Zoo Academy is a social-emotional learning game that I am the lead game developer of at Centervention. We have released 18 levels for it so far, and our team is continuing to develop new episodes. Zoo Academy is used by tens of thousands of Kindergarten and 1st grade students across the country to assess and teach skills that aren’t normally taught directly in schools like cooperation, and empathy.
Zoo Academy was built with the Godot game engine. It is a dialogue-driven game where the players choices impact the story. It also has mini-games sprinkled throughout to keep players engaged.
I led our team as we switched to the Godot game engine as part of the Zoo Academy project. Godot is an open-source C++ game engine with a Python-like scripting language that would be an unconventional choice for most commercial game studios who would typically choose Unreal or Unity. However Godot with it’s small overhead and rich community support was a perfect fit for our HTML5 games that get deployed to low-powered devices on bandwidth-starved school networks.
This included designing and building the internal engine-level requirements such as the dialogue and menu systems for the game. I also built out the integration with our web servers for cloud-based saves, as well as storing data to the server to later be used for reporting purposes.
I played a key role of automating various parts of the development process. This including automating aspects of the art pipeline as well as the build and deploy process through effective Python script development to improve the efficiency of the team. I also helped hire and mentor multiple Junior Game Developers to help them contribute substantially to our projects.
You can learn more about Zoo Academy and request a free account to play it at Centervention.