Specimania brings one of the largest research-based museums in the world into the palm of your hand
Specimania from The Field Museum of Natural History represents a celebration of our fascination and love for the sciences. Discovery and education can be fun and current and it takes institutions willing to think outside of the box to truly be successful. For The Field Museum's first iOS application, the goals were very clear:
Some incredible brainstorming with the New Media team resulted in a digital trading card game called 'Specimania'. Here's how we set out to achieve the projects goals:
For children 2-5 we created a matching game. Cards from the game are placed in a 4x4 grid. Users tap and/or scratch the dirt off the cards in order to reveal matches. If a user finds all the matches in the game within 30 seconds, they unlock a new Character Card.
For children 6-12 we created a trading card game. The game mechanics revolve around a deck of characters, boosters that power the cards, and gotcha cards that act to trump normal game play.
We separated the deck of cards into the 4 halls of the museum: Anthropology, Botany, Geology, and Zoology. From that, scientists nominated 12 Characters from their discipline to be professionally illustrated. The scientists were then tasked with coming up with 1-3 paragraphs of text that contained facts and history of the specimen/artifact.
There are 48 scientifically accurate cards in the game that came together via 2 rounds of sketches, 2 rounds of illustrations, character names, types of cards, halls, trivia questions/answers, challenge names/points, comments and approval status. To keep this from becoming an organizational nightmare, we turned to our friend Drupal. We leveraged:
To help connect outside of the museum, we integrated game center (coming in the second update) so that users can play live against other players around the world. To encourage attendance, there are certain cards that can ONLY be unlocked through special codes found in the museum. To get the most rare and powerful cards, yes you still you need to go the museum.
Our friend and Emmy Award Nominee Saxton Moore and his team at Pixel Pirate Studios did all the custom illustrations. The back of each card has a short description about that Character. Users who answer trivia questions correctly get 10 units of power added to their card! More points mean more powerful cards in the Vs game. We've also found that pretty much any age group gravitates to answering the trivia, including 3+ year olds with the help of their parents.
We hope you enjoy playing!
Ever wondered what treasures lie hidden within The Field Museum’s vaults? Curious about the creatures that lurk within its halls? Unlock the Museum’s secrets via a new, downloadable iPhone and iPad app that contains collectible cards featuring unbelievable artifacts, animals, fossils, plants and more from the institution’s vast collections.
Explore the deck to learn more about the headline-making history of each card character, and test your new-found knowledge with the Trivia Question portion of the game. Or compete with your friends to see who comes out on top! Younger kids can get in on the action, too, by matching card characters in a memory game.