Blood Glucose Simulator

Unity C# October 2020 - March 2021

This project is a diabetic blood glucose simulator for the non-profit Glucose Trail. Play as Sam, a cute character that can eat, rest, exercise or medicate for each hour of the day, and watch their blood glucose change to learn about diabetes.

- Blood glucose estimation events for food, exercise, rest and medication using real medical estimation factors, including the TDI (total daily insulin), ICR (insulin to carb ratio), and the idea of METS (an exercise measurement)
- Game state, and achievement based badge system.
- History structure to track player interactions to calculate total "health score"

Development Experience

The Blood Glucose Simulator was my first applied game for educational purposes. This project was in association with Glucose Trail. I worked as a lead designer and programmer on this project with three teammates. The core of the simulation involved showing how the blood glucose of a person with diabetes might be affected by diet, exercise and medication. This project required medical and mathematical research so that each event could be estimated correctly.

Throughout the project, we chatted with an endocrinologist from Glucose Trail to ensure the team was on the right track. Ultimately, the research pointed to many recursive systems that could teach users how blood glucose changes over long periods of time, but time was too limited to simulate it all, so the team simplified the project to show blood glucose changes daily, based off of player inputs. I was given the role of programming all the events' affects on player blood glucose, while the team created minigames and UI to ensure each event was engaging. I ended up creating many functions based off of medical estimations, such as the ICR, TDI, BMI, and METS. I gave the blood glucose a "S" curve so that it would stay within a range of values more readily.

To give players feedback in the form of a health score, I had to keep track of their actions and blood glucose levels each day using a scriptable object with a history list, containing a summary of how each day went. I also created a badge system to award players. 

I learned a huge amount about applied games through this project. There is a balance between accuracy and engagement one needs to strike in order to make a successful applied game. If the accuracy makes the experience dry, people will not want to use the app, however, engagement should not create oversimplifications or lies, otherwise the integrity of the project is sacrificed.

© Kaamil Lokhandwala 2021 - All Rights Reserved

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