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First Person Shooters (Games) Education Science

A Video Game To Teach AP Level Immunology 158

Posted by timothy
from the next-up-should-be-history dept.
kilrathu writes "Longtime proponents of using video games as sources of learning, the Federation of American Scientists put its money where its mouth is. FAS released Immune Attack, an educational video game designed to teach immunology to AP level high school students and combines the most current research on teaching methodologies with a 3D first-person shooter game. 'The key to the game was making sure it was fun while also covering accurate and complex immunology topics,' said Dr. Michelle Lucey-Roper, director of the FAS Learning Technologies Program. The game is free, although not open source, and can be downloaded here. Sorry, no Mac version yet."
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A Video Game To Teach AP Level Immunology

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  • Way to go (Score:5, Funny)

    by Daimanta (1140543) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @04:30PM (#23993123) Journal

    Posting a link to a 500 MB file. That won't be a problem ;)

    • I'm currently downloading it right now and getting 500KByte/sec... Not bad for a regular cable line.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Posting a link to a 500 MB file. That won't be a problem ;)

      http://immuneattack.info/ImmuneAttack10/ImmuneAttackSetup.exe

    • I'm getting 3mb/sec, and all I've got is this dinky old fiber optic line.

      Seriously though, I think whatever server's hosting this thing could slashdot Slashdot if it wanted to.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sunwolf (853208)
      I know you jest, but I find the linked ABC article more disturbing - half of it doesn't even talk about the game, but about how evil videogames like Halo and Grand Theft Auto have deteriorated public trust in the medium. I could have honestly used a more thorough review of the game in question instead of more meandering over media-generated FUD.
  • The game is free, although not open source... Sorry, no Mac version yet.

    • Obligatory comment about how the PC needs an immunology lesson much more than the Mac does.
    • In Soviet Russia, your PC immunizes you.
    • 1) Create immunology game, 2) make it PC only, 3)???, 4) Profit
    • I am intrigued by your ideas and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.
    • If they would only open source it, we could usher in a new Eden.
    • Immunology, bah... Just more FUD from the medical industry.
    • They had this on the Amiga 20 years ago.
    • Stephen King is dead.. because his immune system failed.
    • by cayenne8 (626475)
      I'm wondering what an AP level high school student is??

      AP? Never heard the term..what does it mean?

      • by you-nix-boy (698814) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @04:56PM (#23993311)
        Advanced Placement. It's a program offered by the College Board that allows high school students to receive college credit for courses completed in high school, teaching college-level curriculum, and evaluated by a test (that the College Board administers and scores). The number of credits and exact course translation toward your university is usually determined by your AP test score (on a scale of 1-5). Shaved close to a year off college with these puppies :)
        • by maxume (22995)

          The number of credits and exact course translation toward your university is usually determined by your university.

          They use the score, but it is entirely up to them what they do with it.

          • by gbulmash (688770) *
            It's interesting... I took AP Computer Science in 11th grade and AP European History in 12th.

            At the school I eventually graduated from, they'd fallen prey to the multiculturalism angle of political correctness, so though I got credits that counted toward the X credits needed to graduate for my AP European History exam, it didn't count toward my History requirement and I was forced to take "World History" (which was 80% stuff I covered in AP European History and 20% covering the rest of the world).

            On t
        • To pay money to inflate the living hell out of your GPA so that you can have a 5.0 GPA your senior year(yes, AP classes are one point higher than your standard prole classes). AP calculus is a good idea but classes like AP history are more like tangential trivia that you will soon forget after you pass the exam.
          • by RockoTDF (1042780)
            Depends on the school district, some only give meager weights of .025 like my district...
            • Thank you for the clarification. I'd also like to point out that you don't pay money for the grade inflation, you pay money for the college credit(that is, to take the test).
            • by jandrese (485)
              Shoot, my school district gave you a big fat nothing extra for taking AP classes. The only advantage was that you could get college credit, at the risk of lowering your GPA because the material was more difficult. Of course then I got to college and discovered that almost none of them take AP credit. I think I got a grand total of 3 college credits for taking AP classes for my entire senior year, unfortunatly unless you know a full year in advance where you're going to be accepted to college, it's imposs
          • by cayenne8 (626475)
            "To pay money to inflate the living hell out of your GPA so that you can have a 5.0 GPA your senior year(yes, AP classes are one point higher than your standard prole classes). AP calculus is a good idea but classes like AP history are more like tangential trivia that you will soon forget after you pass the exam."

            Interesting...they didn't have anything like that when I was in high school. I took advance classes as a senior IN high school....my chemistry was pretty much the same thing I took first year in

          • by Koiu Lpoi (632570)

            To pay money to inflate the living hell out of your GPA

            Most major universities "deflate" the GPA when determining admissions.

          • (yes, AP classes are one point higher than your standard prole classes).

            Depends on the state, or maybe within a state. I know that the local schools here don't, and when I was in school they didn't.

            To pay money to inflate the living hell out of your GPA

            You have to pay money to take the test, not to take the class.

            classes like AP history are more like tangential trivia that you will soon forget after you pass the exam

            Meh, I still remember my AP classes.

        • by rpillala (583965)

          Depending on where you apply to college, you may get no credits for your AP courses, as the program has been diluted by schools' efforts to get more students enrolled in them.

        • Too bad they can't use this for remedial immunology... those students are way too slow to play a game.

      • by AaxelB (1034884)
        Advanced Placement [collegeboard.com]

        It's a program where high school students can take a test in a certain subject and gain college credit for it (if they score well and they go to a college that accepts it). Many high schools have classes which teach specifically to these tests.

        It's a pretty good program, if the courses are taught well. The tests I took seemed pretty well-written to test actual ability in a subject (much better than most standardized tests). I was able to enroll in college with 30 credit-hours off the ba
    • by Koiu Lpoi (632570)

      I am intrigued by your ideas and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

      Huh, this is the only one I don't know the origin on. Anyone mind filling me in?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Zencyde (850968)
        Another Simpsons meme. : ) Nothing to see here, move along.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 29, 2008 @04:35PM (#23993155)

    God Mode if they want to use it in Louisiana?

  • Screenshot (Score:5, Funny)

    by Farmer Tim (530755) <roundfile.mindless@com> on Sunday June 29, 2008 @04:39PM (#23993185) Journal

    ...from an early beta. [wikimedia.org]

  • haha (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    she said phagocytosis!

    but seriously, she says her name is something like Neisha Elam and the caption says Jessica. They can't get her name right?

  • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @04:45PM (#23993227) Journal
    If someone gets some sort of hard to cure disease, just let the internet controlled nano bot pilots fix it manually. All they need to do is fly around and shoot the bad cells.
  • Like the world needs another Captain Novolin.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 29, 2008 @04:45PM (#23993233)

    Only a Windows version, is more accurate.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Joe Tie. (567096)
      It thought it was a bit odd in this day and age to not even acknowledge that linux exists.
    • by Valdrax (32670) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @06:17PM (#23993869)

      Only a Windows version, is more accurate.

      How would you create a game about fighting off viruses without an environment that's hospitable to them?

    • by kilrathu (1270456) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @09:24PM (#23995213)
      We at the Federation of American Scientists (the non-profit group that made this) are working on a way to make it run under WINE but we don't have it quite yet. We hope to have it up by the end of the month. Sorry.

      The reality is we made this with a very limited budget and for that reason we have not not yet implemented a mac/*nix version yet. This is primarily a research project to show that students can learn from video games. The goal is to prove to policy makers that technology can be used to improve education. FAS is open to any feedback you can give them about the game or if you can help get it into the classroom.

      If you really need a different version consider donating or joining FAS [http://fas.org/member/index.html] so that we can continue development.
      • by the_olo (160789)

        If this is a non-profit project then why not opening the source code? This would at least create some chances of some outsiders stepping up to port it to other systems. Why the source code has to be kept closed? Does it contain someone's trade secrets?

        • by F34nor (321515) *

          Just a guess but I would think for a project like this licensing a existing engine would be the way to go, hence closed source. The developer might even be able to take a tax deduction for the donation to the non-profit.

    • No Mac version yet? Oh no, what will 4% of the marketplace do?!
    • Well it's not really even close to accurate, it looks like they aren't figuring in Brownian motion.
  • This sounds a lot like the "X-treme" fad of yesteryear. Take a few quizzes and be rewarded with shoot-em-ups between exams. FPS make great teaching tools for, say, military tactics and strategy but I think the field of immunology would be best left to a puzzle game like an adanced version of Dr. Mario. What's next, DOOM: The Calculus? The more pieces you blast something into, There could be a "delta-epsilon" meter for blasting your enemies into smaller and smaller pieces.
    • Re:Wha? (Score:4, Informative)

      by porcupine8 (816071) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @05:29PM (#23993525) Journal
      This sounds a lot like the "X-treme" fad of yesteryear. Take a few quizzes and be rewarded with shoot-em-ups between exams.

      Did you actually read/view anything beyond the summary? This looks nothing like those. Absolutely nothing. It IS more of a first-person puzzle game than a first-person "shooter." In fact, if you look at the controls, [fas.org] there's not even anything to "shoot." You go through and find the necessary chemicals to activate the various parts of the immune system.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Damn. The one time that I didn't RTFA and I get called on it. Thank you, sir, for bruising my fragile ego!
        • by Tom9729 (1134127)

          Damn. The one time that I didn't RTFA and I get called on it. Thank you, sir, for bruising my fragile ego!

          Apparently you didn't read her signature either. ;-)

          • Whoah. That means I've seen posts by two separate girls on slashdot today. Is nothing sacred? What do I do if one of them tries talking to me? Talking in intricate detail about my work may not be enough to get rid of them! Won't somebody please think of the socially-inept overgrown children!?!

            • by snowgirl (978879) *

              Won't somebody please think of the socially-inept overgrown children!?!

              Oh, you're not going to start with the the whole "think of the children" thing are you? Now, I know I'm supposed to have mothering instincts (and well, yes, I do) but seriously... I know BS when I see it.

              You socially-inept overgrown children can just learn to deal with it... perhaps you might find that you enjoy the company of a girl...

              • Actually I did enjoy the company of a girl for a good couple of years, the first 75% of that was online though so I dunno if it counts. It ended quite horribly anyway, so I'm wary of such things for the moment. I think women these days actually find geeks strangely attractive. Pretty soon all the children in the world will be smart enough to work for Google. Unfortunately in my case my children would also be neurotic and depressed as well as smart, so maybe it's better not to have any.

                • by snowgirl (978879) *

                  Actually I did enjoy the company of a girl for a good couple of years, the first 75% of that was online though so I dunno if it counts.

                  Wow... you used a percentage there... I would have just been like "the first year and a half"... you really ARE a socially inept geek... how HAWT.

                  • Damn my unintentional geeky aphrodisiacity. Just run now woman.. uh I mean girl - while you still have a chance!

                    • by snowgirl (978879) *

                      It's too late... I'm oddly attracted to you, and cannot stop thinking about you.

                      PLEASE, come and make me a woman!

                    • They only let me out once a year, and I already used up my day this year going to a museum exhibit of 20th century storage technology. Sorry. Feel free to send pictures, erotic stories and spam to leave_me_alone_you_crazy_woman@hotmail.com though.

                    • by snowgirl (978879) *

                      hehe :) cute :)

                    • I actually almost created that address just to see if you'd send anything :p

                      Surely an intelligent girl like yourself (with an awesome palindromic user ID, no less) would have a boyfriend anyway? Away with you, foul temptress - you and your flirtacious emoticons!

                    • by snowgirl (978879) *

                      As one would imagine, I should have a boyfriend already, and I did... then he dumped me, and I had another guy for a while on a rebound, but that's over. So, no, right now, I'm oddly single. :) So, now that you know that, you can rest easy that my pining for you is totally permissible! ;)

                    • lol, that's very similar to my current situation in fact.

                      I read some of your journals and there was an interesting philosophical debate about math going on. I noted that you are also kinda stubborn and into fierce debating as I am (and I suppose most slashdotters are - though I personally wish I was much more relaxed when it comes to discussing things). I think I agreed more with the other guy more overall though. Teehee.

                      If you've never used it then I think you'd like Haskell, a functional programming langu

                    • by snowgirl (978879) *

                      I used ML for a while at school, which is a lot like Haskell (functional programming) and I loved it. Actually, my first naive way of sorting data with ML was a very efficient merge-sort. It's just the way my brain works, I suppose.

                      lol, well, I don't usually just blog or journal about everyday things... those are typically "meh", usually when I decide to do a journal or a blog, I'm driven to consider something on "paper" from an idea that I heard. So, I usually end up ranting on about something random, o

                    • Nothing wrong with it if it's kept in check at least, kinda like a coffee habit I guess!

                      Yes, being aware of what level your brain is operating on is one of the exercises in the book, often we are just operating on autopilot with no 'rational' thought really necessary. I did like the remarks in your journal about how people see truth differently - it's something I'm pretty accutely aware of at the moment as I've kind of done a 180 on my core beliefs about the nature of our reality recently. It's made the wor

                    • by snowgirl (978879) *

                      You're a sysadmin, you're expected to be browsing /. regularly. lol. If someone came up to you and said, "Hey, did you see XY on slashdot", as a fundamental requirement of being a sysadmin, you have to be able to answer with a confident and firm "yes".

                      I know what you mean. When I was young, I was an atheist, but then in High School, and into College, I was really having a rough time with depression, and it helped me out a lot to believe as a Christian believes. Unfortunately, it made me rabid, and I ende

                    • Exaccerly. I realised recently I had developed quite a nihilistic worldview because of Christianity - if the bible is right then the only reason we are here is to make more Christians and for the rest to go to hell. I was quite surprised to read that Nietzche says Christianity is essentially nihilistic. I had thought it was just me getting the wrong end of the stick, because most of the Christians I know don't end up down that logical route, they use it as a way of cheering themselves up, and affirming thei

                    • by snowgirl (978879) *

                      *nod nod* you reminded me of a scene from House MD the first Season. After having recalled his experiences in a near death experience, House is questioned, "do you think it meant anything?" he responded, "it was just the random firing of my neurons before I died... nothing special." Response, "do you really believe that?" House: "I choose to believe what comforts me most." Response, "so you're happy to believe that there's nothing else after this life?" House: "I'm more comfortable with the notion that wha

                    • My mum is well into House, so I saw a couple of episodes while at home - interesting character, kind of an anti-hero, he even got the diagnosis completely wrong in the light sensitivity episode lol.

                      Yeah the idea of leaving a positive impact is a good one. I still find it a little depressing that memories are all that is left, but what can you do. From scientific evidence so far, it does seem likely to be the case that the end is the end, but IMO that is definitely not definite ;) I mean if we can evolve fro

                    • by snowgirl (978879) *

                      Well, in the US, getting legal permission to stay in the United States is really really hard. And every time you leave the country, when you come back, they treat you like a terrorist.

                      While Mexico isn't a state (and likely won't be one any time soon) New Mexico is a state. And let me tell you, there are some Hispanics from New Mexico that are more Hispanic than some Mexicans... there are people in New Mexico who cannot speak English, yet their grandparents lived in the USA, or even further back, they were

                    • I just remember an episode where a girl developed light sensitivity and House punched one of his little team of symptom analysers for being right. He saved a little girl from having a limb amputated though, so it was right to go behind House's back that time :P

                      As for the economy and immigration thing, yeah Japan is the ultimate in overcrowding among well developed nations at least. While I think controlling families is sensible, it seems almost worse than controlling immigration, but I think they can pay a

                    • by snowgirl (978879) *

                      Well, the thing about New Mexico is that it has a much longer Hispanic history than any "American" history. Well before the 13 colonies were being started, New Mexico was being colonized by the Spanish. Mexico at one point was "New Spain", and then in the north, there was "New Mexico", a name that just kind of stuck. When the USA steamrolled across the country, the kind of convinced Mexico to give it over. Not to say that all the hispanics speak Spanish at all... my mother's mother was punished in schoo

  • What does AP mean? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mex (191941) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @04:47PM (#23993243)

    Forgive the ignorance but I am not american, what does AP stand for?

    • I'm not positive (and didn't RTFA because I never do =P ) but I'm pretty sure it's Associates [degree] of Psychology.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by elnico (1290430)

      It stands for "Advanced Placement," which is typically the highest level of a course offered by a high school. High scores on AP tests (standardized tests given by College Board, the same group that does SAT testing) normally translate to credit for introductory level classes at most universities in the US.

      • Academic Probation :).
        I've gotten into confusing conversations where one person was referring to it as this definition with a semi-apologetic nonchalance and I thought they meant Advanced Placement.
    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by Nimey (114278)

      Advanced Placement. AP classes are high school (ages 13-18) classes with more advanced topics, aimed at kids who want to go on to university. Sometimes the classes are offered with college-credit hours for a much cheaper rate than a real college would charge.

  • The game is free, although not open source... Sorry, no Mac version yet.

    Actually the game was "designed to run on Windows operating systems only", so forget about a version for Mac, linux, or anything else for that matter.

    • by Joe Tie. (567096)
      But they offered a helpful suggestion on the site for how to run it on a mac! Remove the operating system and install windows, and it should work! That got me blinking in confusion a few times.
  • We find MS guilty of antitrust violations, and then fund programs developed exclusively for their platforms.

    My government needs to get it's act together.

  • Fun? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BenoitRen (998927) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @05:37PM (#23993579)

    If they wanted to make it fun for everyone, they should have made it a fun puzzle game or something instead of an FPS.

    • by Khyber (864651)

      It *IS* a puzzle game. There's nothing to shoot, hell there isn't even a shoot command! Had you bothered to download the thing you'd know that.

      • by BenoitRen (998927)

        Downloading a 500 MB game that I can't and probably won't play? How silly.

        I thought articles existed to tell us what you just said.

        • by Khyber (864651)

          If you can't be bothered to verify facts why even post? Karma whoring?

          • by BenoitRen (998927)

            I thought this was Slashdot, not Wikipedia [citation needed]. I read article summaries, sometimes even the whole article, like everyone else. I post because I have a comment. Simple as that.

            • by Khyber (864651)

              So you post nonsense that's not true? that simple, eh?

              • by BenoitRen (998927)

                Do you go around slagging every Slashdot poster who reacts to what the article summary says? You have quite a job ahead of you.

  • And more important: no linux version. I'll think I'll Wine it maybe.
    By the way, the game is built on DirectX so don't expect any other platform anytime soon. Seriously, why do people still code with DirectX.
    • by Shados (741919)

      Because its quite a decent bit easier, if for nothing else that DirectX covers everything from image to sound to input. The alternative is to combine multiple librairy... so that raise the barrier of entry right there. Also (I don't know if its what they did), but for simpler games, you can use Managed Direct X in .NET with performance more than good enough to make a game like this one (and then some), with 1/10th the effort.

  • a euphemism for sex education!!

  • ... even if their first attempt isn't great, I've often wondered if one couldn't make a puzzle game out of teaching basic electricity and electronics. I was playing bioshock with the little 'hacking' tubes game and thought "wouldn't it be cool if this was about electronics, in 3D, and you could make stuff!"

    • by pbaer (833011)
      Logisim is like that but for circuits, except it isn't a game. But I could see someone making a game off of that.
  • I won't be impressed until they shell out for Dennis Quaid and Martin Short to be voice actors.
  • by kmahan (80459) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @09:00PM (#23995027)

    PLATO had a game/training program called "Bugs and Drugs". It was a 2D dungeon game where you ran into various organisms and had to prescribe the correct medicine to kill them. The best group to be a member of was the Bedpan Commandos.

    It was written back in 1978 by Mike Gorback, Dave Tanaka and Paul Alfille.

  • Not an AP exam? (Score:3, Informative)

    by penguins4ever (799364) on Monday June 30, 2008 @12:34AM (#23996587)
    Er, "Immunology" is not an AP subject exam: Take a look at http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/subjects.html [collegeboard.com] if you don't believe me.
  • Ah, feeling nostalgic for a game of Microbe on my Apple ][e.

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