Case: MobiMetsä – an educational mobile game about forests and the forest industry
Customer: The Guides and Scouts of Finland and UPM-Kymmene Oyj
What we did: game design, script writing, user interface, game programming (Unity 3d), graphics, animation, testing, publishing and project management
Release: July 2016
MobiMetsä is an educational mobile game we made for the Guides and Scouts of Finland and the forest industry company UPM-Kymmene. The aim of MobiMetsä is to introduce the players to Finnish forests, responsible forestry and use of raw wood material, as well as the world of entrepreneurship. The co-operation between the Guides and Scouts of Finland and UPM-Kymmene strives to strengthen the youth’s relationship with forests and present them as versatile means of well-being in a new way. A forest-themed mobile game was one concrete way to reach for this goal in the present-day age of digitalisation. The Guides and Scouts of Finland’s forest coordinator describes the game in the following way, “Mobile gaming is not the first thing to be associated with scouting but it’s a new way of learning for scouts and it provides new possibilities for the scouting program.” The target group of the game is scouts aged between 12—15 but the game is well suitable to be used elsewhere as well, for example in biology or social studies classes in comprehensive school.
The entrepreneurship and forest educational information content is written by experts from The Guides and Scouts of Finland and UPM-Kymmene and it seamlessly merges with the diverse game contents and elements that were created by NordicEdu. The basic structure of the game follows the core idea of the hugely popular resource management games but the well-written educative content gives the game mechanics a push to a whole new level. MobiMetsä takes the players outside as well; to progress in the game, the player must recognize and photograph correct trees and send them to be send them to be approved by other players by other players.
The game idea and different sectors of the game, such as the functionality, usability and graphics of the game, were tested and reviewed together with people in the target demographic. This was done several times before the completion of the final version. The game was in an extensive target group test two months prior to its release; hundreds of enthusiastic scouts helped to “iron out the wrinkles” of the game when finishing up the release version.
In the beginning of MobiMetsä, the player establishes his or her own forest industry company and chooses a product for it to develop during the course of the game. The options are to research and develop paper products, wooden chairs, or products from biocomposite materials. The purpose is to demonstrate the versatility of timber and to show how it, combined with technology, can create whole new possibilities. The game contains various different ways to progress, through which the player learns to create more and more complex versions of his or her product. The player can, for example, create marketing researches to discover new means of production, find development ideas by reading customer feedback, as well as partake in a design competition or organize a poll in social media to raise coverage, which, in turn, can increase the demand for the product. At the same time, the player gets to know the utilisation of forests as well as responsibility issues concerning forest industry, forestry and woodworking industry.
MobiMetsä was released for Roihu 2016, the 7th International Finnjamboree. The game was played in the wooded programme valley, an ideal environment for playing the game, where the scouts set up an imaginary forest industry company and developed timber products to solve various issues and answer different demands. The campers were allowed to use MobiMetsä as an aid when brainstorming for new products. After the Jamboree, the game became a part of the scouting programme and now it can be played during regular meet-ups and expeditions.