Diabetes Community Growing Stronger Because of a Mobile Game
Today we’re going to talk about diabetes community and mobile games. What do you think about the importance of having a good community around you and how big of an impact can you make with music and playful games? Many people who have health conditions don’t have the ability to accept that they’re sick. Any type of disease is not easy to handle, even if you have a cold for a couple of days. But how do sick people grow stronger? By having people around them who understand them and who are honest with them about their condition. When treating any disease, there’s a high level of sacrifice that we have to accept and deal with it.
Diabetes is a condition that impairs the body’s ability to process blood glucose, otherwise known as blood sugar. In the United States, the estimated number of people over 18 years of age with diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes is 30.2 million. The figure represents between 27.9 and 32.7 percent of the population.
It’s important to have in mind that the increasing population that has diabetes also includes kids as well. How can we make an increasing condition more accepting? How to engage a community that’s not ready to talk about their illness? I believe that the answer for that lies within the new concept Daniel Manoiu is creating. He is a Los Angeles based pianist and composer, originally from Bucharest, Romania.
Beginning of a wonderful project
To give you more insight about his life and his goal with the new game he’s developing, I’m going to let Daniel do the talking so he can explain how he started his story:
I have always had a passion for computers and video games growing up, but my training in piano performance, and later, music composition has been a priority throughout my life. I started studying piano at age 5, had a successful career with major awards and performances. These performances resulted with me earning a Doctorate in Musical Arts from the University of Miami.
In 2016, when I decided to move to California, I knew I wanted to do something more. Music is still a big part my career and I am very active in scoring for tv/film/video games. Besides that I started learning computer programming. I am currently a Computer Science student at the University of the People. A year ago, my 12 year daughter Nelly came to visit me in L.A., and we played the game Cuphead together. It was such a fun experience, and we bonded really well. That’s when the idea came to me: “I can make a game like this!”. So I started working on Piano Face, a game that is now in alpha. I’ve been having a blast making this game. My wife Amanda and Nelly designed the levels and some of the enemies. It’s been a great experience.
Piano Face start and Diabetes Community Goals
You can download Piano Face and play it here:
You can also see YouTuber Tim Ruswick play it here:
My full game dev log is here:
Life has been going pretty well until November 2018. Suddenly my baby girl Rhiannon got sick and we found out she has type 1 diabetes. This has been the most difficult situation in my life so far, but this motivated me to try to make a difference.
I quickly found out that many kids suffer from this condition, and it is a heavy burden for them and their parents. So, together with my wife, we decided to create a mobile game for kids with type 1 diabetes. Amanda had the idea of a character called Diabetes Hero.
The game is still in development but my goal is to create a platform that will
1. Educate kids with diabetes about managing their condition. Since we live in a digital age where a mobile game can be a form of education, kids who have diabetes will learn about their condition. This way they’re going to be more confident and independent from early ages.
2. Make the constant monitoring of blood sugar levels, carbs and ketones fun, by turning it into a game. Having diabetes is hard, but can be fun! Imagine having a leaderboard where everyone is learning in a competitive way. The game doesn’t need to be competitive, it’s just fun seeing other people investing a lot of time into the game they like. If there are a lot of people playing the game and keeping track of who is active, there’s a higher chance a lot of people will communicate and interact with each other.
3. Build a diabetes community for kids, so they know they are not alone, and the diagnosis numbers are actually on the rise (in the US). Let’s say that the people who are playing the mobile game are also joined in a Facebook group where they can communicate. Or if the kids are too young for Facebook, they can interact with other players via in-game chat. Diabetes Hero is still in development, but there are endless options for communication that could be included in the game.
4. Raise awareness and donations for JDRF, in search for a biological cure, or development of an artificial pancreas. Making the next step while playing the game is to support and contribute to the things that are helping out the community. While donations are not obligatory, they’re highly appreciated and incorporating them into the mobile game will be a big step for the whole diabetes community.
Diabetes Community Mental Health Impact
I believe that we already answered how a simple idea like a mobile game can and will bring people together. Having a diabetes community of people who are growing stronger because they know someone is in the same position as them. It impacts their mental health and they’re able to accept themselves as who they are. Many people who have type 1 diabetes also have side-effects when it comes to health issues. If someone experiences things like that on a daily basis, it highly impacts their mental health. So this type of community is not only able to provide people with fun, informative content. It’s also able to have a huge influence on individual wellbeing. Personally, I also resonate with Daniel because my older brother has diabetes for over 25 years, it was definitely not an easy road, but learning to cope with your condition is what makes you stronger as a person. It helps you emotionally connect with people who are in the same position and it gives you the opportunity to share your reality with other people who might be scared to do it.
This project is just a start of something really special. I believe that everyone who reads this until the end will anticipate the outcome of this project. Understanding this topic on a personal level is something that can be quite emotional. If anyone has a similar story to share or needs support in any way possible, contact us here or on Facebook. It’s a place where we discuss development, mobile games, success stories and personal stories like this one.