Habitat is a touch-based (phone and tablet) mobile-social game experience that combines traditional mobile-social mechanics with gamified real-world activities and imaginative play to engage kids between 8-12 years old with protecting the environment with their everyday actions.
This game will be available for iOS and Android smartphones, tablets and the web.
The real innovation and point of difference lies of Habitat in the simulation/serious game potential in the links to the real world behaviours, providing players with real understanding of how their lives impact remote wildlife.
Every time a child undertakes a real world action (like turning off a light) they will be able to see their savings in terms of carbon, water and land use. All of the algorithms that underpin the game have been calculated by the Integrated Sustainability Analysis (ISA) team in the School of Physics at the University of Sydney.
The Habitat team is also working with government education departments to incorporate the game into the school curriculum, thereby expanding its reach among children. Games are increasingly used as a tool for education, and we believe that Habitat is ideally suited to the late primary and early high school curriculum, including but not limited to environmental studies, science and geography.
In Habitat, the player will take care of a polar bear living in Glacier Park, an arctic wildlife refuge. They’ll clean, feed, and play with their bear, maintaining the animals’ happiness — but more is needed to keep them healthy. A habitat shop will contain treats, toys, and special interactive items that the player can purchase with eco tokens earned by completing missions. Missions can be self-contained within the game (such as feeding or cleaning the bears), but real world missions prompt kids to complete activities in their homes in order to reduce their ecological footprint.
A leaderboard system will keep track of habitat points the player earns by caring for their bears and completing real-world missions to improve overall bear happiness. When the game starts, players will be able to view their progress relative to their friends and the global game. Leaderboard status will not be zero-sum but qualitative, so players can be “energy stars” if they complete many energy-saving activities, or “expert bear caretakers” if they excel at maintaining bear happiness, etc.
Habitat exists in a space between time-based light game apps such as Tiny Sheep and Tap Pet Hotel and real-world activity based apps such as Cyclemeter and EnergySavvy. Habitat provides educational content in a fun way contextualized to the happiness of the polar bears, while also providing stealth education in the form of minigames whose tokens reflect concepts around energy consumption, ocean sustainability, and more. Kids will be drawn to Habitat for its cute polar bears, keep playing for its achievements (unlockable objects) and arcade-like minigames, and along the way pick up suggestions for how they can reduce their ecological footprint and environmental impact.