COVID-19 pandemic: IIT Tirupati online games to raise social distancing and health awareness
COVID-19 has already caused severe losses to the human race and despite various public awareness programs on the pandemic, many people are not following health guidelines and precautions issued by WHO and governments.
It was here that a team from the Research Laboratory for Intelligent Software and Human Analytics (RISHA) in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Tirupati, thought of developing educational games to increase awareness of measurements sanitation for the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Given the relaxations that may follow after the lockdown is lifted, it is extremely important to raise awareness about the various safety precautions to stop the spread and the level of severity of the disease,” says Dr Sridhar Chimalakonda, Assistant Professor at IIT Tirupati, who led the team.
SurviveCovid-19 is developed as an educational game that helps people understand the importance of masks, sanitizers and social distancing to protect themselves and those around them from COVID-19 when walking around the city theme.
“The game is inspired by a simple pixel-based top-down style design where people navigate the city with safety and health measures and complete tasks such as buying groceries and medicine “, adds Dr. Chimalakonda.
The game which is played 800 times so far is developed using a survivor style theme in which a player must survive by completing predefined tasks and rules, which in this case are safety measures for COVID-19.
The player is immersed in the game to complete the tasks of buying groceries and medicine while regularly using masks and sanitizers to survive in the game.
“We have given the utmost importance to ‘social distancing’ in the game and the player’s life keeps shrinking once he comes in contact with COVID-19 infected people until he go to a nearby hospital,” he added.
The 2D game can be played on the web platform at https://survivecovid-19.itch.io/game2020 without any installation and works on Android mobile phones with installation.
As this is a new initiative, the team has written a research paper on the game which is available for pre-print here.
The game is developed by Dheeraj Vagavolu and supported by Akhila Sri Manasa Venigalla, students of RISHA Lab, IIT Tirupati.
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