Normally the Grolsch Veste is the setting for the local football topper, but Friday it was the turn of the game festival WIRWAR. From three in the afternoon until twelve at night, video cards worked overtime to introduce students and companies to various games. The eSportslab and Esports Team Twente were also present.
In the midst of a large LAN party, a virtual reality gaming room and a FIFA tournament, the eSportslab is located in the Grolsch Veste. Guido Bruinsma, UT scientist and co-founder of the lab, says that they are present today to inform people and promote the lab, but also to recruit sponsors. According to Bruinsma, the researchers in the lab combine several disciplines at the UT. “Motion science provides knowledge about gamers' attitudes, while data and computer science help design complex systems.”
He says that psychology plays a major role in research into gamers' behaviour. The research focuses not only on the performance of gamers, but also on 'serious gaming': games as a solution to real problems in the world. The eSportslab has already collaborated with the eDivisie, FIFA's highest national league, and with the Royal Navy, who use games to improve their soft skills and collaboration.
High level gaming
Next to him are several students in t-shirts from Esports Team Twente (ETT). The eSportslab and ETT are independent of each other, but work closely together, says Teun Kok, member of ETT: 'In principle there are four entities: ETT, the eSportslab, the BMS lab and Blueshell Esports. They all work together within the world of esports. ETT focuses on high-level gaming and research, the eSports lab on research and the BMS lab supports research into, for example, eye tracking and virtual reality with the necessary materials. Blueshell is the game association of the UT.'
Several games will be played during the afternoon and, according to Kok, the Twente team has a chance to win prizes at Counter-Strike, a five against five shooting game, in which Kok himself also plays. With five in a row behind their own computers, they focus on making it to the final where 'Shiftys 5' waits as an opponent. They win and go home with the cup, which is sponsored by Exite – ICT.
It is no coincidence that the cup is sponsored. Every prize is sponsored, as is every game being played today. The festival partly aims to introduce students and companies from the region to each other. That is something that could happen more, according to Bruinsma. “During the corona crisis, we saw that it was difficult for people to get in touch with each other. Companies and students sometimes come into contact with each other through sports, but not through esports.” That is why they have now started the Esports Ladder at the BMS lab: a project to encourage the connection between company and student, but also between companies in Twente. “A kind of cross between an esports league and LinkedIn.”
Later in the evening it turns out that the Twente team did not only compete for the prizes at Counter-Strike. They drag in one prize after the other and win at Super Smash Bros, Rocket League and Formula 1 racing. A successful day for Esports Team Twente in the Grolsch Veste, which will be concluded with a performance by DJ Charly Smith.