Natural History Museum

Gesture Controlled Game

Extinction or survival through evolution rest in the player's hands, literally.

The Challenge

Working with the physical and practical demands of an international touring exhibition, a standout interactive experience was required to communicate the potentially complex and sombre subject matter of mass extinction to a demanding young audience. The game had to attract and operate with single or multiplayers, and to engage with them to deliver a number of key learning outcomes in a fun, social and memorable way.


Game design

“... a light hearted, addictive and meaningful multiplayer game that combines delicately balanced design with innovative technology.”

The Solution

We created a light hearted, addictive and meaningful multiplayer game that combines delicately balanced design with innovative technology. In ‘Survivor’, players are responsible for nurturing one of three distinct species in a hostile world in order to understand what it takes to survive the longest. Using bespoke gesture technology, the players' hand movements allow them to herd their species around a dynamic terrain. They compete for relevant food types that maintain their health, and precious Survival Tokens that encourage players to adjust their species' traits on an accompanying touch screen. The chances of survival is directly affected by their species' size, diet, mobility and fertility. All the while, the changing environment threatens them with dramatic random extinction events such as meteor strikes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and freezing glaciers...

The Outcomes

A deep immersion into the subject and the attention to detail in the creative - from concept and UX, to visual and audio design, resulted in a benchmark project that successfully conveyed educational messages in an intuitive, entertaining and original game. The styling meant that the game is very approachable despite the grim topic, and players easily connected to and even felt responsible for the strange but endearing species under their care. The painstakingly conceived game mechanics allowed single or multiplayers to enjoy the game at any point without hindering other players in an on-going survival test of the fittest. The game is further supported by backend systems such as auto camera calibration that adjusts itself to different lighting conditions, and a feature that enables staff to change the content to any language as the game travels the world.

Davey Awards, Innovation