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Re-Genesis VR: CRISPR Gene editing
Updated 7 months ago
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"Welcome to ChimeraNova, the world’s first privately funded gene therapy clinic..."
"... I hope you’re excited to advance the human species!"

Project duration: January 9th - January 31st, 2019
Team: Bachelor of Game Design students from Sheridan College (Ontario, Canada)

Re-genesis is a VR game created in 3 weeks for the Unity Global Student Challenge using Unity, Oculus Rift, and Leap Motion.
Inspired by CRISPR gene editing technology, this hands-on VR experience puts the player in the seat of a DNA re-sequencing robot, allowing them to explore the potential applications - and implications - of genetic engineering.


“Teach people something new.”


To tackle the theme of this challenge, we decided to make an educational game that is loosely based on the scientific technology of CRISPR. The core game loop is based off the exact steps of CRISPR and how DNA segments are spliced using the technology. During the latter half of the puzzle, players must find and match the correct nitrogenous base pairings to complete the sequence.


Our game is fully voiced and narrated by an A.I. companion. The player is walked through the tutorial and is provided with commentary on medical terminology and the science behind each step of CRISPR.
We also wanted to explore the moral implications of gene editing through the narrative of our game, basing it around the fictional impact this technology has had on a dystopian world. The unique perspectives of this alternate society on genetic engineering are revealed as the A.I. companion narrates each genetic modification order the player receives.

"This sample comes from a patient with Cystic Fibrosis, a fatal disease that causes malnutrition, debilitates the lungs, and eventually leads to death. You're going to cure it."
"For Premium Gold-Tier Members of ChimeraNova, no child disappoints. Our customers want what's best for their children - and our customers know best."

Research & Inspirations


Our first step when we began brainstorming for the theme was to find topics that the team was well versed in. We soon discovered that all four of us were science nerds! Peter has a completed B.Psychology degree and I had spent a year in an Honours B.Science program. We discussed which sub-category of science interested us the most and ended up watching this video together as a team:



Just YouTube videos obviously aren't enough! So to further dive into the topic we looked into scientific articles & papers:
CRISPR-Cas9 is revolutionizing the field of genome editing by Thermo Fisher Scientific
RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS: CRISPR by Broad Institute
Development and Applications of CRISPR-Cas9 for Genome Engineering by US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health


Gameplay


Once we were pretty much set on this being the topic for our game, we began thinking of gameplay mechanics that could be designed based off of our research notes and two 3D visualization videos we found on CRISPR.

Step 1: Untwist the double helix


Step 2: Find and highlight the targeted sequence


Step 3: Cut and splice out sequence


Step 4: Find bases for replacement/desired sequence


Developing for VR & Leap Motion








Making the game







The Narrative




The Environment






Tools & Resources


All 3D Models, music, and art assets were created in-house.
The primary tools and software used to develop the games are:
  • Unity 2018.3.0f2
  • Autodesk Maya
  • Autodesk 3Ds Max
  • Oculus Rift VR
  • Leap Motion
Assets used:
  • Cinemachine
  • Post Processing Stack 2
  • FMOD
  • Hologram Shaders by Andy Duboc

We had a LOT of fun making this. Thank you for reading and I hope you like our game! :D
Anita He
Game Designer - Student
1
Contributors
Justin San Juan
Technical Game Designer - Designer
Peter Francis
Student - Designer
Sanaa Memon
Game & Narrative Designer - Student
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