Students Play Key Role in IndieCade’s Global Covid-19 ‘Game Jam’

September 23, 2020 | Atlanta, GA

Video games are not just fun. They also can help give insight into experiences that charts or news stories cannot provide. That makes them a great tool to help teach people about ways to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Students working in the Digital Integrative Liberal Arts Center (DILAC) in the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts and the Quantitative Biosciences Graduate Program at Georgia Tech are making that point in a big way with their work as part of IndieCade’s Jamming the Curve game design event. They designed two video games and an epidemiological model to power them and provided an explanatory video to help game designers competing in the event, which runs through Oct. 1. IndieCade is a highly regarded juried festival for independent games. 

Digital Media Master's student Kevin Xu Tang of Atlanta helped design one of the games, called Essential Workers.

"We wanted to show how individual decisions during a pandemic could influence others in a community and vice versa,” Tang said. “Along the way, we also realized that we could use Essential Workers to show how brutally difficult it could be for some people to even survive the pandemic, whether financially or physically.”

A Georgia Tech Quantitative Biosciences student also designed the epidemiological model used in the games to determine players’ chances of getting infected. Marian Dominguez-Mirazo, a Ph.D. student in the College of Sciences, worked with the DILAC team as a part-time researcher over the summer.

To learn more, read the full feature.

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