Project:Filter was developed as part of Andrew Reid's doctoral studies at Glasgow Caledonian University. The research project queried the development and application of an applied game for the purpose of raising awareness of noPILLS, a pan-European research project that investigated methods of intervention beyond technological upgrading in order to reduce micropollution in public and private water supplies. The game aimed to address the following identified research outcomes from noPILLS which stated:

Theme 6: Consolidating existing knowledge, ensuring transparency and facilitating access to information

"Peer education may be an effective way to encourage behaviour change around disposal."

"Local outreach and wider awareness raising campaigns on thematically complex topics such as pharmaceutical residues in water may benefit from the use of modern communication tools such as 3D visualization and computer games. Further work is needed to verify and quantify the efficacy of these tools."

The Game

Project:Filter is a PC game that aims to invoke exploration, challenge, and critical thinking of the wider ecological effects of pollution; particularly, pollution as a result of sewage effluent. The game is intended for high-school pupils of Social Studies and is designed towards satisfying the following learning outcomes:


(Education Scotland, 2016)

Players operate a drone through a marine landscape representing a river and investigate the environment for indicators of pollution. The indicators are examples of affected environmental areas as a result of micropollution. There are seven areas in total which highlight potential issues for concern, including agriculture, marine wildlife, and rural living. Players are tasked with entering open effluent pipes in the landscape in order to "clean" the water from micropollution. They must collect a set number of spherical objects that represent the pollutants, while avoiding oncoming filters. They must also protect the main carbon filter at the end of the pipe network to stop it from being damaged by the micropollution. Each level is progressively more difficult as the player traverses through the environment.

As the pupils play through Project:Filter, they are expected to complete a short workbook exercise. This creates a role-play environment that sets the scene for playing the game. Pupils simulate "applying for a job" to work within the environment; they are recruited and "trained" through the in-game tutorial; they are tasked to identify environmental areas of concern due to pollution; finally, they must create a poster advertising potential solutions to problems identified within the game.


Learning Resources:
If you would like to use these materials for any purposes, please get in contact for permission.

Reid, A. J. (2018). The Development and Application of a Serious Game for Raising Awareness and Understanding of noPILLS: A Game-based Learning Approach. Ph.D. Thesis, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK.
Ramzan, R. and Reid, A. J. (2016). The Importance of Game Jams in Serious Games. Proceedings from the 10th European Conference on Game Based Learning (ECGBL) 2016, 6-7 October, Paisley. P538-546.

Game-changing Design (presented at Creating Conversations, 2017)
Project:Filter, and the Game and Experiment Model (presented at Game Think 2.0, 2017)
Project:Filter (presented at 4th International Educational Games Competition at ECGBL, 2016)
The Importance of Game Jams in Serious Games (presented at 10th European Conference on Game-Based Learning (ECGBL), 2016)
Project:Filter Design and Experimentation (presented at 1st Joint International Conference of DiGRA and FDG, 2016)

Writings (hosted within Blog):
An Introduction to "Project:Filter"
Project:Filter Update #1
Project:Filter Update #2
Playing Popular Science: Presentation from 1st Joint International Conference of DiGRA and FDG
The 4th International Educational Games Competition
Project:Filter and the Game and Experiment Model: Presentation from Game Think 2.0
Game-changing Design: Presentation from Creating Conversations 2017