Natural History Museum Gesture Controlled Interactive, Davey Awards 2013
Natural History Museum
Challenge

Working with the physical and practical demands of an international touring exhibition, a stand-out interactive experience was required to communicate the potentially complex and somber subject matter of mass extinction to a young audience. The game had to attract single or multiplayers, and to engage with them to deliver a number of key learning outcomes in a fun and memorable way.

Solution

In close partnership with the museum, we created a light hearted, addictive and meaningful multiplayer game that combines delicately balanced design with innovative technology. In ‘Survivor’, players are responsible for nurturing one of three distinct species in a hostile world in order to understand what it takes to survive the longest. Using bespoke gesture technology, the players' hand movements allow them to herd their species around a dynamic terrain. They compete for relevant food types that maintains their heath, and precious Survival Tokens that encourage players to adjust their species' 'traits' on an accompanying touch screen. The chances of survival is directly affected by their species' size, diet, mobility and fertility. All the while, the changing environment threatens them with dramatic random extinction events such as meteor strikes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and freezing glacier... Survival rests in the players hands, quite literally.

Outcome

A deep immersion into the subject and the attention to detail in the creative - from concept and UX, to visual and audio design, resulted in a benchmark project that successfully conveyed educational messages in an intuitive, entertaining and original game. The styling meant the game is very approachable despite the grim topic, and players easily connected to and even felt responsible for the strange but endearing species under their care. The painstakingly conceived game mechanics allowed single or multiplayers to enjoy the game at any point without hindering other players in an ongoing survival test of the fittest. The game is further supported by backend systems such as auto camera calibration that adjusts itself to different lighting conditions, and a feature that enables staff to change the content to any language as the game travels the world. And as well as being a unique gameplay quality, the game's gesture control also meant that there are no physical parts to break by over excited players!