Context

Tevi is a mobile video game for natural awareness inspired by the Eden Project. It is being created by the MetaMakers Institute of Falmouth University’s Games Academy in partnership with the Eden Project. As a part of MetaMakers Institute research project, it uses interactive evolutionary computation to simulate a garden. The video game Tevi is also an experiment on using video games for natural heritage valorisation.

Tevi is available on most mobile marketplaces!

Download it here:

(beta version, English only)


Objectives

Tevi is seeking to raise awareness of young adults on nature, botanical and conservational issues. The aim is to create a game matching 18-25 years old interests, especially those with low interest towards nature.

Gameplay

In Tevi , players are asked to build and manage an extraterrestrial outpost inspired by Eden’s biomes and initial clay pit. They’ll have to develop and grow an artificial garden to create the most impactful and efficient outpost possible. The game is set in the near future, with an explicit Sci-fi setting.

In order to foster a sense of belonging and teamwork, players are divided into three competing factions. Each faction has its own identity and players will choose according to their taste and priorities.

Players use five categories of plants to build their outpost: food, fuel, construction materials, medicine, and culture. A ranking system tracking players’ progression would also be implemented.

Main obstacle: resources would become increasingly hard to come by as the game progresses, until, eventually, players will have to obtain them by either waiting or “paying” by taking pictures of real-life plants and identifying them correctly. Rarer plants will provide greater rewards. Eden and specialised gardens have a more extensive range of exotic plants, and hopefully, this will be enough of a push for some players to visit Eden. We expect that the archetypes of similar games will push players to develop their ecosystem in an unsustainable way, to begin with, but by having them run out of resources, we slowly teach them to apply sustainable strategies.

Core motivators of the game:

  • Seeing your plants grow, evolve and interact with each other as plants would behave: in a logical but slightly unpredictable way.
  • Getting to know real-life nature.
  • Building and designing an outpost and comparing it to other players’.

Research

The experimental video game Tevi will be a part of The MetaMakers Institute research project. It will focus on the following research goals:

  • Explore the possibilities of increasing natural awareness through video games, with a focus on how people relate to nature.
  • Develop new gameplay mechanics to create meaningful interaction with the environment.
  • Experiment procedural content generation (PCG) for the creation and representation of natural elements and their evolution in real-time 3D video games.
  • Measuring the impact of a video game in the development of a target audience in a cultural and educational site.

State of development

The game is currently in beta stage. A prototype has been presented at the Eden Project’s visitor from February 16th to 23rd. We will also present it at the Leftfield Collection in London during EGX, come and see us! (4-6 April 2019)

The game currently includes most gameplay feature at the exception of multiplayer, but is not perfectly polished and doesn’t have yet all of its content.

The project will soon be released on Github on an opensource repository containing all source code and graphical content.

Planning of the research project

  • August 2018: Game design
  • September 2018: Beginning of the development
  • November 2018: First prototype as an alpha version
  • February 2019: Release of the beta version, with the first phase of public test and the game published on the Android play store and on the Apple store.
  • Until April 2019: Analyse of the results and improvement of the game with additional feature and bug corrections.

Research and development team

  • Dr. Edwige Lelièvre, MetaMakers Institute Research Fellow: Team leader, game design, programming, graphic design
  • Giovanni Rubino, MetaMakers Institute Game designer: Game design, programming, playtesting, graphic design
  • Tim Phillips, MetaMakers Institute Game designer: Game design, programming, playtesting
  • Dr. Joan Casas Roma MetaMakers Institute Research Fellow: Music, game design
  • Blanca Perez Ferrer, MetaMakers Institute Curator: Graphic design, playtesting, game design
  • Dr. Rob Saunders, Director of the MetaMakers Institute: Scientific supervision

Advisors at Eden

  • Dr. Jo Elworthy, director of Interpretation
  • Chris Bisson, policy development manager, horticulturist
  • Catherine Cutler, biome supervisor, horticulturist
  • Céline Holman, senior exhibit designer
  • John Porter, biome supervisor, horticulturist
  • Chris Jenord
  • Lucy Wenger
  • Gabriela Gilkes

Advisors at Falmouth University

  • Dr. Pr. Tanya Krzywinska
  • Ché Wilbraham
  • Dr. Edward Powley
  • Brian McDonald
  • Heidi Ball
  • Terry Greer
  • Dr. Rory Summerley

External contractors

  • Searra Dodds: UI art
  • Pheobe Herring: artworks
  • Troy Atkinson: Ios port
  • Maddalena Gattoni: trailer
  • Neal Megaw and Zach Ellison of MAYN Creative: filming for user research
  • Florïn Zolli: flyer design and 2D illustration

The analysis of plants’ pictures is made using Pl@ntnet API.