25 October 2005
A computer game based on the antics of a whale could soon be making waves in a major environmental campaign.
Second-year students on the computer arts degree course at the University of Abertay Dundee competed to design a prototype game to help WWF (formerly the World Wildlife Fund) promote the "Scotland's Global Footprint" campaign.
Forty-five students on the course submitted game ideas for assessment and shortlisting by professional games designer Stewart Graham of Denki Software and Barbara Stratton of WWF. The students then split into 10 teams to develop the 10 shortlisted games to prototype stage.
The winning project, Minke the Whale, designed by Ben Edwards, Colin Clark and George Denoon, is a game that shows how simple household activities can have an impact on the global environment.
Stewart Graham praised the winner: "We picked Minke because of its relevance to the issues, its simplicity, playability and the fact that it could be possible to actually finish making it. Most of the other good projects were a bit ambitious to make into a complete package."
Barbara Stratton said: "We're very impressed with Minke the Whale, and we're looking to a possible joint funding deal with a manufacturer or programme developer that could allow the game to be used on the children's fun section of our website. Minke is a simple, easy-to-use format that has a lot of potential for expansion.
"The messages are clear - 'what we do here has an effect there'. It links the items put down the sink or drain with what happens to the marine environment. It also touches on the link between climate change and the polar bear. These are major campaigns for WWF, and we could see the possibility of expanding the concept behind Minke."
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