How do you foster curiosity and get kids to have an affinity with nature? How do kids become nature lovers?
Look Around is a role-playing exploration mobile game that encourages kids who live in urban centers to go outside and interact with their immediate surroundings. The game allows the player to look for certain items in nature per the request of different animal characters as well as answer questions posed from nature itself in order to gather in-game items.
Look Around tries to address Nature Deficit Disorder, coined by Richard Louv as a behavior that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors.
Sketch, Unity, Adobe Illustrator
Look Around had a vigorous process in which many ideas were explored around “reconnecting with nature”
I first started looking at simulating nature and looking at the human presence in nature, such as an interactive forest or pond, and seeing the human impact on these environments.
These simulation prototypes were not aligning with my concept of “reconnecting with nature”, so I scaled down my idea to be screen-based with a natural painting canvas or an interactive map using natural elements.
These prototypes were more successful than the previous ones where it aligned with my concept but after my user testers still did not feel like they were associating themselves with nature, or feeling the need to go out to nature.
I brainstormed more ideas such as scavenger hunts, nearest park maps, and worldwide ISPY game, and combined them all together to create the first version of Look Around. I first created a digital paper prototype where I pretended to be one of the characters in the game and the player had to physically bring me items. I tested this paper prototype on grad students as well as kids.
After playtesting numerous times, I digitized the experience on Sketch and exported the screens to Marvel.
Look Around’s game system needs to be further developed. I want there to be a more exciting reward system as well as thinking of other engaging ways of acquiring items like drawing or taking a photo of the item.
The impact that I wanted Look Around to have was:
to teach kids to have values and appreciation for nature,
to understand that nature is everywhere. and
to actually “care” for nature