sábado, 6 de outubro de 2012

Quatis Project: Biodiversity and digital learning

I mentioned, a few weeks ago on my semester's preview, my participation on a UFMG (a brazilian University) project for the development of an ecologic educational game about Mangabeiras Park. And as promised, here's a post with a little more about the game.

Formed by an ICB (Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Biological Sciences Institute in english) studies group from UFMG, the project's main objective is to teach the population about the variety and fragility of the species that live in Mangabeiras Park, a natural park with a green area of approximately 337 hectares. Through events, long range campaigns and research about the behavior of the creatures that inhabit the park, the group has acted to educate and guarantee the balance of the huge ecosystem that is the park.

Although there are about 28 species of mammals, 160 species of birds, 20 species of reptiles and 19 of amphibians living on the 2.8 million kilometers of the park, the animal in the spotlight of the project is the Quati.
Object of study that resulted on the monograph of one of the founders of the group, the Nasua nasua (scientific name of the animal) has diurnal habits and feeds on insects, fruits, small mammals and, unfortunately, remains of food, trash and food given by visitors. That high offer of food, combined with the absence of predators resulted on the highest Quatis population density ever registered, what poses a threat to the balance of the ambient.

And that's where the game comes in.

Provisory Main Menu ;)

To meet the need of teaching the population about the eating habits of the Quati and other animals that 
live in the park, one of the many approaches chosen was the digital game. Relatively simple and yet rich in content, the interactive media has a great potential to teach fast in a fun way.

The game is being developed for the Web with Unity and will be available on the web site of the project.

The original idea was to develop a platform game that would happen on Mangabeiras Park. The player would be able to control, besides the Quati, two other animals featured in the project (Jacu and Mico-Estrela) and would have the mission of exploring the park looking for food, winning points when eating good food and losing them when eating bad food.
However, due to several problems with a prototype made with Game Maker and the significantly higher reach of a simpler game, we decided to take another route and create a memory game with images and information about the species and the park.

"Memória natural" (in english, Natural Memory), name chosen for the game, features three game modes, each one with three different difficulty settings and a star ranking based on the score of the player on each level. The game modes are:
  • Memory: Tradicional memory game where the player must find a pair for each card he picks.
  • Know More: On this mode the player must find the pair with the content that completes the content of the previous picked card.
  • Answer: On this one the player has to find the cards answering the questions asked.

The 2D art and the music are 100% original, made in collaboration with other participant members of the project, amazing artists by the way. The cartoonish style was meant to settle the charismatic tone and please the main public of the game (children mostly, but that doesn't mean you can't have fun with it ;D ). The game will be ready on the beginning of November, as soon as it's online I'll post the link here. Meanwhile here's some images of the game:


Any sugestions, doubts or critics, just send me a message. And if you like, visit the project's website (portuguese only).

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