Liquid Interactive, together with Macquarie University, have developed a multiplayer educational game which has won the iAward for Education. The iAwards emphasizes on technological innovation and recognizes the achievements of Australian innovators. We are incredibly proud of this award, as it recognizes the innovation and quality that have gone into this game.
‘Traders of Macquarie University’ is not your standard multiplayer game. Usually, game mechanics are designed in such a way as to make the challenge fair and balanced for every player. This game is not like that; in fact it is just the opposite.
A large part of what the game is about is not the game itself but a means to get students together, to interact and to have fun. These students are from all over the world, and a big part of the fun is simply working together in order to beat the game. The goal is straightforward; earn more money than anyone else and to do that you’d have to start manufacturing valuable items.
Of course it is a bit more complex than just creating these items; you will need certain tools and certain materials to be able to manufacture anything! This is where you kindly ask your opponent to trade a hammer, some gold or perhaps a bit of iron ore. If he or she is nice about it, there might be a trade, hopefully most players will underestimate you and willingly give you precisely that which is needed to beat the game.
The kicker is that resources aren’t distributed evenly; some players are left without any tools, if they don’t trade they can never win. Other players, on the other hand, have all the tools. This is how the game is rigged, and part of that is because it very broadly reflects some aspects of unfairness in international trade.
By now you must be thinking that some players could get away by simply not trading at all and win like that, and you would be right! However, none of the players are aware of the uneven distribution. And because they are unaware of it, they’ll gladly trade some of their tools because they have plenty of those anyway. The big surprise then, which happens often enough, is when players start out with nothing, but have enough negotiation skills to come out on top!
This game ultimately provides a great tool for breaking the ice between students while everyone tries to outsmart the other. Liquid Interactive had a great time working with Mauricio from Macquarie University to come up with something that provides a great and unique online experience for students.