Whether you're a high school student, a college student or an adult that's either already fascinated with the world of scientific research, or you would like to know more about the research process, the Power of Research offers an innovative game that will intrigue and entertain.
The beauty of the Power of Research simulation is that it accomplishes so much in a single online package. It's a real-time based game similar to other popular games that are based on tasks and game activities that require real-world time to complete. It also includes an entire social network with other "researchers" that you can team up with to further advance your research. It also serves as an accurate simulation of the actual world of scientific research, and you don't even need to know anything about the subject matter at hand. The whole point of the game is to follow the correct procedures of scientific research, develop your findings, publish your work and build up your reputation as one of the world's leading scientists.
The community nature of this online game combined with its authentic adherence to the scientific research process really makes it a useful tool for teachers to help science students understand the long and laborious process that goes into making scientific discoveries. Additionally, the fact that the game is set up like other online real-time strategy games makes it fun and addictive for anyone.
Setting up Your Character
When you first launch the game and sign up for an account, the first step of the process is to create your profile and Avatar. Choose the gender and then choose what your scientist is going to look like. While this isn't critical to the enjoyment of the game, it will be the image that your character portrays as you progress with your scientific findings and reputation, so make sure it's a character that represents you.
Choose Your Institute
The first step of your simulated science career is to choose which institute that you're going to conduct your research at. This institute houses many different research centers that you're going to be able to interact with, so don't worry too much about which one you choose. Just opt for a research institute that covers an area of science that you may have an interested in.
Choose Research Area
In the next step of your sign-up, you get to choose your starting research area. Keep in mind that this isn't the topic that you're stuck with forever, but it's an area of scientific inquiry where you want to start
your research career. Again, you don't already need to be an expert in the particular field in real life, but it does make the game more interesting if you choose an area you have at least a passing interest in. Remember that you can branch into different areas as your research career progresses. Once you choose a branch of research, then you'll choose your first thesis topic and you're ready to get started!
Assign Skill Points
Every scientist has particular research skills in real life, and Power of Research stays true to that reality by allowing you to give your virtual researcher a few extra skills in areas of your choosing. You get five points to distribute across seven different areas of research skills. Each skill can give you a distinct advantage in different areas of the game, so choose wisely!
Once the game starts, you are in your laboratory. You're going to spend a lot of time here, so take some time to get acquainted with all of the tools that are available. At the bottom, you'll see an overview, a listing of your current skill levels, a history of your research, prices you've won and a button to link up with Facebook friends. At the top menu bar you'll find an overview of your current profile, your project and experiment area, a review of the entire Institute you've joined and what's going on there. In addition, you'll see your Calendar of work, any messages you've received, a link to the library and a link to the help area. The library is an impressive knowledgebase filled with actual information about all of the science topics available for research at Power of Research.
When you first start your research, be prepared to wait several hours between game updates at first. You'll choose tasks that you want to complete in your path to complete overall research projects. The Project area shows you what tasks require completion before you can continue on to the next level. Once you enable that task, you'll have to wait until your researcher is completed with that task before you continue on to the next. Different tasks take different lengths of time (in the real world), so check carefully before you choose a task.
You also have a research calendar available to carefully plan out the research tasks that you want to accomplish. This helps you to organize your projects and plan out all of the tasks that you need to complete to get there. When you allocate time for a task, you'll see the time blocked off and what time the task will be completed. This will help you remember when to come back and check the game again so that you can keep things rolling smoothly in your virtual laboratory.
If you are interested in what's going on throughout your research institute and what ongoing projects are going on throughout the Institute, click on the "My Institute" link in the menu and navigate through the research topics to see what's going on. Since this world is one of collaborative research, when you find a project that you find fascinating and would like to become a part of, you can request membership. When you collaborate with other scientists at the Institute, you'll accomplish a lot more in less time, just like in the real world of research.
When you click on the Overview link in the bottom menu, you'll see the overall level of your research, the current progress level of your active tasks, and your current skill level. As time goes on, you complete more projects and publish scientific papers, this area will fill up with your skills and complete projects. Just like in real life, your research accomplishments will build up your list of skills and achievements. The overview area is where you'll go to see how far you've come.
Science Arcade "Research"
Not only is this game a realistic simulation of the world of scientific research, but it also offers actual arcade-style games, such as the "Cell Game" that you'll find in the upper right corner of the main page, where creating Lymphocytes become a timed arcade game. Many of the tasks throughout Power of Research offer similar fun games as you progress through research levels.
Power of Research is a fascinating mix of education, simulation, game play and social networking. It's an entire virtual world for people that love science, and what scientific research can accomplish. So dive into the game, establish your own research institute, and start experiencing the excitement and pride that so many other researchers around the world are already experiencing.
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