The University Of Southern California's GamePipe Laboratory, which announced late last year
that it had appointed Michael Zyda of America's Army
as its director, has announced that it has begun work on its first R&D contract: a $272,000 effort funded by the National Science Foundation to improve K-12 biology teaching.
Zyda will lead the project, a game named ImmunoAttack
, in collaboration with Chris Swain, a faculty member of the USC School of Cinema-Television, and Victor LaCour, a faculty member of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering department of computer science working with the Federation of American Scientists and Brown University.
The title is intended to teach real scientific information about immunology through discovery based exploration, associative reasoning, and skill-based gameplay, and the idea is to supplement and extend the chapter on the immune system of a standard biology textbook (Biology, by Neil A. Campbell and Jane B. Reece) with a dramatic videogame that presents the material in a challenging and accessible manner.
"The vision for the project has been articulated by FAS and Brown," said Zyda. "GamePipe and the School of Cinema's Game Innovation Lab will provide the expertise to make this vision playable, educational, and fun."
The project is scheduled to deliver the first two levels of the ImmunoAttack
game for use in a test high school by March 2006. In addition to Zyda, Swain, and LaCour, the project team includes a full-time lead engineer, lead graphic designer, lead programmer, plus support personnel and student designers and programmers.