Mesomorphic & UHI Developing ‘Algorismus’ Maths Game

The University of the Highlands and Islands is collaborating with Mesomorphic, a Shetland-based software company, to develop Algorismus, a game to boosts young people’s maths skills.

Students and staff from Moray College (home of the Moray Game Jam – the UK’s most northerly jam…) will work with Mesomorphic to create Algorismus, which will help students learn maths outside school.

The three-month project has received £7500 backing from the Scottish Funding Council and the university through the innovation voucher scheme.

Super Math Bros

Algorismus will take the form of a role-playing game where the player progresses through a dungeon, fighting monsters and collecting items to help them along the way. Players will solve maths-based puzzles when they encounter monsters, with success depending on the speed and accuracy of the player’s answers.

Real World Work

The collaboration with Mesomorphic will provide opportunities for students on the University of the Highlands and Islands’ BSc (Hons) applied software development, computing, and interactive media degrees to develop their skills on a real-life project.

Mesomorphic will provide work experience placements and run a series of guest lectures and learning lunches, so students can learn more about working in the software development industry.

Local Talent Wanted

It is hoped the project will also generate local employment opportunities in Shetland by commissioning local artists, voiceover actors, film makers and musicians to contribute to the development of the game.

Dr Malcolm Clark, Programme Leader for the university’s computing and interactive media degrees, explained:

We are excited to be working with Mesomorphic on this innovative project. Recent studies have found that Scotland has skills shortages in finance, secondary teaching and software development – areas which are reliant on maths and numeracy skills. There are also concerns that COVID-19 may have affected pupil attainment.

This project aims to address these issues, while giving our students the valuable experience of working on a real-life project. It is an excellent example of the way the university is supporting the recovery of our region following the pandemic as we work with employers, communities and learners to respond to their needs.

Barnaby Mercer, Technical Director and founder of Mesomorphic Ltd, commented:

Algorismus is an exciting opportunity for Mesomorphic to pull together local talent in digital art, music and software development. Shetland is ideally suited to capitalise on the digital market in a post-covid economy and this project is the first of many. Our ambition is to create jobs and opportunities within Shetland that play to the work/life, tech/nature balance afforded by our location.

Shetland-based artist Matthew Laurenson added:

I think Algorismus offers us a chance to make a real difference to people suffering from ‘mathemaphobia’! A mixture of academic research, programming wizardry, artistic creativity and buckets of imagination will, I believe, lead to something truly special. This island is full of creatives, so we won’t be short of talent to leverage.”

Photo by Jack B on Unsplash

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