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### Imagining a Brighter Tomorrow: Sun Devil’s Winning World-Building Game

An Arizona State University student has secured a scholarship for graduate school by developing an extended-reality game that envisions the landscape of her hometown, Guam.

Victoria Silva, a student majoring in animation at the School of Art, clinched one of the two top prizes in the Worlds for Change competition. Her creation, “Leeward,” is a 3D gardening game centered on themes of conservation and identity from an indigenous standpoint.

The second recipient of the award is an artist residing in the San Francisco Bay area who crafted “Grok,” an extended-reality encounter shedding light on the perspective of individuals with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, aiming to foster understanding of neurodiversity.

Both awardees received a $60,000 scholarship to enroll in one of ASU’s transdisciplinary programs at either the MIX Center in Mesa or the ASU California Center Broadway in downtown Los Angeles.

The Worlds for Change Challenge, launched in September, tasked participants with creating a virtual realm showcasing a positive future. The competition welcomed entries from current undergraduate students, recent graduates, and early-career professionals.

Participants were prompted to illustrate “a moment of everyday life in the future from a world that you would like to see.”

The announcement of the winners took place recently at the SXSW 24 festival in Austin, Texas.

Silva initiated the project with a sketch on a Post-it note.

As a CHamoru, an Indigenous individual from Guam, Silva drew inspiration from her roots in crafting “Leeward.” The game revolves around rejuvenating the island post-effects of climate change, colonialism, and tourism overload, offering a narrative that reflects the struggles of Pacific Islanders reconnecting with their homeland.

Silva’s game incorporates elements like weather phenomena, natural disasters, and real settings such as beaches, jungles, villages, and sacred areas impacted by military presence.

The game, still in its early stages, follows the player, an islander returning for their grandmother’s funeral, engaging in tasks like gardening and cultural restoration efforts.

Silva, who anticipates completing her BFA by December, plans to further develop “Leeward” as her applied project for the extended arts degree program.

Beyond her game development pursuits, Silva is an active artist involved in an independent art studio in Phoenix. She envisions continuing her journey in teaching, particularly focusing on game development, storytelling, and world-building.

The Worlds for Change Challenge garnered support from various sponsors and partners, including the School for the Future of Innovation in Society, the ASU Thunderbird School of Global Management, and other esteemed institutions and organizations in the field.