Video games need better dinosaurs. Paleontologists can help


The most sea-centric event at the GSA is also one of the loudest voices in the choir for pro-ammonite games. On the final night of the convention, I stumbled into the ballroom of the Hyatt Regency to attend the long-awaited social event “Friends of the cephalopod.” Under the vaulted ceiling, scholars, museum staff, and curious octopuses circle around a jar of Kraken Rum. They drink with cephalopods and laugh whenever the vertebrates strike up a conversation. Among them, in Black-like cape, is Olivia Jenkins, art and host on ancient ocean, an ammonite roguelike game by the University of Utah Ammonite Dynamic Modeling Laboratory. Working alongside assistant professor Kathleen Ritterbush, the game is based on lab research into how ammonites live and compete for resources.

In different ocean ages, players will take on different shell permutations as they try to survive, balancing factors like speed, endurance, and hunger. Jenkins hopes ancient ocean will be interesting to everyone—not just your softest friends. It sacrifices some accuracy for fun, but that doesn’t mean players won’t learn.

“I learned more about the Cold War from 3 . solid metal gear Jenkins said. “As long as it was random information that was directly relevant to me as a player, I was able to learn about it and be motivated to remember the details.” Bonus information can be included in optional parts of the game, inspired by Super Smash Bros Brawl trophy gallery. The Geoscience communication The article authors also discussed options similar to glossaries or encyclopedias as useful guides for those curious about the classics without the need for to force anyone to learn from. “I’m trying to encourage people to see the information provided by the game without shoving it down their throats,” says Jenkins. “And that is a difficult balance. Hopefully, I hit it.

An augmented reality version of ancient ocean, which uses Unreal Engine 4 on the museum’s iPad, is scheduled for release in spring 2023, with more gameplay-focused versions coming soon after balance and play testing. The project was funded by the National Science Foundation and Ritterbush provided funding for ancient ocean will be updated annually as new discoveries are made in the lab and in the field. If a species or shell shape is discovered to have new benefits, that will be programmed into the game’s backend and reflected in new strategies for winning.

Paleontology studies the world’s oldest organisms, the foundation of biology and ecology, but that doesn’t mean the technology to share this research is stuck in the past. Posters at GSA focus on virtual field trips, interactive fossil software, community-building podcasts, and Minecraft—both for teaching and for simulating geological phenomena. Video games are just another tool to play with with billions of years of history. That history can be played with multiple permutations, whether it’s a cooperative digging simulator or a must-catch animal game.

On a cool rooftop bar, I met Vanderbilt University associate professor Neil Kelley, who appreciated PokémonHis animal diversity is as much as his Blathers supporters on the rooftop. “In terms of representing really obscure groups that never received any form of representation in the mass media, there are a lot of them. Pokémon, Kelley said. As we talked, his baby huddled underneath him, catching Eevee in Pokémon go. “Good exposure to biodiversity!” Kelley said as we noticed the live monster capture going on below us. Kelley explains that Eevee is a great example of adaptive evolution, as Eevee can transform itself based on environmental factors. I asked what adaptive evolution was, and before I could stop myself, I once again stumbled upon paleontology.

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