Many retreat into the fictional worlds of video games for a chance to escape, but what if games could actually help us tackle real issues? Games are an underutilised resource that could bring more awareness to critical issues such as animal poaching.

What it does

Users play as an elephant trying to survive amidst poachers. Using WASD or arrow keys, they can navigate around the board to try and exit (to survive for another day). Each move reduces the player's hunger, which can be replenished by eating food. Enemy poachers follow the user around and drain their health. Users can attack enemies and cut down bushes to clear paths. Eventually, when hunger runs out, users die and are presented with the number of days they lasted.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

  • Adding mobile controls so the game could be played on iOS devices.
  • Ruining my eyes painstakingly creating custom pixel art.
  • Making the game more efficient and less hard-coded (math to make calculations computationally cheaper, creating reusable prefabs, cleaner scripting)
  • Solo team!

Challenges I ran into

  • Enemy movements to follow the character and the procedurally generated levels took a lot more code than I intended (there were many, many edge cases).
  • Looping audio and sound effects took a second to figure out.
  • I am VERY unfamiliar with Unity, so this was a learning experience.

What's next for EXTINCTly

I'd like to expand this game to other animals and ecosystems (think Rhinos, Tigers, Leatherback Turtles, etc.) in order to bring greater awareness to the issue.

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