Game designer from Sudbury creates video game to help fight COVID-19
SUDBURY -- A small gaming company based in St. Catharines, Ont. has created a video game to help in the fight against COVID-19.
One of the key members of the company, Devil’s Cider Games, is Sudbury’s, Christine Harte.
Harte is from Hanmer, but now lives in St. Catherines where she’s focusing on the game COVID as well as other projects she has on the go.
Devil’s Cider Games was formed in 2018, by four ex schoolmates, and in early February they launched the game “Cats Colony Crisis.”
“You have to move around the camera and look at what the cats are doing. You have to look out for if their sneezing and coughing. You’re going to want to click on them and check them and test them,” said Harte.
“If you get a positive test you have to quarantine them. After you reach your home your score is based on how many sick cats were quarantined and how many healthy cats you have.”
The game was made possible through the “Jamming the Curve” event put on by LabX -- a public engagement program of the National Academy of Sciences.
According to the organization's website, the event "brought together gamers, public health experts, and scientists to create video games that could help combat COVID-19."
Devil’s Cider Games had two weeks to create a video game that was designed to promote pro-science concepts in the fight against COVID-19.
"Basically the only direction that we were given was that it was supposed to be a game that promoted pro science concepts and would help fight the spread of COVID 19," said Paul Boyko of Devil’s Cider Games.
"With it being cats and them doing what they want and not necessarily following the directions that would be good to slow the spread, it reinforces the personal responsibility in the fight against COVID."
The game was declared the winner of the event, and also won a $20,000 U.S. development grant from LabX to improve the game and then release it.
"We got to revamp almost all the art, and we actually changed the way the game is played," said Harte.
"We got to add a little story that the cats are arriving home now. So we got to add in their home planet, now new cats can join the game, and we also got to give the cats personalities."
Cat Colony Crisis is free to download and is available on PC, MAC, Linux, Google Play and the Apple App Store.
Harte says that while their target market is people aged 16 to 30, the game is suitable for anyone.