m moving to Seattle to take up a PhD fellowship. You can imagine that I’m pretty excited about that.
In 2001, I graduated from the University of Canterbury with a bachelors degree in computer science and philosophy. In 2006, I completed a MSc(hons) in computer science there, based out of the HITLab NZ. After a two years working and travelling, I’m getting back into formal study at the University of Washington in Seattle, USA.
I have over eight years experience as a software engineer; I also have several years experience in small team project management – most recently, I was Technical Lead at e2-media, a web and business software house based in Christchurch. In addition, I have worked on and led several research projects related to games and education at the University of Canterbury, alongside colleagues Mick Grimley, and Richard Green. Together, we founded Applied Games Research, a consultancy focusing on the ways in which games and similar technologies can be applied in education, research, and advertising.
For my masters thesis, I examined the design of strategy games using augmented reality, implemented the world’s first virtual tabletop real-time strategy game, and ran several user studies looking at the implications of contemporary augmented reality interfaces on player experience and motivation. This work grew out of earlier work on hybrid user interfaces for command and control applications that I did with the assitance of Dr Julian Looser, then a PhD candidate at the HIT Lab NZ.
Since graduating, I have participated in a range of research into the role of games in motivating students and improving educational outcomes. More recently, I have advised and provided technical assistance to a new effort at creating a national academic and education virtual world for New Zealand, based on the OpenSim platform.