Crowd Funding Campaign for Video Game Aims to Bring Fun to the Lives of People with Dementia

Game Developers Conference 2014

SAN FRANCISCO & MELBOURNE, Australia--()--Opaque Multimedia and Alzheimer’s Australia Vic today announced the launch of a Pozible crowd funding campaign to support the development of The Forest Project - a video game application designed to improve the quality of life of people living with dementia through the use of Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4 technology.

The announcement was made internationally at the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. The campaign aims to raise US$82,000 (AU$90,000).

“Unreal Engine 4 is a next-generation video game technology. This is the same technology behind some of the most visually impressive video games of recent years,” said Norman Wang, Opaque Multimedia director.

Mr Wang said that by supporting this initiative, backers will be helping to break new ground in the use of virtual sensory therapy for people with dementia.

“We are calling on the global gaming community to get behind The Forest Project to demonstrate that video games can add immeasurable value to healthcare.

“With the community’s support we can greatly increase the fidelity, the types of environment, experiences and will strengthen the emotional connection – ultimately making a difference to the lives of people living with dementia,” Mr Wang said.

The Forest Project also uses Microsoft’s Kinect 2 technology which, using smart TVs, aims to turn a living room or a lounge in a care centre into an enchanted space that both stimulates the senses and engages through interactivity. Currently in development, The Forest Project is targeted to be released on multiple platforms in early 2015.

The Forest Project will record a number of technological firsts:

  • one of the first serious game titles to use Unreal Engine 4 for dementia care and the first application of its kind in Australia
  • one of the first attempts to support the care of people with dementia using game technology as well as supporting sensory therapy applications
  • and one of the first to be tailored specifically to the needs of people living with dementia and their carers

The virtual environment is being designed from the ground up specifically for people with dementia. The Forest Project will provide a beautiful, calming and highly interactive experience.

“Imagine being able to take a person with dementia out of their everyday experience and into a virtual environment through which they will experience awe, wonder, giggles, amazement and joy. Using video game technology we can do this,” said Maree McCabe, CEO, Alzheimer’s Australia Vic.

Ms McCabe said Alzheimer’s Australia Vic is constantly looking out for the game changers – the innovations that will make a difference to the quality of life for people living with dementia.

“This first interactive virtual experience we are creating is a forest. The, possibilities to create, others are boundless such as a beach or even a seasonal Christmas themed scenario.

“Imagine if we could make this technology available for smart TVs in aged care and private homes across the globe, for everybody to enjoy.

“Together we can, and in so doing, make a real difference and bring some fun back into the lives of people living with dementia,” said Ms McCabe.

Dementia is the third leading cause of death in Australia and there is no cure. In Australia alone there are more than 330,000 people living with dementia and this number will increase to around 900,000 by 2050. These figures are mirrored around the world, meaning that statistically everybody will be impacted in some way by dementia during their lifetime.

To support The Forest Project campaign visit http://pozible.com/virtualforest4dementia.

In Victoria around 78,000 people are living with dementia.

Alzheimer’s Australia Vic is the charity representing people with dementia in Victoria. As the peak body, we provide specialised dementia information, education and support services.

Call our National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 or visit www.fightdementia.org.au/vic

Twitter - @AlzheimersVic / Facebook – Alzheimer’s Australia Vic

Opaque Multimedia is a Melbourne-based digital design studio specialising in the application of video game technologies in novel domains.

For more information visit www.opaquemultimedia.com

Available for interview:

Maree McCabe, CEO, Alzheimer’s Australia Vic;

Dr Tanya Petrovich, Business Development Manager, Alzheimer’s Australia Vic;

Norman Wang, Liam McGuire, James Bonner, Opaque Multimedia Directors

Contacts

Alzheimer’s Australia
Media enquiries:
Norman Wang, +1 415-992-7405
Skype/email norman@opaquemultimedia.com
or
Australia contact:
Christine Bolt, +61 400 004 553
christine.bolt@alzheimers.org.au

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Contacts

Alzheimer’s Australia
Media enquiries:
Norman Wang, +1 415-992-7405
Skype/email norman@opaquemultimedia.com
or
Australia contact:
Christine Bolt, +61 400 004 553
christine.bolt@alzheimers.org.au