Goombas and piranha plants are as iconic to Super Mario Bros as star gems and hypercubes are to Bejeweled. Developing a visual language for a game is key to creating a uniform and intuitive game experience. We chose a game look with high saturation, strong outlines, and smoothed geometry to simplify complex molecular shapes. We also took liberty with the size and shape of the binding molecules to make the game easier to play and to reinforce the lock-and-key mechanism.
Two examples of visual language from science research and biomedical games
Figure 3. In this biomedical game, we used a simplified visual language to make complex objects like
protein receptors more iconic and easier to interact with.
Distilling complex biological content down into meaningful graphics, storyboards, and game levels was one of the most important, challenging, and time-consuming steps in the process. Luckily, we had several biomedical communicators on the team who acted as scientific consultants, artists, and game designers. Having these resources not only made our design process faster, but also made the player interactions and educational messaging more cohesive and accurate.