Antibodies and Random Motion

(Delayed post from Friday. Seems the posts from my phone aren’t working!)

Tonight is quiet, still sick, slept most of the day. But tomorrow eve – Sunday we have game design planned. So there will be more to tell you.  Here are some questions we are considering.

How big should we draw molecules? How can we make it possible for users to grab a certain molecule, when more than one are in the area. How to show the random motion of molecules… Show them making jittery steps but don’t show what they are bouncing off of? Or since we are “viewing” the molecules from so far away, perhaps we should smooth out their movements? @jodie_jenkinson who is a professor at is doing amazing work on these kinds of questions.

How to teach stochastic movement–do we show the whole scene crowed with molecules (as it actually is) or do we only show the molecules that we are using in the game? Most art depicting molecules finding their receptors generally show only a few molecules, and the we try to say “this molecule is moving randomly” but in the images it appears that the molecule has a wide open path to its target. In reality, thousands of other molecules are bumping into it, and it can’t see or control is movement. Dr. Jenkinson’s work shows that additional details helps students understand. She showed that videos that show all of the molecules bouncing around does a better job of explaining stochastic behavior than videos that just show a molecular taking a jittery, random path with no other molecules visible.

Perhaps this sounds like *learning game* to you, meaning *no fun* but I think additional details make a game more interesting and fun. We need to keep the details balanced with good introduction and with fun ways for the player to interact and use these details.  For example, antibodies are also molecules and therefore also move randomly. So our job this weekend includes creating antibody behavior so that their random movement is not frustrating to the player, while their incredibly useful powers can be balanced by some kind of challenge. The basic game balance, energy and inflammation are set. Now we play with interesting problems… Should be a fun weekend.

Happy science and games.  Goodnight!

Posted in Development Blog

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