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Teaching chemistry through games

University of Illinois students competed to see which team could create the best video game to teach chemistry concepts. Video courtesy of NCSA.

Educational computer games for high school students have, in some ways, reached a holy grail-like status; everyone loves the idea, but few games have succeeded at achieving the goal.

Students from the University of Illinois recently tackled this problem in a competition to create the best chemistry game.

"The games were all created using Unity 3D, a commercial game engine with free versions for non-commercial use," said Guy Garnett, associate director of research at the Illinois eDream Institute.

The 3D models were created using 3D Studio Max, a high-end commercial software package, and Blender, which is open source. Rendering, which was done on laptops, took anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.

The games were designed to run on standard, relatively current laptops.

At present, there are no immediate plans to release the games to the public, although students are free to do with their games as they please.

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