We noticed while many people claim to care about the environment, in practice not enough of us are acting in the best interest for the planet. We need to build better habits. At the same time, kids today spend an inordinate amount of time playing smartphone and tablet games often with no educational benefits.
We then thought if we could take advantage of reward based gaming's popularity, we could build a game that rewards users for Eco-friendly tasks. Thus our game could provide proper motivation for a young gamer to become environmentally conscious, thereby from an early age kids will learn Eco-friendly habits.
What it does-
We built an educational gaming app for children, in which kids start the game with a barren landscape with the goal of seeing it grow by filling it with colorful interactive animals and environmental features. To buy new animals, players complete real world Eco-friendly tasks, like adding to the recycling bin or turning off all unused lights in the house. With their parents approval for these tasks, they gain "Green Leaves" our in game currency. When a user collects enough Green Leaves, they can buy their favorite animals to add them to their habitat.
Through this concept we are motivating children to learn to care about their environment by rewarding them with in game collectible content. Additionally Happy Habitat provides parents with a positive educational game for their children to play in place of alternatives and lets them practice green living together!
How we built it-
We built the app in Java utilizing a program called MIT app inventor. Additionally we used Adobe Illustrator for our illustrations and design.
Challenges we ran into-
None of us have a specific background in game design so this weekend was trial by fire, as we had to learn on the fly which proved to be challenging but also rewarding. We also needed to refine our concept and add aspects to ensure the game provided enough motivation to use repeatedly. Time was probably our biggest obstacle to doing everything we wanted but non the less we pushed forward.
Accomplishments that we're proud of-
Having a living, breathing game that fully realizes our concept is something we are really proud of. We feel Happy Habitat does what we set out for it to do.We are proud we were able to successfully dive into game development for the fist time and feel really good about the potential our game has to make a difference in how children feel at protecting the environment.
What we learned-
Overall we learned how to not just come up with a concept and and go build it, but how to collaborate and best manage each team members skills and tendencies to work productively as a team. I'm really impressed by how much we can accomplish in such short time when you have a strong goal. Our two developers also learned a ton, as this was their fist time making a gaming app.
What's next for Happy Habitat-
The instant chemistry our team has is something I feel really good about and we are currently all feeling the good mojo around Happy Habitat. We're excited to continue to polish and refine the application in the coming days and weeks and get ready for an app store release. We feel strongly parents and kids alike will be addicted to Happy Habitat and not only is that a win for us, but most importantly a big win for our planet's future.