EvilToys: Mine Risk education for children using 3D game

Ahmed Mansour's picture
May 10, 2012 - 16:41 -- Ahmed Mansour
Revision #18ForkRecommend a Solution
Iraq, Cambodia, Laos, Afghanistan, Sudan, Israel, Angola, Libya

UPDATE: Demonstration video of the game running on OLPC laptop


The Problem:

Video of Landmine impact on children http://youtu.be/legWaDuem4U

on 8th May 2012, 4 children killed when a UXO (unexploded ordnance) detonated in  Sudan's Darfur region: http://www.iol.co.za/dailynews/news/four-children-killed-in-darfur-blast-1.1291346

Landmines and UXO (unexploded ordnance) are serious problem affecting about 35 country. in 2010, 70%  recorded of casualties were civilians and 25% of them are children. (according to Landmine Monitor 2011 report. page.37)

To face this threat humanitarian NGOs use two complementary methods:

  • The demining: which is very important, risky and expensive, it basically mean removing landmines and unexploded ordnance from fields to make them safe.
  • Mine awareness / education: which is any action of teaching at risk population of their danger and how to avoid them in order to avoid casualties.

In some heavily contaminated contries like Iraq or Combodia, demining would take decades and cost several million$! so Mine awareness is only way to stop further casualties while cleaning the lands from danger.

My solution:

Although the demining has considerally advanced in last 30 years (use of robots, trained dogs and mices to "smell" minefields)

educational methods didn't benefit from advance in technology to transmit safety message in more effective way, and still use leaflet, drawing and other medium that are not effective in comunicating with children.

                                                                  in game screenshot


My proposal is a 3D educational video game for children, to learn about danger of landmines
and cluster munitions, by playing a simulation inside virtual world and learning to recognize them and how to avoid them and more importantly through a simulation understand various situation where he may encounter the danger.
the child will also learn signs that indicate dangerous area. Which make the child adopt safe behaviour
when faced with similar situation in reality.More about the educational theory behind it on my blog

RHoKberlin: Suggested that we use Augmented Reality instead of a video game since it would be more connected to reality. what do you think?


What we need?

I already did 70% of the game, it is still a prototype but in a playable state.

  • Help with level design, brainstorm ideas, on how to make learnin more immersive and fun.
  • The game development is made under GNU\Linux, open source and is hosted on https://github.com/atphalix/eviltoys and more details on how to contribute on the wiki https://github.com/atphalix/eviltoys/wiki
  • Need low poly 3D models of real munitions used in conflict, I collected some images from Libya conflict.
  • For now I use a 3D maze to illustrate the concept, but need to model a mall village or something that a child in a mine affected country could relate to, for making it easier to make a connection between what he learn in the game and reality.
  • Testing, Testing and Testing on different old Windows version and old computers.
  • Need opinion of expert in the field, educators, psychologist, NGOs... what they think about it.

running on PSP

EvilToys Game ported to Sony PSP console

Ofcourse, I don't expect children in rural region in Iraq or Afghanistan to own PSP, but the goal to demostrate that the software can be used on mobile devices in case the use of computers or netbooks is not possible.

The game has been tested to work on: Windows; Linux, PSP and OLPC laptop

  • [DONE] The game need to work on old computer that don't have latest 3D graphic cards.
  • [DONE] Game need to be designed to not depend on audio message/feedback, so it can be played even when sounds is not available.
  • [TODO] Need to be small in size (under 100 MB) so it can be easily downloaded over slow connection in 3rd world country the most affected by this problem.
  • [TODO] Not a technical problem, but the project is first of it's kind, so it needs to be evaluated and tested for it's educational impact.
Similar Projects and Resources: 

A similar project called Undercover UXO designed for Cambodia, using photos

of hazardous terrain to train children to recognize them.



  • Our project (Evil Toys) instead use 3D models to give a better "feeling" of size and volume of the dangerous objects in space which is harder  to achive by just looking at 2D picture especially for children that are not used to that level of abstraction.
  • By using a 3D immersive world experience, specially with children that never played a video game before, would be entertaining and motivating to play again and again, and thus better memorize the message of the game, that would be translated into real world safe behavious when exposed to same situation of the game in real life.




Qualitative Impact: 
Other than obvious humanitarian impact in saving a child life, as a simulation project it can be used in other country that don't suffer from war: like in teaching children (or adult) safe behavior in disaster or with manipulating chemical substance, avoiding dangerous place.... To rise awareness about the problem specially in countries that still didn't sign covention against cluster bombs and join Ottawa Treaty.
Quantitative Impact: 
"This must stop. Even one child killed in the violence is one child too many," UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake.
Problem Definition Category: