Stop the Poachers

Jan 2022 - May 2022
We developed a mobile educational game that utilizes the affordances of Augmented Reality to raise awareness about animal extinction. By playing the game on-site at the Atlanta zoo, players can immerse themselves in both the real and virtual worlds, learning about the specific reasons why certain animals have become critically endangered. This unique approach allows players to decrease the psychological distance they may feel from the conservation matter and create a deeper understanding and connection to the cause.
Problem Statement
Despite the efforts of zoos to educate visitors on the issue of animal extinction, it is often not clear to the general public why certain animals have become critically endangered. This lack of understanding can make it difficult for visitors to fully grasp the gravity of the situation and take meaningful action to support conservation efforts.
Research Question
How do the affordances of AR affect the user’s connection to animals and further raise awareness about animal extinction?
My Contributions
Concept planning, asset design, game development, UI planning, desk research, conducting playtesting
Game Concept
Game identity
On-site educational AR game about saving the Rhino from poaching, designed for children at age 10+
Player experience
At the Rhino exhibit, players are tasked with saving the rhinos from the virtual poachers who are approaching on the phone screen. As they play the game, they learn about the various poaching activities that threaten the survival of the species, such as traps, poisoned plants, and snares, which are all the methods used by poachers in the real-world. This game not only educates players on the critical issues facing the rhino population but also gives them an opportunity to take action in the virtual world and feel empowered to help in the real one. The game creates an engaging and interactive experience that allows visitors to understand the importance of conservation efforts and the dangers that rhinos face.
In the AR layer, players are tasked to save the rhinos as many times as possible by deterring the poachers with fences and removing traps in a limited time.

The players are tasked to use these designed abilities to stop the poaching from killing the rhino in a limited time:
  • Spot the poachers
  • Collect the trap to build obstacles
  • Place the obstacles
  • Detocify the poisoned plants
user Interface
Title screen and the storytelling
We provide a brief story about a baby rhino in need of the player's help. It serves as a context for the game and helps to engage the player on a deeper level.
We also provide instructions on how to play the game, presenting all the designed player abilities.
Game Play
The key uis:
- rhino saved, time, collected traps, button for placing the trap
Ending Screens
Alpha Testing &
Design Iterations
We ran play tested the prototype with two School Programs Supervisors from the Atlanta Zoo and received the following feedback:
On mechanics
  • Designated areas to place a fence object: Placing the fences freely on the ground in the AR view might be challenging to do on mobile devices. Therefore, we implemented three specific areas where the user could just tap to place fences.
  • Better connection between resources system and game mechanics. Instead of collecting resources from trees and using twigs as obstacles, we will allow the players to collect the traps and use them as a fence to block the poachers
  • Age appropriateness In this way, it looks more acceptable to young audiences.
  • Positive Framing
On User Interface
  • Time limits should be more noticeable to the users
  • The snare can reflect more of the reality
  • The design of the fence button could be modified to make it more obvious to the users that the collected traps are used to build the fence
Next Steps
Based on our all of our findings shown above, we narrowed our focus into 4 areas for potential improvement of our original game idea:

  • Improve the ending scenario
  • Better storytelling and make it more relevant
  • User study comparing AR game play and 3D to test the hypothesis