CHENNAI: Indian Institute of Technology – Madras students have developed a digital game called “IIT-M Covid Game” to create awareness among the general public, particularly children, on the importance of following governmental precautions to safeguard themselves against Covid-19.
This game is browser-based and can be played on devices including personal computers, laptops, tablets, mobile phones and others. It was created by students who took a nine-credit elective course called ‘Let’s Play to Learn’ offered during the January-May 2020 semester in which students were taught game-based learning tools and techniques.
Based on initial prototyping and feedback from different audiences, the students team translated the game to several Indian regional languages to improve its reach. Apart from English, the game is already available in 12 regional languages – Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tamil and Telugu. The students plan to make the game available in more regional games in the future.
Highlighting the unique aspects of this game-based approach to creating awareness, Preeti Aghalayam, department of chemical engineering, IIT-Madras, said, “The game takes inspiration from the famous ‘Super Mario’ game and consists of a character who encounters various right things – like masks, washing hands and also encounters things to be avoided – like hugs, handshakes. As the character does the right things, points keep getting added. If the character fails to avoid a wrong thing, points get deducted to highlight the consequence. The game goes on for one minute and the players should aim for maximum points.”
Kartic Vaidyanathan, founder, LetsPlayToLearn and an IIT Madras alumnus, said, “Students applied the concepts and created a number of game design prototypes that are relevant in general for science and engineering courses (Aircraft design, tissue engineering, circuits, buildings and structures, among other fields), and can be used in IIT-Madras courses.”