MICROFIDO

Video game concept focused on erasing the negative stigma of bacteria

Graphic Design, User Experience, User Interface, Narrative

 
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Background

I worked with Morgan Tieu to create a video game concept. Our goal was to create a game that would help erase the negative stigma surrounding the human microbiota as well as bacteria in general.

This game is targeted towards a younger demographic, ages 5-12. MicroFido’s colorful environment and puzzles would simultaneously help captivate the audience and increase their knowledge about bacteria and microorganisms’ beneficial relationship to humans.

My Role

I wrote the narrative as well as designed the layout and interface. Morgan created the artwork for the game and conceptualized our main character, Fido. We worked together to create the logo as well as the mechanics.

Mission

To create a video game concept to improve society’s perception of bacteria.

 
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Story

While in school, a boy learns about some benefits of bacteria but still believes that all bacteria are bad. As the bell releases the students for home, the boy begins to cough and feel sick. His mother picks him up from school and checks his temperature. He has a fever! His mother tucks him into bed and goes to make him soup. The boy drifts off to sleep and begins to have a strange dream...

MicroFido tells the story of a Bifidobacterium longum’s journey to save his human. Fido, the Bifidobacterium longum, puts his heart and soul in curing his human. He traverses through the maze of the human microbiota collecting medicine packets and eliminating pathogens. After each maze, he learns a new ability which he will use to solve more mazes. Once he collects all 3 of the medicine packets, the boy is cured!

The boy wakes up from his dream and looks around in disbelief for he is cured. He would never doubt the positive effects of bacteria again!

Branding

We chose the typefaces BubbleGum and Proxima Nova to be featured in our game. Our team loved the personality and friendliness of BubbleGum. Its soft edges give off the impression of childlike wonder. We used Proxima Nova as a secondary text because we adored the simplicity. Proxima Nova’s classic silhouette is readable while still provoking imagination.

 
 

Logo

We wanted the logo to represent Fido and chose to include his ears as well as a slime texture. We strove to make the logo entertaining to attract children.

 
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Fido, the Microscopic Good Boy

We were inspired to find an actual beneficial bacteria that presents a symbiotic relationship between people and the microbiome. Our team collaborated on ideas but ultimately, Morgan created the artwork and conceptualizing Fido.

Bifidobacterium longum, a bacterium that is known for being helpful to our health, as well as one that actively fights off offending pathogens was our ideal main character.

To make this character more friendly and attractive to a younger demographic, we shortened the scientific name to Fido and drew inspiration from the naming to make him more canine in appearance. While he retains the overall attributes associated with bacteria, his resemblance to an excitable dog will hopefully make him more appealing to children.

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Mechanics

 
 

Stages

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Stage 1

As Bifidobacterium longum naturally resides in the human gastrointestinal tract, this is where Fido starts his journey. The stage is designed to be bright and textured, with orange acting as the predominate element in the color scheme. The GI Tract inspiration is represented through the wavy textures in the background of the stage, which are meant to be the walls of the large and small intestines.

This is the most basic level presented to the player. Fido is able to move left and right, as well as jump over obstacles. He is also able to perform short and long range attacks, either by spraying lactic acid or launching it at far ranged enemies. As of now, Fido can perform no special abilities.

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Stage 2

As Fido moves along in his journey, he finds himself inside the lymphatic vessels that make up the immune system. The color scheme mainly incorporates the use of shades of blues, and overall has a dark, yet elegant aesthetic. The watery nature of this level is our way of representing the clear fluid called lymph that moves along these vessels.

As the player has gotten a hold of the basic mechanics of the game, we began introducing one of Fido’s special abilities: Bioluminescence. In order to progress through this specific stage, the player must recharge their Bioluminescence at the glowing flowers located throughout the level. Each recharge is for a temporary amount of time. If the platform is not revealed by Fido’s glowing, he will fall through the map.

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Stage 3

Later, Fido makes his way into the Skeletal System, where he travels through bones to continue on his search. These bones are represented in a traditional way: white and smooth as new snow. The sky and backgrounds have the main components for the Circulatory System showing- the arteries, veins and an assortment of rushing red blood cells.

In this area, Fido gains the special ability of Communication. As Fido progresses through this level, he finds himself blocked off by bones in multiple areas. He finds a friendly bacteria residing in the porous space of the bones. He asks for their aid and the bacteria can be controlled by the player in order to move joints originally blocking Fido’s path. Fido makes sure to send a big thanks to his friends for the help!