Business / Non-Profit Category
By Schell Games
Description: HoloLAB Champions, a virtual reality (VR) game about chemistry lab practice, provides students with a safe, fun space to practice basic lab skills. Gameplay occurs at a virtual lab desk and uses a virtual lab notebook to guide students in the HoloLAB. They can pour, scoop, spill, measure, break, weigh, and burn, all without making a mess and with the freedom to try again and again. The game has state-of-the-art simulation of liquids and solid powders, enabling students to really feel like they are pouring into beakers or scooping powders into weigh boats.
Designed as a virtual reality game show, contestants must finish experiments safely and accurately, with guidance and witty commentary provided by the holographic hosts Earl and Meyer. Players complete a series of mini labs that illustrate standalone basic lab skills, followed by a longer final lab where skills are combined to form a complete experience. There are two episodes in the game currently, and each is designed to last approximately 30-40 minutes.
In HoloLAB Champions, students can work together to complete the game’s challenges or they can practice independently. The HoloLAB provides feedback to students on the accuracy of their measurements, their attention to detail in lab procedures, and their ability to avoid spills and breakage in the virtual lab.
HoloLAB Champions was created by Schell Games (http://www.schellgames.com) through support by the Institute of Education Sciences (part of the U.S. Department of Education) and the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. It was developed with input from high school chemistry teachers and students.
The game launched on the Steam store on July 10, 2018. It retails for $9.99 USD, but is free for educators. Currently, this Unity game can be played using the HTC Vive headset and hand controls. Starting November 2018, it will also be playable using the Oculus Rift.
The game has two episodes. Each episode is designed to last approximately 30-40 minutes:
- Chemiluminescence: Players mix together the correct amounts of various liquid and solid ingredients to create a solution that glows.
- Identify Unknowns: Players are presented with a set of unknown substances. They also are given limited amount of reference information regarding these substances. Armed with these tools, players are expected to use the reference information and lab equipment to correctly identify each substance. In the end if they are successful, they create fireworks.
- In Mini-labs, the maximum accuracy score is 50,000 pts
- In Final Labs, the maximum accuracy score is 500,000 pts
- The acceptable error varies per lab. At the end of each lab, the player is asked to submit something they prepared during the lab. This submission often includes measuring out some amount of liquid or solid substance. The acceptable error of these measurements varies based on the lab.
- Spilling substances: -1,000 pts — You can spill liquids and solids if you’re not careful! These spills will be counted against you in your safety score. There is no need to clean anything up; the spill will disappear. If the player spills enough substances so that they cannot proceed, they must pull the “Reload Equipment” pulley to start the lab over again.
- Breaking equipment: -3,000 pts — Glassware breaks when handled incorrectly, just like in real life. If the player breaks enough glassware that they cannot proceed, they must pull the “Reload Equipment” handle to start the lab over again.
- Throwing equipment Out-of-bounds: -3,000 pts — Equipment thrown out of bounds of the lab desk will disappear. If the player throws away a necessary piece of equipment so that they cannot proceed, they must pull the “Reload Equipment” lever to start the lab over again.
- In Minilabs, the maximum accuracy score is 1,000 pts
- In Final Labs, the maximum accuracy score is 10,000 pts