Project: Guardians of the Elusive Mole

Last year, Greyland partnered with Northwest University and Galvanic illustrator Royce Mclean to create a chemistry game for students to help them learn about the science's primary unit of measurement - the Mole.

Previously, the school had found that students had tremendous difficulty with the concept. A couple years ago, just for fun, a student decided to write a “Let It Go” spoof about the mole. Surprisingly, despite its just-for-kicks approach, when the song was sent to the rest of the chemistry students by Professor Caicai Wu almost everyone improved their test scores. After seeing this success, professor Wu thought that a game would be the next best step, so she reached out to fellow professor and Greyland developer, Corey.

After a number of discussions, along with a little remedial chemistry, the Chemistry department and Greyland developed an outline for a simple quiz game that used the ice theme of Frozen. Royce decided to amp up the cute characters from Frozen, drawing inspiration from Nordic mythology, to create the Chemistry Guardians.

Royce’s design gave the game a quirky intensity that we believed would create a lasting impression on students. As professor Wu discovered with the original mole song, giving students these out of sorts experiences helped them remember as the song and here with the game, the approach was not the type of thing they’d typically see in a chemistry class.

Coding a project like this has pretty low overhead. The primary concerns were responsiveness in the question frames and ease of editing content. Using a “Bill of Materials” (BOM) approach, the game engine simply ingested a JSON object that had all the questions, labels, answers, hints and then built out the each stage as the student progressed. The structure was simple enough that we could use the same level and menu parent classes to build out level screens as well as the introductory and end screens.

The game is planned to be used as part of the chemistry department’s 2017 curriculum and we look forward to hearing about how students react. You can play the game yourself on Greyland’s mirror.