NTU students develop computer game for health education

NTU students develop computer game for health education
Screenshots from the game, titled 'City Patrol'

SINGAPORE - Four students from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have launched 'The Right Choice', a public health campaign to promote healthy eating habits among primary school children.

Part of the campaign is a 3D game, 'City Patrol', where players have the chance to interact with in-game characters and complete mini-quests in order to become the hero who saves the city from an influx of bad food.

The students carried out a survey of 274 parents and found that one in three had difficulties getting their children to eat healthy. 'City Patrol' is designed to allow children to learn about balanced meals and expose them to a greater variety of fruits and vegetables.

The game's key approach is social gamification, which is the application of gaming concepts such as rewards and character progression.

Players complete mini-games like crossword puzzles and multiple-choice questions to earn rewards and progress through the game.

"Health and nutrition is a topic that children may not always be interested in, so we wanted to offer a fresh perspective through gamification and improve their attitude towards foods they otherwise would not try," said Mr Huang Shuqun, one of the campaign organisers.

Players can also choose to consume various food items in the game, which would either increase or decrease their health, depending on the food.

With a focus on a balanced diet consisting of all the different food groups, the game aims to inculcate the right attitude towards a healthy diet within their target audience.

'City Patrol' has been introduced to Da Qiao Primary School, and will next go to Rosyth School and Raffles Girls' Primary School as part of the campaign's school outreach.

andrewg@sph.com.sg

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