The patient will create, or choose from a pre-created character avatar that will be used to navigate the virtual hospital. The player will navigate through the hospital setting, which will be built according the layout of their facility. There will be multiple areas for the patient to navigate:
Cafeteria – The patient will be able to go and explore the hospital’s cafeteria to see what the daily menu options are, and to learn about any special diet plans that their provider has prescribed. For example, if the patient is diabetic they will be able to go into the cafeteria and see the sugar content of popular foods, and to get low-sugar substitute recommendations.
Information Desk – This will be an area located at the lobby of each hospital, and will be staffed with an AI avatar that can provide the patient with information about both the hospital and gameplay. This information will be populated based on the information typically provided by the hospital. The most basic hospital information that would be found at the information desk includes:
- Phone directory
- Mission, Vision, & Value Statement
- Maps & Directions
- Available guest services
- Accreditations and Achievements
- Notice of Privacy Practices
- List of service departments
- Available classes and events and support groups
- Electronic Health Record information
The game information that would be provided:
- Game tutorial (this will be offered during the first login, but will be available at the information desk whenever needed)
- List of virtual areas
- Game settings
- Notification options
- Avatar settings
- Go to option (this will allow a character to go to any area within the game without having to navigate the environment)
- Menu color
- Development information (who to contact with problems, information about the game’s development and design)
- Privacy information (game data will not be shared with anyone, and all data and actions will be anonymized with the exception of public areas, such as support groups or forums)
- Frequently asked question section
Support Groups – Various support groups will be available in certain areas. There will be common area that has a list and starting times of each support group. An overview of each support group will be available for the patient to read.
Casual game area – There will be a common area that has a listing of available casual games. Game descriptions will be available in this area. Once a player has chosen to play a casual game they will be sent to the game screen which will include menus and instructions for that specific game.
Service Line Areas and Units – Virtual service line areas and nursing units will be created to reflect existing areas within the hospital. A player will be able to navigate to these areas and get information about what each area does. For example, if the hospital offers an inpatient rehab unit, the player will be able to navigate to that area and speak with employees (AI avatars) of that unit to learn more about provided services.
To explore the virtual hospital setting and learn about the facility. Players are also encouraged to participate in support groups and play the casual video games located within the game. They are also encouraged to engage in any of the educational resources such as the medication education section and the discharge planning section.
The play flow of the game will depend on the actions of the player. If the player does not select locations to move, the avatar will remain standing still. Pre-programmed AI avatars will be walking throughout the hospital environment to simulate the paths typically seen in a hospital. Hospital staff will walk throughout the hospital and will explain their role and how they can be identified when selected by the player. For example, if an AI avatar in blue scrubs is walking through the hallways and the player’s avatar is near, they may select the AI avatar to get a brief description of who that avatar represents in the hospital. This will be structured according to the individual hospital.
The virtual environment will be a 3D simulation of the facility and will have stationary objects that the player will have to move around. For example, they would not be able to walk over a desk or chair, but would be limited to actions that are only possible in the physical world. They would not be able to pass through walls or other stationary objects. They would be required to navigate through the virtual environment as if they were actually walking around the hospital, with the exception of using the “Go To” function at the information desk or in the menu.
Movement in the game
The game is third person, which means that the player will see the back of their avatar as it goes through the virtual environment. The avatar will navigate to whatever point the player touches on their screen.
Stationary objects will be located throughout the game to match the layout of the facility. There will be some stationary objects that allow for interaction, such as suggestion boxes. Also, any information that is found within the game can be saved by the patient to read later, or can be sent to their private email.
The game will allow the player to navigate through the environment by touching the location where they wan their avatar to move. They will also use the touch screen to interact with other avatars and objects. When there is an object or avatar that allows for interaction, it will be highlighted so the player knows they can interact with the object.
The player will have the opportunity to enable notifications based on in-game actions. For example, they would be able to set up a notification when a scheduled support group is about to begin, or when a certain menu item is being served in the cafeteria.
The default language would be set to English, but would include the most common languages spoken in that region. This would be based on the hospital’s records of patient populations. For example, if the facility treats a large hispanic population, then a spanish option would be available. Other language options and expansions would be made available at the request of the hospital.
Preloaded language options would include:
Players can select from pre-existing avatars, or can customize their avatars with basic features such as hair color, skin tone, size, and gender.
Go to option
The “Go To” option will be available in the menu and at the information desk, and will allow the player to jump to a desired area without having to navigate through the hospital.
Players will be able to change the color of the menus within the game. This will allow them to customize the display to improve readability based on the individual’s preference.
Replaying and Saving
Players will be allowed to close the game without saving as there will not be actionable objectives. When they reopen the game their avatar will be in their last location. There will be exceptions if the game is closed while the player is in a support group or playing one of the available casual games. If the player closes while in one of these settings, their avatar will be placed in the hospital lobby once the game is reopened.