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Planet Keeper: using gamification and AR
to make environmental learning more immersive and fun
Image by Dave Clubb
Planet Keeper was my fourth-year thesis project at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. It is a tablet game that uses gamification and virtual reality to teach children about environmental responsibilities.
I designed the original concept, gameplay, art direction, UI/UX, and the instructional manual for the game. Moreover, intensive research was conducted to understand children’s learning development based on age and the benefits of gamification and alternative education in order to craft the most appropriate experience for my target audience.
Strategies: how does it work
Planet Keeper uses gamification to make the learning of environmental protection, sustainability, and planet conservation more manageable and enjoyable for kids from age 4-10. The main gameplay involves nurturing an ecosystem by taking care of the animals and plants. In order to collect more resources in the game, the user needs to complete ‘missions’ that involve real life tasks, such as finding treasures with the built-in AR feature while visiting a community garden or watching a tutorial video of making a D.I.Y audio speaker.
Unlike other educational games where children are the main users, Planet Keeper values parent’s engagement as much as its younger audiences. From parental control to earning extra points with parent’s participation, we want parents involvement throughout the learning process in order to support and learn with their children.
It took me one year to complete the design of Planet Keeper. The result was well received and many thought the use of AR in the game was ingenious as it bridges the gap between the virtual and physical world by making environmental learning more fun and immersive. The entire project includes a tablet version of the game, a mobile app for parents, an instruction booklet, and an interactive prototype made with Keynote for the final grad exhibition.
City detective gameplay
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