Nowadays, drivers in the ten most congested cities in the world sit around 79 hours in traffic jams every year, wasting billions in time and fuel while doing so.
Besides, citizens live eagerness to arrive on time overcoming speed limits and not attending either traffic rules nor signals; in conclusion, they produce an aggressive urban text.
For those reasons, we are developing a mobile game, called Monstrovia, who invites to change their behavior and make them aware of what the rights and duties are when citizens are driving, cycling or walking.
¿What can we do? It is the question we have tried to answer. We have adopted the bicycle as a lifestyle, trying to find wellbeing and improve our quality life. We have evolved, and now we take part in bicycle activism in Bogotá, and we have also done social research about urban imaginaries around mobility in the city.
According to our social research the best way to change the aggressive urban text is promoting the coexistence practices and safe behaviors between road users; to raise awareness and empathy, respecting and guaranteeing the life and their safe space.
For that reason, Dominio Estudio, as a specialized company in communication and education, has proposed to develop a mobile game called Monstrovia.
What it does?
¿What is the challenge? It is an epidemic that is attacking the city and becoming road users in monsters. Your mission is to discover the virus: origin, causes, and cure. In your journey, you should move around the city with different vehicles and teach others to overcome the virus.
How we built it?
We started with the idea of doing a moderate critic to the citizens. Through the game, users can live the experience to carry the city to the apocalypse border as an outcome of their behaviors.
The mobile game is an immersive and interactive experience in 3D, which take advantage of the diversity of learning styles.
Challenges we ran into
The main challenge was to move from 2D to 3D production since it involved learning new concepts, tools, different workflow, and integrating new roles and people into the team.
Furthermore, the videogame has the challenge of engaging people to change their behavior and make them aware. For this, it was necessary to appropriate a methodology for the development of games, learn it, and put it into practice.
On technology, the project allowed strengthening the work team in the field of 3D modeling and animation. This required to integrate this technology with a video game engine, defeat obstacles with the Android system and compatibility between different devices. On the web, it meant improving the performance of the video game in the browser.
Concerning marketing strategy, it required to appropriate different processes for the development of media stuff related to the project. We made scripts, storyboards, and integrate new people into the team.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We released a beta version in September 2018 at Bogotá Bicycle Week, where we tested the game idea with children, teenagers, and adults who found funny and understood the message.
This version has a 2D design with a side view of the road. Graphics are focused on Bogotá city. The game has a simple interface where the player is represented by an avatar who eludes obstacles on the street by jumping. The player can choose the avatar's behaviors and see how his inappropriate behaviors make the city chaos or his proper behaviors become him a superhero.
We apply social research, through the innovation tool called person card, and interviews with different road users.
Here are the results:
- People recognize that to do more with coexistence is the main factor by which mobility in the city must be improved.
- Is recognized that different road users have to be conscious, as there is no awareness about the other.
- People understood the game's message; got an answer related to education, sensitizing, and learning about the roads.
- Regarding gameplay, users expressed satisfaction by indicating that the game's interface was convenient, easy to use, and the illustrations were likable. The gaming experience was fun and reduced the stress of each road user.
- They considered relevant to complete development of the app, involving every road user and means of transport.
What are we proud of in the current version?
We are proud to develop our project and see its evolution, the skills, and knowledge acquired by the team.
Regarding the design, we are proud to have managed and adapted the illustrations and 2D graphics to a 3D format, to generate a fun product which offers greater immersion in the game.
We accomplish to improve the gameplay, providing a gaming experience closer to the action of driving a vehicle in real life.
Improvements to achieve first place
During the challenge, we've worked on the gaming experience in the following aspects.
- Becoming monster: While playing, we can see a bar at the top of the screen to show the player his level of monstrification. The level increases when a player performs behaviors like speeding, crash, zigzagging between vehicles without signaling hand, or pass a red light.
- Unbecoming monster: The player can also reduce the level of monstrification by drawing his hand to zigzag.
- Story: When the user misses his life by crashing, a screen appears showing the result of this action. When the user loses time, a screen appears with a monster and a clock indicating that his time is up.
- Traffic: in the past cars appeared in crowded rows and sometimes among each other. This bug was overcome. The cars are arranged independently, and according to reality, they start when the traffic light is green and stop when it is red.
- Sound: we have added SFX effects for the crash of the cars, and the horn of the other cars.
- Controls: We have changed the controls layout to make the gaming experience more comfortable.
What we learned
In general, we learned about immersive and cutting-edge technologies to create new experiences. Our creation process was strengthened by applying paper prototyping, to more easily establish the game design.
In this way of thinking, we appropriate a methodology for game development, which contributed to our concept of gamification. We also learned to clarify the difference between mechanics, rules, and challenges.
On the graphic design, we’ve learned a game scope based on organic shapes, geometry, and triangular perspective. Additionally, we had improved our process and managed tools and technology for development.
Boost skills in 3D modeling (low poly), unwrapping, texturing, object rigging, and animation.
Additionally, during the challenge, we learned to use the Facebook API to integrate our game to the Facebook instant games platform.
During the challenge, we have decided to take surveys on the new 3D version compared to the 2D version. The game experience improvements were based on people's responses.
What's next for
- Culminate the game with four vehicles bicycle, car, motorcycle, and pedestrian, as well as, to integrate a cooperative game experience
- Strength our marketing strategy on social media and others
- Develop a monetization strategy
- Consolidate the work team experience on game development