Results From Game Design Challenge: Safety First!

By Danny Cowan [09.25.18]

 From the crossing guard by your local elementary school to the yellow hard hats worn on construction sites, public safety is a recognizable and important part of our day-to-day lives.

Traditionally, public safety education is delivered via signage, short films, and public service campaigns, but video games can also present a fun and engaging way to teach players valuable lessons about safety.

Some recent examples include Google's Interland, which teaches kids the basics of online safety through a browser-based game, and the CDC's Solve The Outbreak, which informs players of real-world health risks through fictional epidemic scenarios.

For Game Career Guide's latest Game Design Challenge, our readers designed educational games about public safety. Here are our top picks!

Best Entries

Xavier Ekkel, Experimental Game Developer, Germy Journey (see page 2)

Briana Dinkins, Video Artist & Game Developer, Driving 101 (see page 3)

Hue Lorène, Student at Artfx School Montpellier, Oops!... I Burned It Again (see page 4)

Gerald Murray, Student at University of Montevallo, Untitled (see page 5)

Logan Brenner, Student at University of Montevallo, Kitchen Safety (see page 6)

Xavier Ekkel, Experimental Game Developer, Germy Journey

Germy Journey is a casual mobile/browser-based game in a 2D vector-art cartoon style, where players must minimise the germs collected by an office worker on their way home. The game aims to educate players about the (research-based) germiness of things we touch in our everyday lives, and how quickly those germs can accumulate and spread. 

The journey follows this path:

The worker moves through this journey automatically, but it is up to the player to click the hands of the worker to prevent them from touching their face with germy hands. Every time the worker touches their face, the accumulated germs are added to a permanent germ count which cannot be reset. The goal is to minimise this permanent germ count.

Every time the worker uses their hands to touch an object, their hands get more germy based on the (research-based) germiness of that object. For example, the worker will collect more germs from holding the escalator rail than from using the ATM. The germiness of an object will be indicated by a glow (ranging in intensity from green to yellow to red) which can be hovered over to view the number.

In addition to workers instinctively wanting to touch their face (which humans do over 2000 times a day!), random events may occur, such as the worker wanting to use their phone, eat a snack, or cough. These random events will occur more frequently at higher difficulty levels.

Phone usage can be delayed by clicking the worker's hand as it reaches into their pocket, but it gets more difficult to delay (i.e. the time window for clicking shortens) each time. If a phone is used, both the hand and the phone inherit the highest accumulated germ count between them. For example, if the current phone germ count is 1000 and the current hand germ count is 500, then the hand germ count increases to 1000; and if the current hand germ count is 2000 and the phone germ count is 0, then the phone germ count increases to 2000. This can be especially dangerous near the end of the journey, where the phone germ count may be extremely high, even if your hands have been recently cleaned.

Similarly, eating a snack can be delayed by clicking the worker's hand, but it gets harder and harder each time. Once the player starts eating a snack, the germ count from the hands is added to the permanent germ count (as the player is ingesting the snack after touching it with their hands), so players should only eat when their germ count has recently been reset!

In the case of coughing, players should ensure the worker coughs into their elbow (by clicking it at the right time) to minimise the spread of germs; otherwise, a large amount is added to the permanent germ count as well as to the germ count of objects in the environment.

Workers get an opportunity to wash their hands and reset their hand germ count at the public bathroom. Hand germ count can also be reset by using hand sanitizer, the number of times you can use it being dependent on the difficulty level players set for themselves. The ability to reset germ count can be used strategically at the right time to minimise germ count during random events.

Briana Dinkins, Video Artist & Game Developer, Driving 101

As you walk thru the DMV, with the door slamming behind leaving a thud vibration that overtakes your body.  Many feelings may tackle you as you make your way closer to having to take your driver's license test. Driving 101 is a game made to enhance the current driving test practices that occur at your local DMV's today, to ensure driving safety, and give people a better way to get ready for a driving test.  Driving 101 has a target audience for everyone eligible to take a driver's test. Driving 101 will be on different platforms to increase the availability of this game, including VR.

This game includes a "Know your Sign" section & an actual simulated driving test where the player encounters the many possible scenarios that occur while driving & the standardized skills needed to be a safe driver.

Game Play

The "Know your Sign" section is the first section that will test the player's knowledge on traffic signs.  During this section a random choice of traffic sign's will appear.  First the player will need to correctly identify what the traffic sign is.  After identifying all road signs the player will now test their reaction time to roads sign.

This will be played by a simulation of driving down a road with traffic signs randomly marked on the side of the road.  When the player approaches a sign, a flashing "KYS" will appear which initiates a timer.  The timer will start when the player accepts the challenge; to test the reaction time of the player.  The time taken to answer the question, will determine the amount of bonus points a player can receive.

After completing the "Know your Sign" section, the player will now be able to advance to the actual simulated driving test or "SDT" section.  Before this section begins the player will choose a car.  (Bonus points won in the "Know your Sign" section will determine the choice of cars the player has).

After the player selects their car, they are ready to begin the driving test.  The player will begin behind the wheel in a car (first person point of view).  During the driving test there will be a bundle of driving scenarios that are on the standardized test currently, which the player will need to the appropriate driving action to complete.

Some examples of driving scenarios include how to drive in a roundabout, up & down hill parking, uncontrolled intersections, Y-turn, U-turn, parallel parking.  After completing all scenarios successfully, there is additional section that will unlock, that includes Winter Weather Safety for those that are located in states that include snow fall during the winter.

After completing all sections of Driving 101, the player will then be prompt if they Passed or Failed, to go onto to the actual driving test with the instructor.  If the player fails, they must retake the section they failed over in order to move forward. 

Example of game play during "Know your Sign", with flashing "KYS"

Example of some of the Traffic signs that the player will encounter

Hue Lorène, Student at Artfx School Montpellier, Oops!... I Burned It Again


Oops!... I Burned it gain is Simulation Game, with a 3th person isometric view set in a 3D Cartoon universe, in a little corporate building.


You play a character in different places at work. At the beginning of each game the character accidentally creates a start of fire by a different process. The fire quickly gain power, and the character must conduct a series of actions to save the other characters, and reduce the damage. But beware, it's dangerous. The character must finish his actions and leave the building before the end of the timer.


1.    Fire:  Fire takes up space on the ground. It creates toxic smoke that fills the building. If the fire meets an electrical device, it gains in intensity.

2.    Objectives: A list of objectives is allow, and when the character accomplish one, he gain points to Increase his score.

3.    Life: The character possess a life bar, affected by the smoke and the fire. Is the life bar is empty, the player is game over.

4.    Timer: 3 Minutes. The character must accomplish objectives or leave the building before the end of this timer.

5.    Actions:

6.      NPC/Others Characters: Some characters cannot hear the fire alarm, or are in a situation that does not allow them to escape.

7.      Levels: Building, objectives and characters are different in each levels. Levels get bigger and become more complexes over games.

Gerald Murray, Student at University of Montevallo, Untitled

The object of my game would be to teach children about responsibility with sharp objects. Basically how the game would work is that it takes place in a class room and for the sake of the explanation, we'll only start with two players.

Players are tasked with taking sharp objects (pencils, pens, scissors, etc.) back to the supply closet, however in their way are a bunch of things that haven't been, picked up yet that the players can trip over and cause damage to themselves with.

Before movement a character must declare whether they are running or walking, and how many pencils they are carrying (up to three). The goal is to safely get ten scissors to the supply closet before your opponent with the least amount of damage done to yourself.

Damage can be done to yourself if you fall holding pencils and when your health reaches zero, you lose. Hopefully if this game ever gets made it will bring more awareness to the importance of being safe with sharp objects in the classroom.

Logan Brenner, Student at University of Montevallo, Kitchen Safety

The game will be a point and click style management game where the player is in the kitchen with children around, they will have to keep track of several different danger elements to keep the children from being hurt.

The danger elements can include: Pot of boiling water, Drawer full of knives, Kitchen blender being pulled off the counter, etc.. With elements that can cause harm to the player themselves like cutting themselves with a knife or spilling hot water as the children run around.

The player will have to keep track of several different elements with new elements being added and the stages increasing in difficulty after each successful stage. If a child is hurt the game ends and they must start the stage again. This will teach players the importance of being careful around the kitchen not only with themselves but with others around as well with the real world dangers that operating in a kitchen can bring.

There could be a seven day cycle with the game being centered around making dinner for the family. They're could be another sequence where instead of being in a kitchen with children the player would instead be a professional chef with waiters/waitresses running around the kitchen and they would have to ensure the safety of all parties in the kitchen.

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