In June 2020, the team received Innovate UK funding to develop an educational game on COVID-19. We are now 2 months into the project and this is development update #2
The last few weeks of development have been focused on prototype development and testing. For the first build we focused on game mechanics and controls to assess if the game concept would be interesting and enjoyable.
For the first prototype build we focused on setting up the basic game environment. The key game concept is for the player to develop strategies to combat COVID-19 using immune system, drugs and vaccine. The game is set in the lungs but we have created an abstract environment to separate the game from death to reduce anxiety.
The first prototype build also included introduction screens on social distancing and risks in different age groups. The goal was to test player acceptance of this content - important in such a rapidly evolving and changing situation.
For artwork, the initial prototype phase focused on developing concept art for characters including vaccine, environment and introduction screens.
Prototype Testing: The first prototype build was tested with an exciting group of our partners and collaborators. Over 150 students from Nunnery Wood High School (Gloucestershire) and Nova Hreod Academy in Swindon tested the prototype as a WebGL game on web browsers. The students played the game and gave excellent feedback on game context, usability, learning capability, enjoyment and areas of frustration. Students also commented on the effectiveness of the game concept and vaccine mechanic. Interestingly, 25% of students reported that their favourite part of the game was “defeating coronavirus” The prototype was also tested with our collaborators at Queens University Belfast who tested the build for scientific accuracy, and our collaborator at University of Stirling, for health messaging and education.
Over the next few weeks the team will:
Address tester comments in prototype build 2 which will include more functionality, leveling up and more game artwork
Complete work on game teaser trailer
Send second prototype for testing with schools in Scotland and COVID-19 collaborators at University of Glasgow, QBU and Stirling University
For more information on the project or game, please contact us here or visit our contact page.