Hanging in there…

I am applying for an academic grant to study Immune Defense, to figure out what it teaches and how it affects the attitude of our players towards cell biology. We’d like to optimize Immune Defense for the creation of confidence in our players. We want our players to learn how to use receptors, and have their mind opened to reading/watching more about receptors…. How do we do this? We have a few ideas and we’re hoping for a year to iteratively test our ideas, before developing a new Immune Defense version. This grant would be through NSF informal education, and would be studying the effects of Immune Defense on people 21+. Would you be interested in hearing more? Let me know!

I’m also working on NanoCrasher…I’m teaching myself Blender…and getting some lessons from a student who’d really great at Blender! My new Blender skills will help me not only with NanoCrasher but also with my academic project, ChemSimGame. ChemSimGame is designed with chemistry profs at Harrisburg University and it will let players manipulate acid, bases and water… At the molecular level. I am really excited about the project. We’ve worked on it for two years now. This week an HU student reached out for an opportunity as an intern. He seems excited, and I believe ChemSimGame will benefit from his desire to learn to develop games.

I played Nanoscape on Steam, by the Australian University, UNSW. A brilliant university, brilliant product. It’s free, go play now!!! It is begging for some game mechanics!!! Well, I think game mechanics are the natural next step in Nanoscape. What do you think?

If I hosted a conference for biology/chemistry games, would you come? Are you planning to go to GDC in 2022? What about East Coast Game Conference? If I hosted another little Science Game Expo and Discuss, would you come?

All in all, I am practicing calmness. I have so many fantastic ideas and so many balls in the air… I am practicing feeling normal. Feeling a balance between work and “life.”. Trying to make friends and make time to spend with friends. I thank you visitors for your support.

Are any of you teachers? Would you use some materials is I made some around Immune Defense? Better might be, have you made any materials around Immune Defense?? I would love to share them here! Or, you could post them on Teachers Pay Teachers and I’d share the link here! I would greatly appreciate your collaboration on teaching materials for Immune Defense!!

I’m working on an academic paper about biology games. Anyone who has written a paper, let me know! What works, what doesn’t work in game design? In evaluation design? I think the funis in the science, and I want a chance to explain how. So I’m writing papers. We’ll see how that goes.

Reach out with ideas and collaboration, please!

Posted in Game Design and Development

10 comments on “Hanging in there…
  1. Baytars says:

    Well, I’m a medical student and after playing your game around I feel that manually and repeatedly dragging the antigens to the immune cells is dull and tiring. Maybe we can hire some bots to do that for us, or maybe teamwork to share the load. Maybe we can create an RTS game where we order immune troops to effectively defend the pathogens and repair the wound. Design some unique missions to accomplish. Anyway I would like to follow you up.

    • Melanie says:

      Hi there!! Did you play level 6? Level 5 has a lot of protein dragging…. ! In level 6, however, you gain the ability to create new cells where ever you want to. We’ll, it has to be on the vein, but anywhere along the vein you can create a spawn site. The complement proteins cause the vein to become permeable to cells. So in level 6 the game becomes more about what to use and when to use it, and less about dragging complement proteins around.
      Additionally, you can grab more proteins and leave a trail of them. In this demo you can grab 3 and release them, we plan for more of that….
      The game will zoom farther our and become more of a strategy game, but you’ll always have the opportunity to zoom back in and see the tiny details if you need to.

      Thanks for following me! Please do keep in touch!! I’m writing some grants for more work on Immune Defense!

      • Baytars says:

        Tried level 6. Increasing receptor types of an immune cell is at the cost of decreasing the number of other types of receptors, which makes cells harder to control and react and consequently requires manual dragging again. The cells rotate slowly and offer fewer moving direction options. This can be a trade-off mechanism and game challenge. It will be better if players can configure cell rotation rate (allowing swifter or blunter capture of pathogens) and whether to apply the trade-off mechanism so as to adjust the difficulty.
        By the way, the sound effects may need improvements. Maybe we can vocalize the immune cells with sexy voices and characteristic lines to boost the confidence of we “commanders”, and vocalize the pathogens in the same way to raise our aggresiveness. Both efforts can make the “battlefield” noisier and more immersive. To be honest, I am not feeling motivated when listening to the same pure BGM and current mild sound effects.

        • Melanie says:

          ??It is lovely that you are thinking so much about how to make a game about cells! It is true, receptor management is an activity players need to manage. The beginning chapter of ID is all about explaining the nitty gritty details. When you have a bird’s eye view later, the ability to zoom in and make some strategic maneuver will be a fun, higher level experience.
          I am consciously steering away from giving the cells Humanoid personalities. I want players to focus on the receptors…
          Generally, I always appreciate feedback, and as soon as I have a little more money, I will be implementing many changes you will like, I know!!!! Thank you!!!! Keep ideas coming! And if you’d like to try making your own game, let me know! Melanie at molecular jig dot com!

          • Baytars says:

            To make it a more strategic game, I guess the receptors may be viewed as technologies instead of equipments. Those receptors are “researched” in cell nucleus by obtaining transcripts. Once the “research” is done, all cells generated thereafter are automatically equipped with all the receptors “researched”.
            In resting state, only one receptor appear on the cell membrane to indicate the cells’ outfits. Once bound, more appear in line with how many ligands bind to them. The conjugation is only dependent on the distance of the ligand to the cell membrane and perhaps binding capacity of the receptor and the cell, but independent of the visual distance of the ligand to the corresponding surface receptor. In such settings, capacity of the receptor or cell can be upgraded with some ATP cost.
            This is my personal opinion and you are free to take it or not.

          • Baytars says:

            I’m interested in what “if you’d like to try making your own game, let me know!” implies. The possible meanings I can think of are:
            1. The game Immune Defence will go open source or expose some of its APIs to allow designers to make some peripheral game modifications (MODs).
            2. Some introduction to development of cell games using Unity from scratch?
            3. Implementation of our players’ ideas by your game dev team?
            4. Joining in your dev team and make full-time/part-time contributions?

          • Melanie says:

            I meant I’d suggest some easy to use game dev engines, if you don’t code. Or card games, those can be fun way to explore creating a game from real life.
            Immune Defense is made in Unity, definitely not open source… Making your own game is the best way to figure out how fun it is and also how hard it is to create a stable system that is fun to interact with as a player. ❤️ So give it a try!

          • Baytars says:

            Sure, I’d love to hear about game engine recommendations. ;D

          • Melanie says:

            Shoot me an email at Melanie at Molecular Jig com. We can chat on Discord, too if you’d like. You can tell me how much coding you already do and I’ll help you find some game making software!

      • Baytars says:

        Maybe the spawn sites can serve as rendezvous for idle immune cells which are uneconomical to call on. The mobilization may be crucial when you have some idle immune cells out there and emergent bacterial infections elsewhere but insufficient ATP.
        Alternatively, you can click on the idle cells and hit a “recycle” button to dismiss the cells and get ATP refund inversely proportion to how much they’ve been used so that we can deal with emergencies farther away from the patrolling immunocytes.

Get our news

* indicates required
Send me *
Email Format