Illinois students create chemistry videogames

Uploaded by Illinois1867 on 14.07.2011

GUY GARNETT: We tried to bring together students from across the entire campus
with a variety of backgrounds, a variety of skills and what they essentially do is
learn to build a game. They design it, they plan it, they have to pitch it to their
colleagues. We winnow down from 48 game ideas down to the final game ideas that
eventually get built, and the idea is that they really put their programming skills,
their design skills, their graphic skills, and their organizational skills, bring that
to bear on a really practical problem, in this
case, building a game. EDEE WIZIECKI: The ICLCS is a project of the
national science foundation, we work with 124 rural high school teachers to teach
chemistry and to incorporate computational tools in the high school chemistry
courses. It would be wonderful if some of those interactive experiences that
students have would be using games in the classroom to teach the concepts.
GUY GARNETT: They were tasked with trying to identify high school chemistry
elements that then they could incorporate in the game so that high school students
could play their game and learn something about high school chemistry concepts.
DAVE MATTSON: Some of the games were kind of created with the idea that
students are learning through the game, some are that students are learning outside
the game but then the game kind of assesses their knowledge of the chemistry, and
then I think some of the creators thought of it more like "here's a fun game, it
introduces some chemistry concepts" so that when they see those concepts in the
classroom they'll be able to say "oh, yeah, I remember seeing something like this."
(ACADEMIOPOLY): This game is Academiopoly, this basically is a multi‐player tower
defense game. (ELEMENT0): This is element0, what we have
here is a list of comics that will start off the exposition for the game. Basically
we start off in the Research Center of Research where something is amiss. A failed
experiment gone rogue has returned to destroy the lab and release all the failed
experiments upon it. However in the chaos, he also releases element0 from his test tube,
which is where we start. (ACID AND BASE): So the basis of this game
is you play as three characters, Acid, Base, and Red, with Red being a little human
kid. The goal of the game is to get Red back home.
(ATTROMIC): So there's a map, you're going to have a character and a base. You can
move around your character and build towers to actually defend your base. And you
can also build spawning portals that go off and attack my base.
(ACADEMIOPOLY): We have a chemistry system that handles attack and defense.
Basically we have a paper, scissors, rock kind of system where there's various types
of elements-solids, liquids, and gases-and what you do is basically send your grad
students out to the other bases and we color code them to show what kind of
elements they have. You basically have a strategic battle going on based on the
chemical properties. (ELEMENT0): We have just a brief exposition
telling you about how electrons are your life. It's not explained in detail in
the beginning, but what we found when testing the game is that a lot of players
exit through text too quickly, so we try to explain it in small increments. The chemistry
gets involved once we start exploring more of the level and picking up more of these
lab notes. Here we have one that's telling us about how the alkali shot is working.
Basically we have a ball of alkali on our hand and every time we're shooting, we're
performing some small, exothermic reaction that's releasing a small amount of
energy and firing off pieces of metal from the alkali ball.
(ACID AND BASE): In terms of the chemistry we kind of have that whole acid and
base thing with the characters. If you pause, you'll see there's a pH scale so we're
trying to show the pH scale, but also with the characters, because they will change
colors depending on their pH. Now he's green so he's in the neutral. There's some
areas where you have to mix chemicals together. The main point of the game, so
there's this poison ivy blocking your way, and through a series of puzzles, using acid
and base, you have to make some weed killer which you get a recipe from this
object-so you kind of know you have to get the ingredients and make the weed
killer myself. (ATTROMIC): So, the chemistry element of this
game is that the minions that you spawn are specific types of chemicals and
the towers are specific types of chemicals. And what we did is clustered these certain
types into different kind of groups. So ethanol is fire type, and butanal is freeze,
and those have specific damage bonuses against other minions and other towers.
GUY GARNETT: The winner is.... element0!!!! (Crowd Applause)
EDEE WIZIECKI: As a former teacher I would have loved to have games that would
inspire students, encourage them, and make them enthusiastic about science.