Broncoland video game released during student orientation

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Image of home screen in Broncoland game.

Players can explore campus from afar with Broncoland.

 

KALAMZOO—An online video game that uses 3D gaming technology to introduce current and prospective students to success skills they'll need in college was unveiled Monday, June 3, during the first day of Western Michigan University's 2013 new student orientation.

The Broncoland Game is built on the same technology and 3D depiction of the WMU campus used in a groundbreaking online campus tour launched two years ago. That site—the Broncoland Tour—now attracts some 1,000 visitors monthly. 

The video game allows players to connect with the campus while teaching them essential skills that will help them be successful during their first year in college. Using the game, student-players attend classes, eat and work out, make friends, do homework, attend events, and race toward the end of a 10-week semester.

Project director Kevin Abbott, an interactive media project lead in the Office of Information Technology, says the game is designed to allow students to use a format they enjoy to experience some common problems they might face as first-year students. As they play the game, they learn which campus services and offices are available to help them through such problems.

"We wanted to give students a tool that would help them avoid the common first-semester pitfalls and be ready to excel when they arrive on campus for classes," Abbott says.

Developed by students for students

Abbott and a team of more than a dozen students did the programming; art, visual and game design: interface design; and writing and audio production necessary to bring the game to life. Through the work on both the tour and the game, the team has developed a 3D campus that includes more than 50 buildings, roads, sidewalks and landscaping.

Information about the game can be viewed and the game can be played on a Web browser or downloaded for Mac or Windows computers at wmich.edu/broncoland.

The Broncoland Tour and Game are products of the WMU Millennial Project, which recognizes that learning styles and educational goals are different for different generations of students. The project aims to develop more effective strategies for meeting the needs of millennial-generation students—those attending college in the 21st century.

For more information about the Broncoland tour or game, contact project director Kevin Abbott, who also is a member of the WMU 21st Century Student Initiative committee, at kevin.abbott@wmich.edu or (269) 387-5125.