The award winning serious game Pamoja Mtaani is part of the global HIV Free Generation Project under the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and represents an unprecedented approach to increase HIV/AIDS awareness among younger Africans, particularly in Kenya.
The game follows five strangers who are brought together through unforeseen circumstances and leads the player through a quest in various East African neighborhoods in order to communicate behavior change objectives.
Pamoja Mtaani is a multi-player role-playing game in which young people assume the role of one of five customizable characters to explore a large open-world environment. The game is localized in Swahili and English and features hundreds of simultaneous interactive non-player characters through which the non-linear game play is generated.
As the Technical Director, my role included the design and implementation of core systems and tools, managing and supporting the programming team, as well as creating and maintaining the necessary technical infrastructure and its documentation. I worked with clients, partners, game designers, artists and testers to ensure a timeley delivery of this eight months project.
The game implements a powerful conversation engine that drives over two thousand lines of dynamic dialogue and two dozen mini-games. Players can collect songs and unlockable items that are managed through a centralized, database-driven inventory system. The database also powers the backend for user account management and real-time data collection to track individual player progress and generate demographic statistics for scientific evaluation.
Since its 2009 release in three community centers, such as HOPE Mukuru in Nairobi, Kenya, the game received extensive coverage in the international press. The following is a small excerpt of related articles on the internet.
- heute journal: Videospiel zur HIV Prävention in Kenia
December 2009 ~ YouTube (German TV)
- Pamoja Mtaani Wins Award + Features at Games for Health 2009
November 2009 ~ Ukwelii
- Computer Game to improve HIV and AIDS awareness in Kenya
September 2009 ~ Zimbio
- Congratulations to Award-Winning ”PAMOJA MTAANI”
August 2009 ~ Kids First!
- Fighting HIV In A Virtual World
August 2009 ~ NPR National Public Radio
- Global Business Coalition Honors Warner Bros. for “Pamoja Mtaani” Videogame
June 2009 ~ PEPFAR
- Warner Bros. Entertainment honored for Pamoja Mtaani
June 2009 ~ ARA
- Warner Brothers Fights HIV/AIDS
April 2009 ~ Jamati
- Video Game Helps Kenyan Youth Avoid AIDS
March 2009 ~ Voice of America
- Safer sex video game in Kenya
March 2009 ~ h2cd
- Report on PEPFAR Partnerships for Prevention, Treatment and Care
January 2009 ~ PEPFAR
- Warner Bros. To Promote AIDS Awareness With Game
December 2008 ~ Gamasutra
- Warner Uses Game to Promote AIDS Prevention
December 2008 ~ Shacknews
- Free multiplayer PC game designed for AIDS prevention in Kenya
December 2008 ~ BIG download
- Warner Bros. Interactive Joins Anti-HIV Effort With Pamoja Mtaani
December 2008 ~ The Escapist
- Pamoja Mtaani : Breaking New Ground in Gaming and Social Awareness
December 2008 ~ Ukwelii
- Warner Bros. picks RTP firm to get serious about fighting AIDS in Kenya
December 2008 ~ WRAL techwire
- Warner Bros. Entertainment’s Group of Companies Launch Their Efforts for the Partnership for an HIV-Free Generation Initiative
December 2008 ~ TimeWarner