Edugaming is a thing, right? It’s totally a thing.
While a lot of gamers don’t pay any mind to the all the weird things they do whilst playing through their gaming catalogue, it’s actually a pretty educational experience when you get right down to it. Whether you’re learning the ropes in your latest RPG—what the heck is this skill tree doing here?—or you’re just starting out in your MOBA of choice, education is organic to gamers. We’re learning a lot, and we don’t even notice it.
Lucky for us, one team has. Gainesville-based start-up Immersed Games loves learning — a lot. So much so that their first contribution to the gaming industry comes in the form of an education-based MMORPG. “But Emily,” you grunt. “You just told us all games are educational.” Not like this, they’re not.
Tyto Online is a futuristic MMORPG that’s looking to completely change the face of educational PC gaming. The team at Immersed is looking to fuse real-life learning application with fun and addictive gameplay, and their Kickstarter is on its way to an overwhelming success.
Tyto Online is offering up a uniquely immersive narrative experience. Set in a future where even the greatest technological advancements could not prevent the decline of the sacred Earth, the Tyto Foundation, known for bringing about the golden age of technology, seeks to evacuate earth in search of vast, lush new landscapes to build the foundation for new human life. Billions of people set out to explore the expanse of space — including you. After waking up on a new home from a much-needed Cryosleep, you start your new life as a recruit at Tyto Academy. It’s now your job—your life mission—to explore, research, and build humanity’s new home. You’ll need to be an expert in a plethora of different disciplines if you’re going to succeed. Lucky for you, Tyto Online will teach you everything you need to know. You’ll have to research and learn from Earth’s past if you ever plan on making a better future.
The unique element of this game really rests in the MMORPG concept. You’ll be learning with hundreds, if not thousands, of other players from all around the world. It can be used as a social exercise as well as be implemented as a team building experience. You’ll work together to level up throughout your journey to reinvigorate humanity with a new and glorious purpose.
“It takes hints from World of Warcraft,” states Veronica Hernandez, marketing intern at Immersed Games. “But it’s built in a way that emphases fun academic learning.” She went on to state that all of it will be as organic and enjoyable as possible. After all, that’s what draws us to video games in the first place.
I talked at length with Hernandez about Tyto Online‘s overall goals, and the passion emanating from her (and from the sound of it, the rest of her team) is overwhelming — in the best way possible. “It’s not only about learning,” she continued. “We’ll introduce important concepts that engage civic responsibilities as well. This game isn’t just about math or science or whatever — it’s about life.”
While Tyto Online looks to involve a slew of academic disciplines, the first module will focus solely on science. Specifically, biodomes.
If you’ve ever taken environmental science, you’re probably pretty familiar with the concept of biodomes; Immersed is looking to expand on that knowledge with an uniquely interactive take. The first module will be filled to the brim with some pretty outstanding MMORPG concepts—character customization, leveling, networking—and will task players to maintain biodomes. Using ecological concepts geared at middle school students—as well as following middle school science standards—players will have to think critically and effectively if they’re to create a space suitable for all living things.
The module will also introduce the biodex — a guide to all the flora and fauna in a specific biome. As you journey on your path of discovery, new additions will be added to your biodex, expanding your ever-growing list of knowledge. Eventually, you’ll take all that you’ve learned and apply it effectively to build and sustain your very own biodome.
This module is only the first step in the journey Immersed Games is attempting to bring to gamers around the world. With each expansion, new topics of studies will come to light, as well a slew of new explorable worlds, ripe with rich information and organic learning. You’ll quest your way through just about every subject imaginable. And the best part? You won’t even realize you’re actually learning.
Tyto Online is following in the footsteps of other great gaming success stories with their crowd funding campaign currently kicking serious butt on Kickstarter. With over $36,000 out of their hopeful $50k raised, Tyto Online is close to fruition. With 16 days left to go, there’s an increasingly overwhelming chance that we’ll actually be seeing this beautiful concept spring to life.
If you’re looking for some honest input about the game, I’ll be the first to sing its praises. The team at Immersed comes across as one of the most intelligent, accomplished, and impassioned group of individuals I’ve ever had the pleasure of speaking with. If you’re like me and have grown up with a slew of iconic educational games, then pledge something—anything—to Tyto Online. This isn’t just a game the industry needs, but one the younger generations deserve.
“We wanted to make a game that students would really enjoy,” Hernandez stated. “But we also wanted something that older gamers and parents would look at and say ‘I want to play that’.”
So, have the students and parents actually been enjoying it?
“Oh, definitely,” she boomed gleefully. And you know? I believe her.
Tyto Online doesn’t currently have a release date, but will be made available for PC. An alpha is expected starting early 2015, with a Tier I closed beta arriving in May 2015, followed by an August release of the Tier II closed beta.