COVID-19 pandemic: IIT Tirupati online games for increasing awareness on social distancing and health
COVID-19 has already caused severe loss to the human race and despite various public awareness programs about the pandemic, many people are not following the guidelines and health precautions issued by the WHO and governments.
It is here that a team at the Research in Intelligent Software & Human Analytics (RISHA) Lab of Department of Computer Science & Engineering, IIT Tirupati, has thought of developing educational games for increasing awareness of health measures for COVID-19 pandemic.
“Given the relaxations that may follow after lifting lockdown, it is extremely important to make people aware of various safety precautions to stop the spread and the level of severity of the disease,” says Dr Sridhar Chimalakonda, an Assistant Professor at IIT Tirupati, who led the team.
SurviveCovid-19 is developed as an educational game that helps people in understanding the importance of masks, sanitizers and social distancing to keep themselves and people in their surrounding safe from COVID-19 when they walk around the theme of a city.
“The game is inspired by a simple pixel-based top-down style design where people navigate the city with safety and health measures and accomplish tasks such as buying groceries and medicines,” adds Dr Chimalakonda.
The game which is played 800 times till now is developed using a survivor style theme in which a player has to survive by performing predefined tasks and rules, which in this case are safety measures for COVID-19.
The player gets immersed into the game to achieve the tasks of buying groceries and medicines while regularly using masks and sanitizers to survive in the game.
“We have given critical importance to “social distancing” in the game and the life of the player keeps reducing once the player comes in contact with COVID-19 infected persons until he/she visits a nearby hospital,” he adds.
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 novel initiative, the team has written a research paper on the game which is available as a 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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