Rapid prototyping expert and proud FLEGA member PreviewLabs has been selected by Yale University to develop smokeSCREEN VR, a serious game prototype using Oculus VR focused on e-cigarette prevention in adolescents. The goal of the prototype is to inform teenagers about potential social pressure involving vaping and to harden them against it.
Part of a larger research study funded by Oculus, PreviewLabs will work together with Play4Real, the new research lab at Yale’s Center for Health & Learning Games. Building on PlayForward: smokeSCREEN, a narrative-based game focusing on youth decision-making about smoking, the final goal of the project is to create a vertical slice prototype to be published on the Oculus Store.
Moving the experience to a VR environment allows for a better simulation of a real-life scenario where a young person is pressured into e-cigarette use. Additionally, the researchers plan to study how certain sound effects, such as the sound of your own heartbeat, can amplify the amount of social pressure. The prototype will also have mixed reality features. People playing the game will be filmed against a green screen that shows a projection of the virtual environment, so researchers can easily document on what’s happening.
According to PreviewLabs founder Bernard Francois, the unique challenge of this project is to realistically bring a difficult social situation to life within a playable VR game. A tough trial perhaps but, according to previous work on health research game prototypes, we’re pretty sure they’re up to the task.