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Unity revealed the winners of her Unit Humanity Grant program recognizing games that have the potential for social impact.
After reviewing nearly 500 projects, the creator of the Unity game development engine has shared the seven winners of the 2023 Unity for Humanity Grant program. All social impact makers receiving funding this year are using real-time 3D to drive change in truly innovative ways.
Projects were assessed on vision, impact, inclusion and viability. The winners will receive a tailored grant from a $500,000 pool, plus mentorship and technical support to bring their projects to life. If you have a project you would like to submit in the future, you can apply for the Social impact mailing list for updates on when next year’s fair opens.
Here is a description of the winners.
The project combines virtual reality with corresponding physical elements (for example, if you walk through water in the documentary, you walk through shallow water in the real world) to create a sensory experience that takes viewers through the different stages of the production process of a typical garment, from the sweatshop to the catwalk.
According to X-Ray Fashion, the fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world. It accounts for 10% of all global carbon emissions and as much as 60% of textiles are thrown away within a year of production. In addition, making a single pair of jeans takes 10,000 liters of water.
The creators of X-Ray Fashion recognize that humanity’s habit of constantly changing our wardrobes and throwing away clothes we don’t like anymore has a big impact. The creators’ goal is to use this immersive experience to change consumer behavior by helping viewers understand the impact their wardrobes have on the environment and the people who work in the industry. Ultimately, the project encourages lifestyle changes such as buying second hand clothes, taking better care of what we already own and minimizing our overall fashion consumption.
Trying to put into words how you feel when you experience complex emotions and mental health issues can often be difficult. Sarah Ticho encountered this challenge when she tried to describe her grief and mental state to a doctor at a time when she needed help.
The experience led her to develop together with experience designer Niki Smit SoulPainta VR project in which participants create artwork on an avatar that expresses their inner world using color, shapes, movement and imagery.
According to Harvard Medical School, miscommunication is at the heart of most medical errors. SoulPaint is a unique experience that aims to transform the way we communicate our emotions with others, remove the stigma around mental health by creating a shared experience, spark impactful conversations, and ultimately provide a tool that allows patients to improve communication with healthcare professionals.
Quantum’s Pursuit is a game of Limitless solutions which allows children with bionic limbs to play the limb-different grandchildren of Dr. Quantum, a technical genius and wizard who developed renewable energy. Dr. Quantum has been kidnapped by evil Galacdorks who are trying to steal his invention, and the aim of the player is to progress through the levels, defeat the boss and save Dr. Quantum rescue.
The game allows hospitals to teach children how to use their new bionic limbs in a fun, engaging and stress-free way, while also understanding each child’s needs based on their muscle strength – information that is usually hard to come by.
Limbitless Solutions provides free bionic arms, training, and even covers travel expenses for patients and their families. This incredible project could vastly improve the quality of life of children with limb defects and ease the transition to a bionic limb during an otherwise difficult time.
Follow the investigation: in the ICC
using VR, Follow the investigation: in the ICC shows cases of the International Criminal Court (ICC) at different stages of the judicial process. The experience provides valuable insight into how the ICC system works to bring those responsible for crimes against humanity — including war crimes and genocide — to justice, Unity said.
Viewers will witness testimony from survivors of past ICC cases, visit field research sites, process evidence in ICC forensic labs, and attend courtroom proceedings arising from a variety of notorious global cases.
This project serves as a somber reminder and education of the ICC’s work and the process of seeking justice, helping to raise awareness of atrocities and survivors’ experiences to ensure continued global support for their recovery and the work of the ICC, Unity said. The project also provides an impactful way for victims of heinous crimes to better understand the legal processes related to their own cases, Unity said.
In World reborn, an activism adventure game, your goal is to save the world after a cataclysmic event breaks it into multiple realities. The mobile game uses AR to combine real world actions with virtual world choices, encouraging players to make a difference in both. Real-world actions that help you progress through the game include donating money, picking up trash, doing breathing exercises and more, Unity said.
About 90% of the 72 million teens in the US play video games. They have grown up with an awareness of pressing global issues – including climate change, mental health and racial injustice – and want to make a difference, but often feel powerless to do so.
The founders of Wicked saints, creators of World Reborn, worked for the world’s largest peacebuilding organization and trained young movement leaders around the world. They saw how many lives were transformed using an approach called Common Ground Activism – attacking the problem, not the person. Now they are building World Reborn to give young people CGA skills and drive change through step-by-step real-world steps. You can join them Discord community to get special access and be a part of building the game.
A week at Belisamas Lake
“What would the children of the future think about the mistakes of our past?” is the question that Team Gramps tried to answer with A week at Belisamas Lake. This story-based fishing mobile game follows young Lotus and their grandmother Pearl as they retrieve 21st century trash from a local lake in a future where humanity has overcome the climate crisis – and changed dramatically in the process. Using gyroscopic controls, fish for items, inspect them, and listen as Pearl sheds light on relics of the past.
Through a healthy, optimistic narrative, A Week at Belisamas Lake shines a light on the possibility of a future society in a post-climate world, Unity said. Interweaving intergenerational relationships and contemporary items, the story explores how drastically things can change if we don’t act now, and how meaningful climate action will ultimately change us.
Year of the Crickets
This one comes with a “trigger warning” because it’s about sadness. Based on the 17-year life cycle and symbolism of the Brood X cicadas, this virtual reality experience follows a mother’s journey to find meaning after the loss of her son. Using personal audio files, music and images, the player is taken on a journey through the mother’s story, interacting with the experiences of passing time and grief.
Year of the Crickets is a mother’s reflection on the power of finding meaning in the most tragic stories, and how that meaning changes over time. The purpose of this experience is to provide a glimpse into the lifelong journey of meaning making after the loss of a child for those who may know or work with grieving parents and relatives.
And this game comes with a trigger warning when the content pertains to sexual assault and child abuse.
This mobile game is aimed at parents who suspect their child is a victim of sexual abuse or who want to talk to their children about topics such as consent. Patito uses mini-games to make a young character realize he’s a victim, offering a sensitive approach to educating kids and parents about these difficult topics.
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), more than 4.5 million children are victims of sexual abuse in Mexico each year. Pink Bear games created Patito to raise awareness of this issue and provide parents with an effective way to communicate with their children about sexual abuse and consent. Their goal is to offer the app for free to help prevent future cases.
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