Fans of Goat Simulator rejoice — there’s a new animal simulator in town. I Am Dolphin is a simple, goofy and totally riveting physics-driven game coming to the iTunes App Store today.
You play as Bandit the bottlenose dolphin, Simon the Commerson’s dolphin or Zoey the orca. The game consists of snacking on unsuspecting fish and fighting for your life against predatory sharks, all with their own unique AI. Leap into the air Flipper-style and feel the wind in your pectoral fins. Live out your lifelong dream of becoming a bonafide porpoise.
Despite I Am Dolphin’s goofy charm, the game was developed primarily for research purposes by a team of four at Johns Hopkins University: neurology professor John Krakauer, M.D., software engineers Promit Roy and Omar Ahmad, and animation artist Kat McNally. Their goal was to create a game that would aid in stroke recovery, engaging motor skills and immersing the player in nature, providing a motivating and fun way to engage patients in taking steps toward rehabilitation. I know there’s a good joke in here somewhere — a neurology professor, two software engineers, and an animation artist walk into a bar…
The team studied dolphins at the National Aquarium in Baltimore in order to create virtual counterparts with extremely realistic body motions, simulating muscles, bones, and a functional motor system. Using this data and their own neurological research, the team built a brand new game engine from scratch: the Kata Engine. Proceeds from the game go toward furthering the team’s neurological research and bringing the experience to stroke patients in recovery.
Baltimore Aquarium Trip via Flickr