Forging a new path for e-health with video games

By Jarkko Kouva, Art Manager at Tilak

In January 2017, I took the leap and joined an early-stage startup as Art Manager. I was hesitant at first, as I didn’t want to get stuck in that genre of games that are thought of as “wellness apps;” those games that developers laugh at, and that journalists don’t like to write about. I was working on the Asphalt racing game series at Gameloft, and I had never seen any form of serious games that was appealing. It seemed like the traditional video games were always developed by seasoned video game professionals and serious games were designed mainly by educational or medical professionals. Different professional fields never came together in a way that would please all, and the user. On paper, it was a risky move for me, personally, to join Tilak Healthcare, but I trusted in the company’s mission: to build fun medical games to change the way we monitor chronic diseases.

When we started the development of OdySight, we knew our target user group was having difficulties with their vision. This could have set some boundaries early on in terms of art and design. Instead, our team of game developers, designers, artists, and medical professionals worked together to experiment and prototype, hoping to find the right combination of “video game” and “medical tests,” in a way where both complement each other. We went back and forth several times, but we eventually succeeded, and more importantly, we developed a mutual understanding between the gaming and medical sides of the team, a thing that would help us in future projects to come.

After experimenting with different visual approaches, we decided to go with simple shapes, surfaces having a slight paper feeling about them, as the game is set on a book and has a bright color palette with stark contrasts to help the users differentiate objects easily. This combined with the right tools, talented designers, and processes that we all adhere to, has enabled us to produce enough unique content and narrative elements for the game within a small team. Our aim was to make a product that would feel unique and be on par with other premium and freemium mobile games in terms of quality. Looking at OdySight, the fun gameplay and unique feeling it has, I think it provides a different take on serious, mHealth or e-Health games.

Now we have launched our first product, OdySight, a puzzle game that will define the direction and quality of where serious, mHealth and e-Health games are going. I cannot wait to see what the future holds here at Tilak as we keep on honing our craft to bring you quality games in the future as well. You play, we care.