Brain Powered Games
Genre: Multi-game Suite
Tool: Unity 3d
Project Length: 12 Months
Role: Designer / Programmer
Team Size: 6
- Butterfly Training – Simple game to teach the player how to interact with the game using a mouse or touch screen
- iSpy – A memory game where objects appear and disappear
- Stampede – Player has to find specific animals as they run across the screen
- Whacky Animals – A Whack-a-mole style game
- Findings to be published in a neurosciences medical journal
Brain Powered Games is a brain exercise game developed for the Games for Entertainment and Learning Lab at Michigan State University as part of a health initiative to help children in Africa who are recovering from Malaria. Development is ongoing and a pilot study of the current prototype is underway. I initially joined the project in the summer of 2012 as the primary programmer along with an artist and another designer. As we finished up the design phase with several basic prototypes, we moved more into an implementation phase by bringing on more programmers with the designer and artist becoming less involved. Eventually, my role shifted to more of the design and management, coordinating the efforts of the coding team.
The game is a pack of mini-games that exercise different areas of the brain such as hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness and short term memory.
This project was not only challenging on several fronts, but also very rewarding. The main design challenge we faced was catering the games for an audience young African audience. We tried to theme the game as much as possible to Africa with music and visuals but we also had to make sure our mechanics were intuitive enough to require very little text based instructions.
I personally got to take the game to Uganda with the two principal investigators, Dr. Michael Boivin of Michigan State and Dr. Bruno Giordani of University of Michigan along with the director of the GEL lab Prof. Brian Winn. We got to meet the teams currently working in the field and playtested our prototype with them. It was a great experience and we learned a lot about how the game will be used in the study. After making some adjustments, we gave the team several builds of the game to start up a pilot study.