If you have been following us for a while, you know our big vision project is Safari Central, a location based game that brings real animals from the wild to your world. In the past two years, we’ve prototyped several versions of the game and raised funds through a kickstarter campaign to develop the tech further. So we are super excited to announce that we are now in the process of building the full fledged version of Safari Central, and we are kicking it off exclusively with Great Ape stars.

 
 A gibbon in Borneo - photo Gautam Shah

A gibbon in Borneo - photo Gautam Shah

 

The game will have you out and about tracking orangutans and gibbons from Indonesian Borneo and lowland gorillas and chimpanzees from the Congo Basin. It will feature unique characters like Fio the orangutan, Chilli the gibbon and Theresa the lowland gorilla. These animals and the forests they live in are under extreme threat, and so there could be no better place for us to start bringing their stories to you.

Made possible by new partnerships

 Raff spotting Fio in the trees above

Raff spotting Fio in the trees above

This new phase of work is made possible through a grant from the Arcus Foundation. We will be partnering with the Borneo Nature Foundation and the Goualougo Triangle Ape Project to bring the stories of these apes, and the conservation work needed to protect them, to the world.

We’re still very early in the concepting phase, and Jake, our head of product and Raff, our wildlife and data scientist, are currently immersing themselves in the Bornean rainforest with the BNF team to get a deep understanding of the animals, the communities that live around them, the threats, and the conservation sweat and blood that goes into protecting them.

The game experience

What we are for now calling Safari Central v2 is intended to be a platform for many more animals and conservation organizations to come, including some of those from the original Safari Central like Rockstar the pangolin and Mweturia the elephant. But for right now, we are kicking off with apes.

 
Orangutan-selfie.jpg
 

Here’s the gist of the game experience: you are a wanna be conservation scientist training for the big time. New technology allows for the experts in the Bornean and Congo rainforests to ‘beam’ you live representations of Fio, Chili, Theresa, and other animals from the forests, which give you the chance to practice your chops at tracking them, getting them comfortable with your presence, and collecting data within the familiarity of your own neighborhood or park. By proving yourself at home, you’ll be ready to take on more difficult and complex missions to find new animals in new environments.  The game brings together stunning Augmented reality, location based game play, the ability to play indoors, and the chance to be part of a larger group effort around the conservation of apes in the wild.

The timeline

We’re in very early stages and still refining the storyline and game mechanics, but we’ll keep you up to date on the progress and reach out when we need your help with play testing along the way.  Look for a beta release sometime around March/April of 2019 and a larger release in July/August.

By the way, do you know the easiest way to tell the difference between a monkey and an ape? Look for a tail. Don’t see one? Then it’s an ape. Apes include orangutans, gibbons, lowland gorillas, mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, and bonobos. They are all fascinating and we are all fired up to get you closer to their stories.  Stay tuned….

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