Communications Design

Student team awarded in the competition "Plastic 4.0 - New media against plastic waste"

© Projektteam Essence, Hochschule Trier

On 28 October, Environment Minister Ulrike Höfken invited the winning teams to the awards ceremony in the Electoral Palace in Mainz, including the interdisciplinary team from Trier, consisting of four master's students in intermedia design, communication design and computer science. They were awarded 2nd place for their jointly developed virtual reality game "Essence - Virtual Reality Experience".

It is estimated that a truckload of plastic lands in the sea every minute, totalling 4.8 to 12.7 million tonnes per year. Plastic avoidance is the topic of the hour; thousands of young people in Germany take to the streets every week to protect the climate and the environment - but it is also a fact: adolescents and young adults aged between 14 and 30 belong to the largest littering group, i.e. the people who carelessly throw the most rubbish into the environment - according to a study by the Association of Municipal Enterprises from 2018. The Mainz Ministry of the Environment therefore launched a competition for innovative ideas for waste avoidance in 2020.

Environmental education game concept promotes critical examination of one's own consumer behaviour
The idea for the game was developed in a course project by Prof. Christopher Ledwig. Till Müller, a student in the joint master's programme in communication design and intermedia design, developed the concept, and other students from a total of three different courses of study joined the interdisciplinary project. This interdisciplinary network shows the great and growing interest of young people in making a contribution to improving the climate situation of our planet. During the implementation they were supervised by a team of professors who were also interdisciplinary: Christopher Ledwig (Department of Communication Design in Digital Media) and Andreas Hogan (Department of Typography) from the Communication Design Department and Linda Breitlauch from the Intermedia Design Department (Department of Games, 3D).

The game "Essence - Virtual Reality Experience", developed at Campus Gestaltung, shows a fictional future scenario: The human-induced pollution of planet earth is manifested by increasingly extreme climate phenomena and a rise in sea level. Man has obviously not succeeded in stopping global warming. As a result, 100% of the earth's surface is now covered with water. Using virtual reality glasses, the player slips into the role of a scientist who dives in the sea and fishes foreign bodies out of the water, scans them and thus obtains information about the material. The almost realistic appearance of the plastic packaging in addition to real facts, such as biodegradability, is intended to encourage the user to take a critical look at his own consumer behaviour. "Your imaginative competition entries help us to use digital media to sensitise young people to the subject of plastic waste and to motivate them to take an active role in protecting our environment and our future", said Höfken in praise of the winning teams.

The game can be experienced as a prototype on youtube:

A video of the award ceremony can be viewed on the Facebook page of the Ministry of Environment of Rhineland-Palatinate:

Interested sponsors who would like to support this forward-looking project are welcome to contact the Dean's Office of Campus Design.

The student team of game development:
Till Müller (B.A.), concept/idea, game designer, lead artist
Amin El Gafarawi (B.A.), User Experience/User Interface Designer, Communication Designer
Yannik Hupfer (B.Sc.), programmer, technical artist
Frederic Joedicke (B.A.), Game Designer, 3D Artist

Supervising professors:
Prof. Christopher Ledwig, Communication Design in Digital Media
Prof. Andreas Hogan, Typography
Prof. Linda Breitlauch, Games and 3D

© Projektteam Essence, Hochschule Trier
© Projektteam Essence, Hochschule Trier
© Projektteam Essence, Hochschule Trier
The winners at the award ceremony in the electoral castle in Mainz, student Till Müller from Trier in the centre of the picture. © Essence Project Team, Trier University of Applied Sciences
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