KMD is a big IT-company in Denmark. One of the topics KMD are currently investigating is how to prevent young people from becoming drug addicts.
According to “Sundhedsstyrelsen” there is 33.000 drug addicts in Denmark in 2011. In 2006 that number was 27.000. So there has been an increase in drug addicts over the years.
Research shows that drug addiction starts in the age of 14-19. Therefore it is important to introduce drug prevention in this age group.
The muncipalities are asking for IT-solutions that can help preventing the young people from becoming drug addicts. KMD wants us to further investigate this, before they will invest in development of such an IT-solution.
Week 1 – Fieldwork
In the first meeting with our employer Eskild, we discussed the assignment. He stressed that the data collecting feature would be very important in the game. We complained that the assignment wasn’t written in English.
An interview was conducted with Bjarne Jensen, who works for SSP (Skole, social, politi) in Aalborg kommune. He is working with preventing young people from becoming drug addicts. The primary goal with the interview was to investigate effective methods for prevention. The interview went well, and we got a lot of useful information from Bjarne.
We learned that SSP are making seminars for 3 days for 6th grade, and for 4 days for 8th grade. In these seminars they are teaching the teenagers about drugs. Giving information about drug use is a good method to prevent them from using. During the seminar the teenagers also have to pick a drug, which they need to gather knowledge about. Then they have to make presentations for their parents on the last evening of the seminar. It is important that the teenagers have to make something themselves at these seminars, rather than just holding lectures where they have to sit and listen. Therefore an idea of something interactive like a game could be a good idea.
Another important thing is that the parents need to set guidelines for their kids regarding drugs. They should also talk to the other parents in the class when there is a class party. Doing so will help the kids stay away from alcohol and drugs until they get older.
Also the kids well-being is very important. Kids who are having a tough time either at home or school or in some other way, might start doing drugs at some point.
Interviews on the street
The street interview was conducted on the Aalborg’s streets with young people between 14-19 years old. The aim of that interview was checking the level of knowledge about drugs among teenagers and asking what do they think about concept of a game, which should help them get bigger knowledge in this case.
The interview showed that young people from target group do not know very much about drugs and familiar things. However the concept of an educational game was mostly supported by interviewed ones.
Object Theater is a way to physically concretize your work. When you apply your case to little figures of various colors, shapes and sizes in a box of sand, you eventually get a different view of your case. Our case is about coming up with an IT solution that prohibits youngsters aged between 14 to 19, to do drugs. We started out creating the “landscape” of our target group, with school, friends, group pressure and so on. This enabled us get a better idea of what we were dealing with and where our product would fit in. We came to realize that a big part of the youths world is digital. That means our target group uses allot of the platforms our product run on.
We also found out that the benefits of NOT using drugs had unexplored potential. Our target group, as the figures represented in the top right corner, where huddled around a “drug dealer” representing the dangers, the lure, and the excitement of drugs. But in the lower left corner we had made a pedestal with Buddha, an angel, and a nude young woman. These figures representing innocence, calm, inner peace and virtue. Not one of our target group figures where looking up at that corner, and so we turned them in that direction and saw what we got out of that.
We came to realize that if all of youth where looking in that direction the world would look different. Being a teenager doesn’t correlate with striving for Zen like virtues, but the fact that we didn’t make even one of them look up toward “The Zen” corner suggests that we don’t expect them to. Why is that? Could we make it cool to be clean?
This we wouldn’t have thought about if it weren’t for Object Theater.
Week 2 – Ideation
In the second meeting we showed Eskild the fruits of our field work, and how we would implement our findings in our game at the time. He was especially interested in our thoughts about the wellbeing of teenagers and their parents influence.
The method of Brainstorm is used to get the idea juices flowing. In this instance we simply wrote the features we wanted in the game, and wrote suggestions to how we could implement them. This helped us getting an overview of our ideas so we could agree on which ideas to pursue.
The Core concept is a model designed to help creators prioritize. In the middle of the circle is our core focuses, the most important points. The further we go out from the middle, the less important it gets. We choose to make the game fun and competitive first and foremost in order to draw people in, and play it again and again. That leaves the learning and informative aspects second.
Our task was to visualize our game Ideas for our employer at KMD. In order to do that, we used storyboards. A storyboard is basically a piece of paper with squares on it, mostly used as an instrument to compose a film by drawing scenes up in succession in order to create a narrative overview. That’s basically what we did, sketching out the features in our game in a narrative order. We agreed to do four video sketches, helping each other, but following the vision of the creator so we wouldn’t be hindered by committee.
Week 3 – Concept development
We started the week with a meeting with Eskild from KDM. We showed him the different video sketches we made during week 2. We talked about what works and what doesn’t work in each of the different video sketches. Eventually we agreed that we should try to somehow combine video sketch 1 and 4. In video sketch 1, Eskild liked the idea that the game should somehow involve the parent, but pointed out that a teenager might not want to sit in the same room and play on the same computer as their parents. So if the “play with parent part” could be made so that the teenager and parent would not have to sit in the same room, and so that they would not have to play at the same time, it would be a really good feature. In videosketch 4, we talked about that it probably would be very funny for the teenager to play as a drug dealer. And also it gives a lot of good information about drugs, like where they come from, how they are made etc. There would also be a good opportunity for data collection in this game, since they player has to answer some questions to progress in the game.
After the third meeting we were a bit perplexed. How were we going to mix to concepts?
We didn’t do any more that day, but the following morning we came up with the new concept Drug Lords.
What is Drug Lords?
Drug Lords is a competitive game where each player stands at the opposite ends of a board. Each square represents a district, and whoever gets the most districts wins. In order to control a district you have to sell your home made drugs, complete mini games and answer drug related questions.
We would like to encourage the players to play against their parents as this would hopefully trigger the parental influence. Playing the game would hopefully provoke the players to state their views and have a conversation about drugs. The game is turn based which means that you don’t have to play it at the same time.
By putting the player in the shoes of a drug lord it forces the player learn what is in the drugs and how it is made. This helps to concretize the narcotic and enables player to make a more informed choice when he or she are faced with a drug in the real world.
Questions about drugs are also common in the game where the player gets rewarded for a right answer. The reward will hopefully encourage the player to search for information and ultimately get wiser.
In the beginning of the game the player fills in some basic personal info, which grade, school and so on. A data collector collects all the answers which are send to the commune. A delegate can then be send to the school that did badly in the questions.
1. Co-op with parents
It is important that the parents set guidelines for their kids regarding use of alcohol and drugs. Studies have showed that the kids are less inclined to start using drugs, when the parents have got involved. This game concept tries to get the parents to play with the kids, to show them that this subject is important. It is also important that the kids have knowledge about drugs. In the game there will be questions regarding drugs, to give more information about drugs, but also so that data can be collected to see if the kids and parents have a lack of knowledge regarding drugs. There will also be some “fun elements” where the parent and the kid needs to cooperate in puzzles to progress.
2. Drug Cop
This idea focuses on being fun and informative, but also on data collection. In this game, the player is controlling a cop. His job is to catch drug dealers and drug addicts. The player will also have the ability to start using the drugs he have seized for “positive” short term effects, but with negative long term effects. This should give some information about the effects of using different kinds of drugs. There will be some questions and dialogue options regarding information and attitude when it comes to drugs. The answers from these can be used regarding data collection.
3. Drug Crush
This concept is very similar to candy crush, but with drugs instead of candy. The concept focuses on giving information and collecting data. A good way to reach the kids regarding their attitude towards drugs, is to tell a story about drug use by another young person or idol that they can relate to. So in the end of each level there will be a video telling a story about drug use from either another young person or an idol. While playing, the player can sometimes choose to answer a question about drugs, and if they answer correct they will get a reward in the game. This can also be used for data collection.
4. Drug Lab
The main focus of this game is to provide information about drugs, and collecting data. The player needs to answer some question in the end of each level to progress, and the answers are used in the data collection part. The game is inspired by the popular tv-series Breaking Bad where the main character starts making his own drugs and sells them. So in this game the player starts with some weed plants that he needs to grow and harvest. Then he has to go to the street to find customers, and avoid being caught by the cops. As the player progress it gets possible to make other kinds of drugs, which can be sold for more money. An interesting thing about this idea is that the kids get more knowledge about drugs from the drug dealer’s point of view. Where do drugs come from, how are they made, what ingredients are sometimes put into it. (like glass, rat poison etc.)
Fun and competitive was the keywords when developing this idea. The player controls a character that can only move to the left or right in the bottom of the screen. Coins and drugs fall from the sky, and the player needs to grab the coins to earn money. The player needs to avoid the drugs, since these results in effects that make it harder to grab the coins, but also the player loses 1 of the 3 lives that the player starts with. The game is also informative since the player will experience the effects of picking up the drugs. For example picking up weed results in weakened movement speed and vision.