Games + Science
One of the greatest challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic is convincing people to take the necessary actions to protect their own and others’ safety in order to do what health experts call “flattening the curve.” Behavioral research shows that the two most important factors in prosocial pandemic behavior are critical thinking and belief in science. We believe games are uniquely suited to take on this challenge by translating data into stories, demonstrating the relationship between individual behaviors and large-scale impacts, connecting the micro to the macro. Importantly, we think that game thinking can translate complex systems into a form that is easily digestible by a broader public. Our hypothesis is that games that can do this will motivate people to flatten the curve of Coronavirus through individual and collective action.
Make a Difference
Jamming the Curve is a two-week, distributed “slow jam” that invites diverse creators from around the world to develop games that can help translate data into stories through the use of real scientific models. A partnership between IndieCade, LabX, Georgia Tech, Gaming for Our Future, Seattle Indies, INDCOR (funded by COST - the European Cooperation in Science & Technology), and Northeastern University’s Game Studio, the project provides gamemakers access to two simulation engines, one in Unity and one in html—developed at Georgia Tech—that allow them to develop games based on epidemiological models built with real world scientific data. The simulation engines support the creation of games that will enable players to interact with a range of real-world COVID-19 variables to see different outcomes. The simulations allow game creators to model a variety of scenarios, ranging from individual stories, to small-scale systems, such as a family, grocery store, school or neighborhood, to large-scale systems like a city or an airline network.
Simulation Engine and Game Demonstrations: https://indiecadejammingthecurve.iac.gatech.edu
Resources and Preparation for the Jam
As a run-up to the event, Jamming the Curve launched with a July 29th workshop as part of IndieCade’s Summer Series which introduced the simulation engine, demonstration games created at Georgia Tech and INDCOR’s summer Complexity Jam, and receive feedback from game design and scientific experts, and a tutorial on how to use the simulation engine in game development. The workshop has been recorded to enable those interested in participating in the jam to review the materials and have advance access to the engine, as well as the previously developed games.
Launch Workshop Video: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/699454158
Sean Bloom plays the games from Georgia Tech and INDCOR’s ComplexityJam: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/699460685
JAM SCHEDULE & MILESTONES
7/29-9/1 Launch Workshop
7/29-9/1 Itch.io Sign-Up Open
9/15 Jam Kickoff
9/21 Prototype Milestone
10/1 Final Game Prototypes Due
10/1-10/12 Covid Jam Award Jurying
10/16-10/18 Demo Session & Game Jam Awards at IndieCade Anywhere & Everywhere