Mental health has been the forefront of discussion throughout recent years, shedding light on a topic that was once considered taboo. As millions of people suffer daily from mental health issues or invisible illnesses, we’ve only recently seen an increase in tools and resources made available to the general public. In most cases, the majority of those struggling with their mental health may not have access to necessary tools, such as emotional support, pharmaceuticals, or even licensed physicians. This is especially true for young adults, aged 17-29. Fortunately, with the exponential growth of technology, some entrepreneurs are making it their mission to help struggling youth, and develop tools that will grant public access to the support they desperately need.
A team of independent developers from British Columbia, Canada, are creating a mobile health (mHealth) game that’s designed to monitor and reward youth as they learn to understand and cope with their mental health. The game, called Facing Dragons, has been in development over the past year, and is the perfect combination of gaming entertainment and mental health support.
“Facing Dragons is a non-pharmaceutical answer to youth mental health. This has struck a deep emotional chord with people and will be a leading focus of our company and mission.”Brodie Whitney, Owner and CEO of Facing Dragons
About the Facing Dragons Game and How It Works
Facing Dragons is a mixed-reality, quest-based mHealth game that encourages young adults to engage with challenges in the real world, in order to unlock their purpose and build valuable life skills. The game is set in a world where challenges are embodied as real creatures, rather than concepts. The larger challenge areas are depicted as dragons that players need to face. If they don’t face their dragons, the dragons get more powerful. The game will guide young adults to face their dragons through a solo campaign, as well as multiplayer mode, where they can join forces with a team of three other players that keep each other accountable by voting when members have completed each quest.
Within the game, there are daily challenges that are given based on each player’s unique motivational fingerprint – essentially, this is what drives the player to succeed. The game mechanics of the daily challenge depend on what has motivated the player most in the past daily challenges and avoids using mechanics that were rated poorly by the player. This serves two purposes: it gives them something enjoyable to do each day to progress their character and gain real life benefit, and it also increases the accuracy of their motivational fingerprint over time.
The motivational fingerprint is based on what’s called the Player Type Hexad. This measure was created using the well-established body of motivational research, known as “Self Determination Theory” (Ryan and Deci 2000), which is a measurement of four kinds of intrinsic motivation: autonomy, mastery, purpose, and relatedness. Once these are determined, the final two parts of the hexad are extrinsic motivation (rewards) and change motivation (disruption). Using this combination of needs and motivating factors, each player will be assigned a Player Type, which will be used to shape their unique experience as they play the game.
Mobile Health (mHealth) and Facing Dragons Support Hub
Mobile Health (mHealth) refers to the use of mobile devices for healthcare services. These apps are programs installed on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, that can be used for general health and fitness tracking, remote patient monitoring, booking, consultations, health management, and mental health treatment.
Facing Dragons’ mHealth aspect is designed around a Support Hub that records intrinsic motivational information, or motivational fingerprinting, and tracks how players are progressing through 26 integral life coping skills. The Support Hub will allow the support workers and players to stay in touch by scheduling face-to-face appointments, send notifications, or even suggest what players might benefit most from in real life based on their needs within the game. The Support Hub will be available to institutions on a subscription-based plan, allowing them to purchase licensing for the Support Hub, where they can invite players and patients to join for free. This is where those institutions can communicate with their players, monitor their motivational fingerprint, and track their progress throughout the game.
Facing Dragons in 2020 : Events, Prototypes, and Kickstarter Campaign
The Facing Dragons game development is based on a multi-year plan, including trailers, a playable prototype, event presentations, and Kickstarter campaigns. In 2019, the team focussed on research and data collecting, hosting surveys and focus groups with hundreds of young adults, aged 17-29. Now that the research portion is complete, the team will be focussing on their next steps: creating game trailers and a playable prototype for early 2020.
Facing Dragons will be hosting a Kickstarter Campaign in February 2020, where supporters will be able to donate and raise funds for the development of the trailers and prototype. This portion of fundraising is critical to the game’s success, and we hope to see as much support for Team Facing Dragons as we have for other indie developers!
Once the trailers and prototype are complete, Facing Dragons will be attending major events such as Game Developers Conference 2020, BCTECH Summit 2020, and Games for Change 2020, where they will pitch investors to secure funding for the development of the full game.
Meet the Facing Dragons Team
Brodie, Owner and CEO of Facing Dragons, is a Certified Professional Co-active Coach (CPCC). Brodie has extensive experience working one-on-one and in groups, and has a reputation for his ability to connect with and motivate teens and young adults. He understands people at a core level and is highly skilled at helping people reach their goals and create lasting transformations.
Dov Schafer, Gaming Design Researcher, is a PhD candidate at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. He is studying peoples’ motivation to play video games and how to create mixed reality games that are customized to an individual’s learning needs. Dov is a lifelong gamer with a deep knowledge of game design and mechanics.
Stephen Urquhart is their business wizard, helping develop strategic partnerships, access grants, and connect with investors to make this all possible.
“Facing Dragons is the result of one of the world’s top gamers and one of the world’s top life coaches joining forces to create a game that helps people unlock their mission, vision and purpose in life.”Brodie Whitney, Owner and CEO of Facing Dragons
Stay tuned for more information on how you can be involved with the Facing Dragons game, as well as their upcoming Kickstarter Campaign and official release date!