NEW HIGH TECNOLOGY! Kalle Heiska science journalist
To the Main Page To the News Page
suomenkielisille sivuille


TAMK University of Applied Sciences designs health information, visuality and music into a health game for young people

TAMK University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) has designed and produced a game for teens incorporating health information, visual appeal and music. The game encourages young people to be sociable and take exercise. Progress in the game requires positive health choices and responses from the game figures manipulated in play. The Department of Computer Sciences at the University of Tampere was in charge of the development work on the health game.

Roskis ( = “rubbish”) is a game figure. When the game starts he has had a poor diet for a long time. When a player makes the right decisions with his Roskis figure the diet becomes much healthier. When the game ends Roskis has obviously got rid of his excess weight.
Photo: TAMK
High resolution image (84,1 Kb)
High resolution image (56,5 Kb)

Pirkanmaa University of Applied Sciences (PIRAMK) was in charge of the preliminary work on the project, ascertaining the state of health of older children in comprehensive school and their health hopes as a basis for the design work. Pupils were also asked for game ideas and their game habits and visual and audio expectations of an interesting game were elicited.

The findings about the teenagers’ state of health and their expectations influenced game design and implementation, which was geared to promote sociability – doing things together. It motivates teens to take exercise and supports the connection between a player’s own choices and habits and his health and well-being. The main thing in game design was a positive angle on teenager’s reality. The aim was to create a game that helps teens to learn in an entertaining way.

The soundscape and music for the health game were designed and implemented by PIRAMK.  The visual world was created by TAMK. The game proceeds by directing game figures in 3D graphics, each of which has some characteristic which is bad for a young person’s health and well-being: bad sleeping habits, poor posture, excess weight due to an unhealthy diet, or booze use. As the game proceeds the habits of the game figures also change for the better.

The cityscapes for the health game were designed in TAMK. At the beginning of the game the 3D cityscapes are dirty and unpleasant, but by the end of the game the city looks good, tidy and pleasant – both to see and to hear. TAMK created the game figures and cityscapes from scratch, with no readymade drawings at all; this is truly exceptional in the field of games.

At the beginning of 2010 PIRAMK and TAMK merged to form the new TAMK. Students of health care, physiotherapy, AV expression and IT participated in the design and implementation of the health game as part of their studies and practical assignments. The health game is intended to appeal to teenagers aged 12 to 16 and in the future it could well be a tool for use in comprehensive schools’ health education.

The development work on the game is part of TAMK research and development work. Others contributing to its design and implementation include the University of Tampere and Tampere University of Technology, likewise several companies. The TEKES Finn-Well Programme is the main source of funding. Funding was also provided by Hermia Ventures Ltd. and among others Hermia Ltd.

The development work is part of the joint HYVITE-programme among Tampere higher education institutions focusing on User-Centred Wellbeing Technology. The development project has contacts with both Japanese and American actors in the game field, and the health game, which is to be translated into English is to be tested internationally. It may be that on the basis of the health game for the young another version can be developed – for the elderly.

More information:

TAMK University of Applied Sciences
Research Manager Kimmo Vänni
Tel. +358 50 320 9573
TAMK University of Applied Sciences
Program Manager Tarja Heinonen
Tel. +358 50 568 5354

Feel free to use all news. Photographs copyright Kalle Heiska.
[ main ] [ news ] [ suomeksi ]