A Brief History of Space Time Quest
In 2010 the Gravitational Wave Group in Birmingham succesfully applied for an exhibition at the British Science Festival. This would be their first outreach event, and the summer of that year was spent developing all exhibits from scratch. Borne out of a general interest in coding and games, we started to develop a computer game about gravitational wave detectors. Despite having severely underestimated the effort required, we enjoyed seeing our game Space Time Quest being played at the British Science Festival for the first time.
We made the game available for free on our webpages. Based on the download statistics and entries on the leaderboard (more than 14000) the game was discovered and enjoyed by quite a few people. In addition, other research groups around the world used the game in their own science fairs or outreach events, especially with children and students. To help our international colleague we started to offer the game in other languages, in addition to English: Spanish, Catalan, Dutch and Chinese.
In parallel we have developed several other interactive computer applications to support science outreach and public engagement. Through the LIGO Scientific Collaboration they have found an international audience, and our work on gravitational wave outreach using apps has been recognised by the LIGO-Virgo Scientific collaborations with the Cristina Torres Education and Outreach Award 2017.
In October 2017 we will release a new version of Space Time Quest, for the first time also on mobile devices, and available in even more languages (French, Italian, Russian and Japanese). After seven years the game has not lost any of its magic, it still makes you want to detect more and more gravitational waves!
The image below links to a poster with a brief history of our games development, that was shown at the INTERACT Symposium by IOP and STFC in 2017.