On Friday, the augmented reality game developer of Kenya, Internet of Elephants, launched its game after partnering with conversation science experts from Borneo Nature Foundation, Chester Zoo, and Zoo Atlanta. The name of the new game is “Wildeverse,” and it uses AR to create a kind of virtual forest that players can explore to find certain animals or clues about the animals.
Initially, the game was developed to be played outdoors. However, the COVID-19 crisis has forced the team to pivot and create an option that lets people move around virtually or walk-in confined places. COVID-19 has also affected wildlife. Recently, a tiger at Bronx Zoo tested positive for COVID-19.
At the start, there is a chat segment that introduces the players to the gameplay and sets up the context of the virtual environment which the players will explore. The graphics don’t focus on recreating a jungle environment; however, they create an abstract forest that players can explore. A timer keeps track of the time it takes for players to complete a mission. This involves acknowledging and identifying certain animals in the AR-created forest.
You can play the game on an Android or iOS device which supports ARCore. Moreover, the game features a variety of challenges.
To make this AR game possible, the Internet of Elephants developers visit the jungles of Congo and Borneo to speak with the conservationists about their work and figure out the wildlife to use within the game. The game developers also tracked several monkey families.
The founder, Gautam Shah, said in a statement, “Ape population is decimated around the world. The protection of wildlife will only become a priority if more people take an interest in it. However, the conservationists on the ground have the support of only a few people. We have a mission to turn the two billion people in the game, into wildlife lovers.”
According to Shah, you can learn so much from the game. He states, “You can learn a lot of juicy stuff from the game. It’s all about creating a connection between you and someone in Borneo studying orangutans.”
The game was designed to be played outdoors, with a thirty-meter radius to get the sense of the gameplay. However, it works quite well in a small studio apartment in Los Angeles. Moreover, the text within the game is quite informative and gives players a chance to learn more about orangutans, like the food they eat and their habitat. The script is a bit lengthy but not tiresome at all. Moreover, it is based on actual conversations with the conservationists in different forests.
The game is all about connecting and educating the next generation about nature conservancy through new technology. Shah states, “We want to make wildlife a topic of daily conversation for the people. The attention of people matters much more than they think.”
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