Play the game right to outsmart the virus

Developed by IIT Tirupati researchers, it’s loaded with safety tips

April 29, 2020 11:44 pm | Updated 11:44 pm IST - TIRUPATI

A student playing the ‘SurviveCovid-19’ game on his mobile phone.

A student playing the ‘SurviveCovid-19’ game on his mobile phone.

Finding a permanent solution to COVID-19 may take time, but tackling its spread is child’s play, if one were to go by the web/mobile game developed by Indian Institute of Technology Tirupati (IIT-T).

‘SurviveCovid-19,’ the Mario-style lightweight survivor game was developed on 2D platform by the Research in Intelligent Software & Human Analytics (RISHA) lab of IIT-T’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering. The game, basically created as an awareness campaign for COVID-19 and played around 800 times till now, is all about a person, who steps out of his house to buy groceries and returns home at a time when a deadly virus is around. All that he has to do is safeguard himself from the virus that chases him by wearing a mask, using sanitisers, eating immunity-boosting fruits and staying away from possible carriers (social distancing) on the street. The protagonist moves around the screen based on the player’s cursor key movements on the system.

‘Effective tool’

The game has been developed by an academic Sridhar Chimalakonda as the mentor and his students Dheeraj Vagavolu and Akhila Sri Manasa Venigalla. “The game is useful not only to beat boredom during the lockdown period, but also in encouraging people to stay indoors and practise health measures,” Dr. Chimalakonda told The Hindu . He feels that creating awareness through games would sync well with the younger generation, rather than through physical campaigns or media advertisements.

The game was designed as an Android-based mobile one and has been evaluated through a remote qualitative user survey with the help of 20 volunteers.

“The results are promising with all the questions in the survey having a mean value greater than 3.6,” say the researchers. While bringing out a full-fledged research paper on the game, the team also claims it to the first-of-its-kind game themed on COVID-19.

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