We are pleased to report that the development project is on track and in many ways is also ahead of schedule. Naturally this panics us as we skeptically question why things are going so well and slotting into place so easily.
The first technical build is due to be released in November. This build will allow users to explore the game’s graphical user interface (GUI), giving an accurate feel of how the player will interact with the simulation.
As this is being developed, ETCH will be producing the configuration files that will control the data elements within the game. Some examples of what these files will consist of can be found here. The relationship between the different elements are also being defined; for example, poor application of insecticide in the game will impact the kill rate of that insecticide, it will also increase the probability of another resistance being selected for the vector.
Tieing down this web of relationships is as equally fun as it is challenging. The emergent gameplay generated from these equations we hope will provide a unique experience for each player; while at the same time creating a controlled virtual environment where players decisions lead to believable outcomes. It also allows the game to trigger more complex challenges and scenarios based on the player’s performance, so be warned the better you are at controlling the vector population the more curveballs the game will throw at you.
The jigsaw pieces in this post are previews of the game’s GUI, and may be subject to change.
We’ve been busy tweaking parameters and playing with graphs, all in the name of creating a virtual vector population that mimics the real world.
The game model can now generate patterns that mimic seasonal changes in abundance, demonstrate the impact of vector bionomics and show potential operational differences between target site and metabolic resistance mechanisms.
We are now busy using Andy’s app to generate ‘scenarios,’ these are not challenges within the game per say, but a wide variety of potential player inputs that may occur during gameplay to ensure the game model doesn’t generate any unrealistic behaviour.
We are looking for an assessment of the scenarios themselves rather than the input parameter values. The input parameters are simply a means by which we can generate reasonable scenarios. A full copy of the scenario document can be found here.
Some examples have been provided below. We are currently working under the assumption that a step is the equivalent of a month.
We are working directly with the game developers to ensure the game mechanics being developed now, and the ‘game model’ will work in unison to create a virtual vector population where the player can freely choose their vector control strategy and see the potential impact of their decisions. We are also developing a system where additional elements in the game can be added through a simple text file, such as a new vector species or insecticides. Several fields for each element can then be defined to generate the desired behaviour/ impact.
We’re always keen to hear your thoughts and questions so please feel free to get in touch.