CEREBRO: The Virtual Lab

An engaging game to assist the learning of neuroanatomy.

— An educational mobile game about the brain / Client: UBC / The Centre for Digital Media / May - August 2019

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ABOUT THE PROJECT

CEREBRO: The Virtual Lab is a mobile game is designed as an educational tool to assist in the learning of neuroanatomy.

Gamification of education can have a positive impact on engaging students. The brain is difficult to learn about and understand. We have developed a multimedia approach to neuroanatomy education that is both interactive and engaging, based on UBC’s open education resources on neuroanatomy.ca.

The aim of this project is to turn these resources into a game where participants can explore the brain and compete with their peers. The challenge is to take a very didactic and educational resource and turn it into a fun and engaging game without compromising the academic rigour.

CEREBRO: The Virtual Lab is now available to download on Google Play!

Download now!

 

WATCH THE TRAILER !

In preparation for the official release of CEREBRO: The Virtual Lab, I put together a trailer to be showcased at the health and education conferences that our client brought the game.

JOINING THE BRAIN BROS. TEAM

Creation and development of CEREBRO: The Virtual Lab began in January 2019 with team Brain Bros. By May, two chapters of the game had already been designed and sights were set on a new third chapter, a leaderboard, and polishing the game to prepare for launch in the Google Play store.

I joined the team in May as a 2D and 3D artist in the art team. Working closely with the art lead, I worked towards increasing engagement in the game through the creation of new assets and elevating the overall visual design.

 

VISUAL DESIGN

ART & DESIGN GOAL

  1. Bring all elements (UI, environment, character) together more cohesively

  2. Elevate the design to increase engagement (i.e. re-designing buttons and screen layout)

  3. Apply design rules to the new Ch.3, which will include new mechanics, new environment and a new character. 


My contributions to the visual design featured…

  • Assisting art lead in the re-design of gameplay buttons

  • Designing new iconography for the game’s leaderboard feature (Image 03)

  • A more minimal, stylized skybox (aimed at opening up the gameplay world space and better suiting the style of all other assets)

01 — Colour palette

02 — Iconography featured in the game, designed by Meghan Ang

03 — Button designs, co-designed by Zoe Zhang and Meghan Ang

DESIGN RULES

  • Dynamic colour  → Colour choices must be made with the aim of complimenting all elements and improving visibility (high contrast)

  • Clean and simple → Hexagon shape; Best to keep small screen of the mobile as open and uncluttered as possible 

  • Bright and engaging

These design rules were determined based on re-evaluating the previous iteration of the game screen UI (pictured left; created during the first four months of production) when designing the gameplay and incorporating educational value was the main focus. Once that was finalized, the next four months allowed for the art team to better dive into the visual design of the game, creating assets and a layout that elevated the gameplay experience as a whole (final outcome pictured right).

 

CHARACTER DESIGN

I modelled and textured the two characters that would appear in CEREBRO: The Virtual Lab, based on the designs of the art lead and through frequent collaboration with her.

Programs used: Maya Autodesk, Zbrush

ROB —

  • Main, playable character

  • Clean, sleek design → Thoughtful design put into his silhouette to better suit the gameplay of Ch.1 and 2 (Rob is mainly seen from the back)

  • Cute, friendly look Round shapes, bright colour, exaggerated proportions, stylized facial expressions, and a textured finish resembling a plastic toy

— Rob in ZBrush; Modelled by Meghan Ang; Textured by Zoe Zhang

 

— Character concept by Zoe Zhang

— Texture preview in ZBrush

 

BUGGY —

  • Distinct style to Rob → Opposing in colour and proportion (but following the “plastic toy” look as Rob)

  • Rob’s enemy → A non-playable character, but one Rob must interact with in the Ch.3 gameplay

— Buggy in ZBrush; Modelled and textured by Meghan Ang (*Brain is an asset provided by the client)

— Character concept by Zoe Zhang

Buggy progress in Maya

 

STICKERS —

I designed two stickers of Rob and Buggy as additional promotional material to spread the news of the game’s launch!

 

 
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THE BRAIN BROS. TEAM —

2D & 3D Artist — Meghan Ang

Art Lead & UI Designer — Zoe Zhang

UX Designer & Product Owner — Sean Jeon

Project Manager — Julia Lastovikova

Lead Developer — Kim Burke

Developers — Cindy Shi & Wayland Bang