Presented By CyGames

NSF-funded Project Seeks Development of Next Generation Educational Lunar Game

Dated Posted: Fri Nov 14 2008

Serious game developers will have an opportunity to help develop a videogame that may ultimately transform how students learn and teachers teach.

The National Science Foundation has funded the CyGaMEs project through a grant to the Center for Educational Technologies®. CyGaMEs means Cyberlearning through GaME-based Metaphor Enhanced Learning Objects. CyGaMEs studies the role of videogames in science education. Part of the grant is designated to the continued development of Selene: A Lunar Construction GaME. In addition to refining the existing game, the awardee will design and develop new game components. In Selene, whose original game concept and proof-of-concept were created by internationally recognized game designer Ian Bogost and his team of graduate students at Georgia Tech, players learn how Earth's Moon was formed as they create their own moon and then pepper it with impact craters and flood it with lava flows. Selene is a cross-platform, online, single-player, casual game. Selene will collect and post all gameplay data to an SQL database for analysis.

The center has released a request for proposal for this work. Those wishing to transform education by defining the next generation of instructional games can access the RFP online. The award date for the contract will be in the first quarter of 2009.

NSF awarded funding to CyGaMEs because the research program is potentially transformative, Reese said. According to the NSF, "Transformative research describes a range of endeavors that promise extraordinary outcomes, such as revolutionizing entire disciplines, creating entirely new fields, or disrupting accepted theories and perspective. It is research that has the potential to change the way we address STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] challenges."

The grant continues research first funded by NASA at the Center for Educational Technologies in 2006. NASA had asked researchers to study how videogames could be used to disseminate NASA science and to assess how well students learn while playing the games. That effort resulted in the creation of Selene.

Selene is aimed at players ages 9-18. Before they can play, they must be registered by an adult recruiter, who confirms players' ages, gets parental consent, and gathers other players. To sign up as a recruiter or play Selene, visit the Selene website or contact Lisa McFarland at 304-243-2479 or

The Selene game has earned a number of awards, including recognition from the Association for Educational Communications and Technology, the 2007 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge, and the GDC Serious Games Summit, 2006.