During the second weekend of March 2023, a scientific game jam took place in Strasbourg (in the Shadok) for the first time. A game jam is an event dedicated to creating a video game in a short time (48 to 72 hours) by small teams of developers, visual artists, sound designers, etc. Usually without any prizes to win, game jams are mostly a fun challenge for passionate players and video game creators. Then, what does this have to do with science ? Well, in 2014, the French Society of Physics in Grenoble initiated the scientific game jam, which included a common scientific theme to create a video game about. This rule added other interesting challenges : creating imaginative gameplay using complex scientific concepts and being able to communicate to the general public about these concepts. For the 2023 edition, the initial organizers extended this event to multiple cities all over France, including Strasbourg.
This Strasbourg edition also implemented something new : every team would not work on one scientific concept, but every team would have their own scientist with them to work on their own thesis! This rule really shed more light on the scientific concepts behind every game and extended the variety of possibilities. Each scientist, most if not all of them from the unistra, presented their project in a short presentation in front of everyone. Study fields were very diverse : biology, quantum chemistry, informatics, linguistics, mathematics, korean cinema, etc. I had the pleasure to present my thesis work about nociception in planarians, which always produces its load of curious questions in the public, and give a quick shout out to Euridol.
At the end of the weekend, we managed to have a playable game, which you can find here : https://fobya.itch.io/sc-planaire.
The game’s presentation page is in French but to give you a quick idea of what it is about, it is a 2D survival game where you control a planarian in a quest for water, but you will need to glide through rough environments and avoid predators.
If you want to have a look at other submissions to the scientific game jam (not only from Strasbourg but also from Grenoble, Nancy, Lyon, Paris and more), here’s the link : https://itch.io/jam/scientific-game-jam-printemps-2023/entries.
This first Strasbourg edition was created, moderated and managed by Héberlé Eléa (PhD, former Unistra student) and Alexandre Lefebvre (from East Games). If you are interested in this event but did not hear about it, please get in touch with the organizers from the website or myself, it will help make it happen next year too!