Building on rich history and leveraging expertise from more than four years of high-end commercial production work as well as innovative academic research, M-Lab is a development laboratory which specializes in creating new commercial opportunities within the realm of digital entertainment.
The beginnings of M-Lab date back to 2006 when the School of Design of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University established a new applied research and consultancy laboratory to provide the University with a bridge to "real world" projects, best practices, vision and industry leadership that leveraged the expertise of the School.
Multimedia Entrepreneurial Research, Education and Creative Laboratory, or MERECL for short, officially opened its doors on March 1, 2006. Based at Cyberport, a USD2 billion landmark project and home to many ICT and digital content tenants, MERECL occupied a net floor area of close to 7,500 square feet and hosted over 2 dozens of multimedia experts.
MERECL won several major research and development grants from the University, the Hong Kong Government, and the Innovation and Technology Comission. These projects included an award-winning game engine, Lucid Platform, for development of multiplayer online games, new algorithms for avatar creation, and character motion synthesis.
MERECL also provided training in digital creative skills (such as screenplay writing or motion capture), but mainly focused on collaboration with top tier global game studios, such as Eutechnyx (UK based game developer specializing in car racing games), A2M (Canada's largest independent game studio), Lamplighter Studios (San Francisco based company offering 3D models and animation for interactive entertainment and video games), and Sony. The production services to these companies included art assets creation, animation, design, and programming.
In 2008, MERECL relocated from Cyberport to InnoCentre. This grade A office complex located in the luxurious neighborhood of Kowloon Tong has been built to promote innovation and entrepreneurship and houses a cluster of high-value adding design professionals and companies. With the new office space, MERECL repositioned itself as PlayLab, a meaningful game studio.
Combining solid foundation of research on behavior modification and gameplay methods and technology, PlayLab focused on developing games that conveyed a positive, but meaningful message through fun, innovative and addictive gameplay. The message could be related to education, raising awareness of environmental issues, healthy lifestyle, or changing attitudes towards drug use. The focus in this domain led to our collaboration with, among others, the Jane Goodall Institue (Hong Kong), the Narcotics Division of the Government of HKSAR, Andy Lau, and NeuroSky.
In June 2010, PlayLab transformed into M-Lab. We are still located at InnoCentre in the space of more than 10,000 square feet with an access to all University facilities that include a TV and motion capture studio, a sound mixing, game development and research lab, and a professional training centre. Building on our rich history and leveraging the expertise from more than four years of competing successfully for high-end commercial production work and innovative research, we now specialize in creating new commercial opportunities in the digital entertainment realm.