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Reviews for "In the Time of Pandemia"

Wow massive kudos to you for this project ! Regarding all the references I hope you made it into a paper ! It communicates the complex situation very well. - - To simulate different risks of transmission you could add (invisible or marked) zones in the map that elevate risk (mall, sports, or use a noise map since the patients move randomly anyway). Might over-complicate things but since you mention it prominently under limitations.

It really gets frantic in the later stages and shows how hard decisions fall onto the decider.

kikill responds:

Thanks again Kamikaye! Your feedback makes me feel validated in more ways than one. You're the second epidemiologist to give a favorable view of the work. And as a long-time active (and decorated) contributor of the Newgrounds community, I hold your opinion as a gamer and game-maker in very high regard indeed.

Thanks as well for giving me an idea I can get excited about for Version 2 of the game.


The anti-maskers make it so much harder

kikill responds:

They do, MrMeatballRedux, as in real life. =( Thanks for your rating and review.

Okay I get what you're going for. Money doesn't matter as much as as people getting sick, people getting sick but recovering doesn't matter as much as deaths. In addition, you want to somewhat realistically model the difficulties of people ignoring isolation or quarantine as well as limited hospital and governmental resources.

As a pure simulator of those things, this is great, and a good education tool, and I want to stress I commend you for that, especially since I'm going to go on a math rant in a second and get pretty critical on the game aspect of this. So just like, remember that I *really* appreciate that and the work that went into it before the rant starts XD

As a game the design is pretty bad. You're telling me to get below a score that will be RNG determined 90% of the time. It's infuriating and bad design for a game. My only options as a player are tests, isolation, lockdown, and hospitlization. Let's take Zone 4 as an example. It has 40% compliance and only 10% observance of things to keep infectivity down. You start the level with 5 out of 25 people infected (says 24 total on intro screen but that's apparently a mislabel). Even assuming I immediately started the level by testing everyone and telling everyone to isloate and locking down *everything* with no regard for money (so making it hard to avoid going over par already), statistically 2 people who are infected will continue running around with another 8 healthy people, with a decent chance of getting them sick. Par is set at 5004, so if a *single healthy person* gets sick, I have to restart. To not get fudged, I'd need either every sick person to listen or the surrounding people to listen, and while the math on the second is harder to get, the first is ever so slightly over a 1% chance. So even being super generous with the second situation and going up to 5%, that means that only 1/10 times am I even going to have a *chance* to beat par on zone 4. While this might be a realistic model that's very useful for teaching us, it's a *terrible* playing experience, and it's only the third real level of the game.

Basically what I'm saying is, if you want to keep the realistic simulation there (which I know I'd prefer as well), you need to relax par a bit or it's just nightmarish to play. And its easier to teach people through things like this if they don't rage quit after a few levels.

kikill responds:

I appreciate your giving the game some thought and for acknowledging our labors in making the game a vehicle for players to understand the difficulties and dilemmas of pandemic management.

You're right, deciding on the par scores was a struggle. On the one hand, I wanted to make the players feel a sliver of how it's like to battle the current crisis, on the other hand, I also wanted to keep them in the game long enough to absorb its message. It's a design risk I took to lean more towards the former than the latter. The frustration, desperation, even rage that running after the par scores could evoke in the player I believed was part of the message. The pandemic is a maelstrom of disparate variables and random happenstance can overturn the most studied of strategies.

However, your saying that the score is 90% random is a bit of an exaggeration. Certainly, there is randomness, but you are given access to tools and can strategize with these to cope.

In Zone 4, you don't need everyone to comply with isolation to succeed. In the scenario you described, you have 2 infected and 8 vulnerable individuals who won't isolate. That means you have 15 who are compliant. The game becomes something of a physics/geometric puzzle at this point. You can strategize with how you isolate the compliant people such that they'd shield the vulnerable ones. This is roughly similar to cordoning certain sections of town to contain the virus.

Having said that, this game design is a living document which I continue to iterate on in response to feedback such as yours. The par scores were just taken from my best scores. Although I can see that several players have already beaten those and some even messaged me that the early levels are too easy, I'll try pushing back the par scores a notch for each zone.

Thanks again for sharing your observations.


Good catch on the "24" mislabel. It's from an earlier iteration.

good game, bad reality

kikill responds:

Unfortunately... But, thank you for the rating. 👍

Oof just like real life, right down to the anti-maskers.

kikill responds:

Thank you for the rating and review, supertoria12.