Tag Archives: Wellcome Trust

Winning Wellcome Trust ExPlay Game Jam Entries now Online to Enjoy!

A busy audience assembled at the ExPlay event in Bath on the 2nd of November to hear the winning games announced from the eight short-listed titles. After much anticipation Professor Bruce Hood awarded the winning teams their prizes:

First Prize: HIVe (Java download, video)

In HIVe the deception moves to a molecular level, where one player is a HIV infected cell disguised as a normal cell, seeking to infect other cells. The second player is an antiretroviral seeking to find and destroy the infection. The developers write, “The objective of the HIV player is to infect as many cells as possible before being caught by the antiretroviral drug player. We felt that the lifecycle of a virus is a constant battle of deception with the body and our game tries to capture this whilst at heart still being a game and being fun. We felt using HIV as the virus was important for its relation to scientific research and global social issues.”

HIVe screenshot (Wellcome Trust ExPlay Game Jam 2012)

Second Prize: Qualit-eye Control (iPad, video)

Based around the structure of the human eye and using the inspiration of the Thatcher Illusion, where it becomes hard to detect changes in an upside-down face. In this puzzle game, the player must select if a given object is really the same as its mirrored counterpart. The developers wrote of their game; “Given the theme of deception in science, we began thinking about how the human eye is an astoundingly amazing tool – yet deceptive. The human brain has to process a lot of data continually, so will occasionally make assumptions and take shortcuts, meaning we occasionally interpret false images in line with our expectations… So we developed Qualiteye Control, a game that puts the player in the position of a miniature scientist acting as a controller between the eyeball and the brain of Prototype X1.”

QualiteyeControl screenshot (Wellcome Trust ExPlay Game Jam 2012)

Wildcard Prize: InCogNeto (Android download)

A two-player game in which each player must connect cogs to a top wheel and at each turn select it to mask their actions or advance their plans. The developer wrote of their game, “…inspired by the idea of subterfuge, how we deceive ourselves and create false realities when we don’t have all the information… Strategy and tactics play an important role as you read your opponent’s body language, listen for audible clues (i.e. the rack moving) and use spatial memory to spot changes in the playspace. While your body is performing quality control of a widgetoid factory – you must decide what widgetoids are correct, and which ones are being falsely interpreted and need to be rejected quickly.”

InCogNeto screenshot (Wellcome Trust ExPlay Game Jam 2012)

The judging was based around the balance of the gameplay and the science so the judges looked for great games that integrated the science into the gameplay.

The judging was based around the balance of the gameplay and the science so the judges, Professor Hood, Dr John Williams, Head of Neuroscience and Mental Health at the Wellcome Trust and Dan Efergan, Creative Director at Aardman Digital, looked for great games that integrated the science into the gameplay. The games needed to be fun to play; they were not looking to develop a ‘worthy’ game, it needed to be fun in its own right. The aim was to make the combination of the science and the gameplay engage the player; those that did scored well.

The games were created on the 5th and 6th of October during the Wellcome Trust ExPlay Game Jam. The event, held over two locations, the Science Museum in London and the Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol, saw over 100 developers create 22 entries around the theme of Deception. Where possible, the games from the event are available online at: explay.co.uk/gamesjam and are free to play.

Links to this story:

Wellcome Trust ExPlay Game Jam Shortlist Announced!

On the 5th and 6th of October this year we held the Wellcome Trust ExPlay Game Jam (also see here). This event, over two locations, the Science Museum in London and the Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol, saw over 100 developers create 22 games around the theme of Deception. The theme was presented to the group by Professor Bruce Hood.

The judging panel, Professor Hood, John Williams – Head of Neuroscience and Mental Health at the Wellcome Trust and Dan Effingham – Creative Director at Aardman Digital, reviewed the games, and eight out of 22 were then shortlisted to be shown at the ExPlay Festival on the 2nd November. Prize-winners will also be announced at the event for first and second place and a Wildcard place too. The judging was based around the balance of the gameplay and the science so the judges looked for great games that integrated the science into the gameplay. The games needed to be fun to play; they were not looking to develop a ‘worthy’ game, it needed to be fun in its own right. The aim was to make the combination of the science and the gameplay engage the player; those that did scored well.

The shortlisted games (in no particular order) are:

Alien Laser Bunnies (Unity download) – video link
A two-player game about hiding within the crowd. Players must figure out which of the identical bunnies is them, then collect objects and use their laser to kill the other player before they can do the same. The movement of the other bunnies is based on an algorithm that records the movements of the players and re-uses them for movement of AI controlled bunnies. The developers wrote of their game; “Winning at Alien Laser Bunnies requires people to exercise social mimicry. They must imitate the movements of previous players in order to best deceive their opponent. In this respect it provides a strong framework for various tactics of deception. Further, the game tends towards a state of homeostasis as the mimicry creates a feedback loop of behaviours.”

Alien Laser Bunnies screenshot (Wellcome Trust ExPlay Game Jam 2012)

Qualit-eye Control (iPad) – video link
Based around the structure of the human eye and using the inspiration of the Thatcher Illusion, where it becomes hard to detect changes in an upside-down face. In this puzzle game, the player must select if a given object is really the same as its mirrored counterpart. The developers wrote of their game; “Given the theme of deception in science, we began thinking about how the human eye is an astoundingly amazing tool – yet deceptive. The human brain has to process a lot of data continually, so will occasionally make assumptions and take shortcuts, meaning we occasionally interpret false images in line with our expectations… So we developed Qualiteye Control, a game that puts the player in the position of a miniature scientist acting as a controller between the eyeball and the brain of Prototype X1.”

QualiteyeControl screenshot (Wellcome Trust ExPlay Game Jam 2012)

InCogNeto (Android download)
A two-player game in which each player must connect cogs to a top wheel and at each turn select it to mask their actions or advance their plans. The developer wrote of their game, “…inspired by the idea of subterfuge, how we deceive ourselves and create false realities when we don’t have all the information… Strategy and tactics play an important role as you read your opponent’s body language, listen for audible clues (i.e. the rack moving) and use spatial memory to spot changes in the playspace. While your body is performing quality control of a widgetoid factory – you must decide what widgetoids are correct, and which ones are being falsely interpreted and need to be rejected quickly.”

InCogNeto screenshot (Wellcome Trust ExPlay Game Jam 2012)

HIVe (Java download) – video link
In HIVe the deception moves to a molecular level, where one player is a HIV infected cell disguised as a normal cell, seeking to infect other cells. The second player is an antiretroviral seeking to find and destroy the infection. The developers write, “The objective of the HIV player is to infect as many cells as possible before being caught by the antiretroviral drug player. We felt that the lifecycle of a virus is a constant battle of deception with the body and our game tries to capture this whilst at heart still being a game and being fun. We felt using HIV as the virus was important for its relation to scientific research and global social issues.”

HIVe screenshot (Wellcome Trust ExPlay Game Jam 2012)

DupliCity (Unity download) – video link
This action game sees the player running along trying to avoid objects, but with a twist, as the game itself sets out to confuse and deceive. The developer states: “You and your shadow run simultaneously in mirror worlds populated by obstacles. Why? To escape. Also because there’s fireworks at the end! Through the use of asymmetry, transparency, repetition and subliminal signs, the game helps you overcome the obstacles but also misleads you. A briefly flashing arrow directing you; a sign on a truck; a crate that looks real but isn’t – things that you notice and take for granted even if you aren’t paying attention.”

Duplicity screenshot (Wellcome Trust ExPlay Game Jam 2012)

Doors of Deception (Flash download)
In this game we have to ask ourselves to question the truth of what the game is telling us. Can the game deceive us more that we can progress? The game is a five level puzzle game of truth, lies, deception, illusions and more. You can only progress if you figure out how to solve the puzzles in spite of the seemingly helpful narrator.

Doors of Deception screenshot (Wellcome Trust ExPlay Game Jam 2012)

The Art of Deceit (Web-Comic) – video link
A web-comic about deception, the developers write, “The Art of Deceit is an interactive science fiction comic for children that explores the role of falsehood and misinformation in the intelligence services. Set on a distant asteroid, the player takes on the role of a spy with a vital top secret mission… Success is dictated by the player’s ability to correctly spot and interpret optical illusions. As a whole the game highlights that visual perception cannot always be trusted. The components of an object can distort the perception of the complete object. Our mind is the final arbiter of truth.”

The Art of Deceit screenshot (Wellcome Trust ExPlay Game Jam 2012)

Blood Stream Bandits (Android download) – video link
In this action game, we again return to the molecular level, “Working together with a neurobiologist, we came up with a game inspired by viruses that enter the bloodstream and deceive body defences by pretending to be harmless cells. In our game you control triangular shapes, which can be combined to form squares. There are two types of monsters, one eats triangles and the other eats squares, and each can be deceived by arranging your units in the corresponding opposite shape. The game requires reflexes and quick thinking to arrange your units to deceive as many enemy cells as you can.”

Remember, each of these games had a maximum of 24 hours of development and given many teams elected to catch a few hours sleep, most of them had less. So a huge well done to all the teams who competed, not just those shortlisted; the judges had a tough time with their selections!

Wellcome Trust ExPlay Games Jam a Huge Success!

The Wellcome Trust ExPlay game jam has happened and was, by all accounts, a huge success.  We’re still collating the games produced but over the 24 hours of the 2 sites the event ran at over 20 games have been produced – and the quality is very high!  It was expertly opened by Professor Bruce Hood – who gave the theme – Deception. Here’s a few images from the Bristol end of the event:

Prof Bruce Hood @ Wellcome Explay Game Jam 2012 Wellcome Explay Game Jam 2012 Prof Bruce Hood @ Wellcome Explay Game Jam 2012

It also got a good preview on RockPaperShotgun:

My home represents the ideal. I am a gamer, my wife is a scientist. And combined, our interests make us THE GREATEST COUPLE ON EARTH. (Except she hates games.) Presumably modelled on our union is this weekend’s game jam from the Wellcome Trust – a science-themed event called ExPlay 2012. (The same Wellcome Trust who are supporting this year’s Make Something Unreal, as it happens.) Taking place tomorrow and Saturday in Bristol and London, it aims to combine the hardcore explorative processes of game making with the mysterious magicks of science.

PS. There is a video of one of the games online. More to follow!

Professor Bruce Hood to open the 2012 Games Jam

The Game Jam is now sold out, which is great news, but even better is that we’ve got Professor Bruce Hood to open the 2012 Games Jam and announce the theme!

We are extremely pleased to announce that Professor Bruce Hood, who holds the chair of Developmental Psychology in Society in the School of Experimental Psychology at the University of Bristol, will be opening the game jam and revealing the theme for the following 24 hours of frenetic game development.

Professor Hood is known to millions of people from his numerous books, articles and TV appearances including the 2011 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures broadcast on the BBC, continuing the venerable tradition started by Michael Faraday in 1825. His written works include two popular science books “SuperSense” (HarperOne, 2009) about the natural origins of supernatural beliefs and “The Self Illusion” (Constable & Robinson 2012) about the fallacy that we are coherent, integrated individuals but rather a constructed narrative largely influenced by those around us.

Professor Hood said, “I’m really excited to be unveiling the theme for the 2012 Welcome Trust Game Jam – science opens so many potential doors of inspiration for developers, I will be fascinated to see how it inspires new games from this event.”

You can find out much more at Bruce’s blog.

Science Game Jam Starts Soon

The joint ExPlay, Wellcome Trust, Science Museum, PM Studio games jam is due to start in few days, as the Huffington Post reports:

Not everyone can make a great video game – and even fewer can make one in less than 24 hours.

But that’s just what 120 games makers are going to try and do in a few weeks, at the 2012 ExPlay Games Jam, hosted by the Wellcome Trust, Science Museum and Pervasive Media Studios.

The Games Jam – held simultaneously in Bristol and London – will give participants 24 hours to make a brand new game on a specified theme.

And yes – it has to be playable.

A Game Jam in Bristol (photo by Jon Cooper)

Puns and prototypes: behind-the-scenes at ‘Gamify your PhD’

There is a post on the Wellcome Trust blog that has some thoughts on the Gamify Your PhD session, images and also – most importantly – links to all of the games!

“Addictive, challenging and educational,” that was the remit for the 6 teams taking part in this week’s‘Gamify you PhD’ event at the Wellcome Trust. The two-day hack event brought together PhD researchers and games developers from across the UK for what Wellcome Trust’s Daniel Glaser called an “innovative interaction”. The aim? To create new games that could explore and explain the latest developments in biomedicine, and more specifically the PhD research of the scientists taking part.

Tomas Rawlings, gaming consultant for the Wellcome Trust, explained the rationale behind the initiative, saying, “Science and games are a natural fit: both are about the participant seeking to understand the rules that govern the world they find themselves in and achieving this by experiments such as trial and error.”

Front screen of Monsieur Baguette – Click for more!

Tomas Talks Strategy to PCgamesN

Auroch Digital’s Tomas Rawlings talks about the strategy of how games are being put to good use helping science and knowledge:

PCGN: Why has the Wellcome Trust taken an interest in games?

Tom: The guy who founded Wellcome, Henry Wellcome, was passionate that science was a part of human culture and that you didn’t see a separation between the two. So part of Wellcome’s mission, in addition to these big major challenges, is to engage with people so that they see science and culture together.

Games are a great method to talk about science because games by their nature are dynamic, they’re interactive, and science is very hands on. So if you want to explain to somebody a complex system whereby as you change what’s in the system the system changes as a result, games are a great way to do that because rather than just talking about it you can let the person experience it themselves.

I mean, ultimately, if you think about what a player does when they play a game they are using the scientific method, I mean they get dropped into a game on the first level, you don’t know the rules of this new world, so what you have to do is trial and error to figure it out, and by trial and error you construct a set of rules in your head “If I touch this object I die, whereas if I jump over it I’m OK” and ultimately they are constructing a series of rules to help them navigate that world. And really, that’s what science does. It’s by trial and error, by experimentation we construct a series of rules that allow us to understand and engage with the natural world.