tranquility - The game of relaxation and inner calm

tranquility - The game of relaxation and inner calm

United States
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

"tranquility" is a unique computer game that improves mental clarity and induces a relaxed state of mind that endures well after play has ended.

About You
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Your idea
Year work began:

2001

Focus of activity

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Project URL (include HTTP://)
Plot your innovation within the mosaic of solutions
Which of these barriers is the primary focus of your work?

Insufficient Evidence that Games Improve Health

Which of the principles is the primary focus of your work?

Emotional Health

If you believe some other barrier or principle should be included in the mosaic, please describe it and how it would affect the positioning of your initiative in the mosaic:

Changing publishers attitudes towards healthful gaming has proven to be difficult.

Traditional game publishers and distributers tend to promote computer-based gaming that rewards aggression and violence. "tranquility", by design, attempts to counteract those behaviors by providing an experience that promotes and encourages mental and cognitive well being.

Innovation
What is your signature innovation in one sentence?

"tranquility" is a unique computer game that improves mental clarity and induces a relaxed state of mind that endures well after play has ended.

Describe your innovation. What makes your idea unique and different than others doing work in the field?

The tranquility game engine constantly adapts itself to the player's state of mind and rewards calm and graceful gameplay. The graphic elements and music are uniquely generated for each player, with no two levels being the same. There are no virtual lives won or lost, there are no difficult puzzles to frustrate the player or complex paths or patterns to memorize, just a calming, interactive, and highly responsive immersion into a world of color, motion, and sound.

"tranquility" attempts to break entirely new ground by consciously avoiding the negativity of computer games that have preceded it, while embracing the visual beauty that modern computers are capable of producing.

What barriers exist that are creating the problem your innovation is hoping to address/change?

Computer games are seen by many as a way to unwind and relieve the stress and anxieties of living in today's fast paced and demanding world. The majority of games sold today can have the opposite effect, simply trading one stressful world for another. "tranquility" offers a healthful, fun, and relaxing alternative to both those new to gaming as well as "experienced" game players.

Delivery Model: How do you implement your innovation and apply it to the challenge/problem you are addressing.

"tranquility" produces it's calming effect through several key innovations:

The visuals and music are pleasant, playfully abstract, and removed from anything associated with the stresses of modern life. Gameplay is always positive, rewarding, and forward-moving.

The mouse movements that control the game are monitored by the game engine and any frantic or twitchy movements of the mouse cause the game to "tighten up" and be less responsive. This feedback loop gently guides the player into putting themselves into a calmer state of mind to actually make the game "work".

When each level is completed, the game's engine quickly evaluates what aspects of that level the player excelled at, and accentuates those features in the next level, producing another level of positive feedback.

Once the game is started, the music and visuals stay in constant motion. There are never any "please wait" pauses while new levels are being loaded, thus keeping the player immersed in the game environment.

How do you plan to scale your innovation?

"tranquility" is available exclusively as a download from our web site. There is currently a version for Mac and Windows. It is our hope to expand distribution to game consoles such as Wii and PS3. Much of the game engine's intelligence resides on our Internet-based servers and we plan on offering an enhanced, stand-alone version of the game that will open the game to a broader audience. We also hope to expand the game's language capability beyond it's current English-only implementation.

Impact
Provide one sentence describing your impact.

There are hundreds of thousands of "tranquility" players, many first time "gamers", that use the game every week to relax and alleviate stress.

What impact has your innovation had to date? Exactly who are the beneficiaries of your innovation?

We have over 260,000 registered players of all ages and walks of life that relax weekly with tranquility. There are doctors that use the game as part of a trauma/addiction therapy regimen. A group of monks play the game regularly for meditation. We've been especially popular with parents of children diagnosed with ADHD and have been told that the game works remarkably well as a drug-free calming influence in their children's lives.

How many people have you served directly?

Over the past 6 years, well over a million people have downloaded and played tranquility.

How many people have you served indirectly?

This is difficult to measure, but it's our hope that through the many positive reviews the game has gotten over the years that "tranquility" has acted as an inspiration and a catalyst for other game designers to take positive steps in providing healthful alternatives to more traditional games.

Please list any other measures reflective of the impact of your innovation

We have one player that, at last count, has played the game all the way through over 70 times. That's over 2000 hours of game play in the last 6 years! We must be on to something here.

What are the main barriers to creating your impact?

Sufficient funding for continued engineering and marketing.

Sustainability
How is your initiative financed?

Game development, server hosting and marketing have all been self-financed.
Profits from the game are put back into the enterprise.

Provide information on your finances and organization: annual budget, annual revenue, number of staff:

The budget for 2007 will run around $90,000.
We have a staff of 2 software developers and 2 graphic artists.
We hope to attain funding of $850,000 that will allow us to increase our staff, provide a solid marketing budget, and acquire new development tools.

What is the potential demand for your innovation?

We have done very well considering the almost total absence of marketing. Making the game available on a broader range of systems, combined with a concerted, professional marketing campaign should increase our reach to millions of players.

What are the main barriers to financial sustainability?

Currently, "tranquility" is self sustaining but our growth is limited primarily by a lack of marketing exposure.
We also wish to increase market share by making the game available in more languages and on more platforms, specifically, the PS3 and Wii.

The Story
What is the origin of this innovation? Tell us your story.

The first version of tranquility was written in 1991 as a technology experiment on computers from Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI). I also wanted to write a game that would be fun for my son to play without the negative aspects of games like Doom, which was very popular at the time. That version of the game was a winning entry in SGI's IndiZone game contest and as a result of that, was distributed on SGI computers through the 1990's.

Over that time, I had received many email requests to move the game to more widely available machines, the Mac and PC. In 2000 work was started on an entirely new version of the game, keeping it's essential elements but at the same time, taking advantage of new technologies; the Internet and the increased ability for a more immersive graphical and audio experience on mainstream PCs.

Work on the game continued through 2000 and this new version of tranquility was released on January 1st, 2001.

The game has proven to be very popular and was graced with many positive and glowing reviews, stating that the game was innovative and groundbreaking (and fun too!), creating an entirely new genre in the game world.

Although we have made improvements over time, the current game has stayed true to form over the past six years and enjoys a large and devoted following worldwide.

Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers marketing material

William Romanowski has been actively involved in computer graphics and electronic music for over 30 years. He is currently a research associate at Intel Corporation, working on advanced image recognition technologies within Intel's Digital Home Innovations Group.

How did you hear about this contest and what is your main incentive to participate? (this is confidential)

Changemakers team member Robert Benedict informed me of your competition through our support email at tqworld.com.