By Center for Game Science, Dept. of CSE, University of Washington

Business Category











2011 Finalist


Skills and Ideas Taught:  Players learn the structural properties of well-folded proteins so that they can apply their natural spatial reasoning skills to find accurate protein structures.

Goal or Challenge:  Players must solve structural protein packing problems by fitting the pieces of a protein together to get the highest score out of all players.

Primary Audience:  People without a scientific background in biochemistry.

Assessment Approach:  Players receive feedback based on the moves they make in a puzzle and how they influence their score.  Within a puzzle, players are given a score based on the protein structures they find.  The score is based on a scientifically derived energy function that determines how well folded a protein is.

Description:  Foldit is a multiplayer online game in which players compete and collaborate to create accurate and high scoring protein structure models. By playing Foldit, gamers can help solve real open scientific problems in biochemistry, including fighting diseases and manipulating DNA.  For specific hard problems, Foldit players have been shown to outperform state-of-the-art computational methods.  In the game, players manipulate protein structures with a variety of interactive tools and user guided optimizations.

Game Engine:  Custom

Operating System:  Windows

Platform:  Personal computer

Special Hardware:  None