A group of young and talented engineers and artists are campaigning on Kickstarter to raise funds for their futuristic aircraft design game, DAVinCI Flight, which is a challenging flight and mission game that allows players the option to 3D print the planes they pilot in the game. Players have to work their way up from designing missions to flying the aircraft. Based on real life engineering tools, the game is designed with STEM-based education foremost in mind, coming full circle with the added opportunity to use 3D printing to produce their glider and take to the real world with their models (Gasp! Yes, it’s true–we might actually get the gamers outside!).
DAVinCI Flight requires the designer to use a multitude of intellectual disciplines (think STEM, which is the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and manufacturing) in designing missions, which allow an infinite number of ways to play, customize, and learn. The player can collaborate with others, and compare designs.
Says Chris Whitmer, DAVinCI Flight Project Leader, “It is a multiplayer game where players can create custom vehicles, analyze them and then create them or use them to play against other players.”
In a Kickstarter campaign hoping to raise $50,000, with less than two months to go, they are off to a good start with seed money provided by the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Innovative Research Program. DAVinCI Flight is being developed by a team of aerospace engineers, developers, and artists at VSI Aerospace, Inc., an aerospace R&D and educational software company in Ames, IA.
The team may offer the game to novices, but indeed they themselves are not novices to this type of design, having created software for NASA, the Navy, and the aerospace industry.
“The game is unique because you can do real design using real engineering tools. We developed these tools with NASA and the Navy. It doesn’t get any more ‘legit’ than that,” said Chris Baenziger, DAVinCI Flight artist. “Once you get a design you like and it’s flying well in the game, you can print it out on a 3D printer and fly it in real life.”
DAVinCI Flight allows the user to experiment in the true design process, analyzing what’s working or failing, and go back to the drawing board, or redesign something. It is a game that allows practice in engineering a project and solving problems, as the “pilot” is faced with several missions.
A few of the cool game features include:
- Futuristic animations, sounds, and holograms
- Secret levels, secret missions, and puzzles
- Custom materials, paint jobs and features allowing users to individualize projects
- Multiplayer flight and design modes
- Support for 3-D printing so students can make functional kits or desktop replicas
In the game, the user flies the glider through the world, uncovering surprises and different elements which spark challenges, design issues, and offer motivation in achieving levels from novice, to master designer, professor, or test pilot. The player has to earn the right in the game to design and fly the plane.
“In DAVinCI Flight, we’re trying to create a dynamic futuristic environment where players can create their vehicles and then test them out using real life physics,” said Eric Ensy, lead artist.
The proof of concept prototype for this game was created as part of National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to develop innovative approaches to STEM education. Go to Kickstarter to find out more about how to contribute to their campaign, as well as seeing all the information on their budget–and rewards.
Does this look like a game you would be interested in playing? Have you designed something similar, or would you like to? Join the conversation in the DAVinCI Flight forum thread at 3DPB.com. Check out the trailer for the game below.
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