Reintroducing Substrate Games


With the new year comes a time for reflection.

2017 was a busy year for Substrate Games. We launched Meta!Blast, our cell biology adventure game, with our friends at TeacherGaming. Meta!Blast has joined other fantastic titles like Kerbal Space Program EDU on TeacherGaming’s innovative Desk platform. We released PhotonInc, our light physics puzzler, on Finally, we won a highly competitive innovation grant from the National Institutes of Health to tackle challenging chemistry concepts. 

Despite our accomplishments there’s always room for improvement. A startup, after all, is essentially a continuous learning experience! After hearing from our users we decided to take a step back and have a good hard look at where we’ve been and where we’re going. Today we’re announcing a relaunch of Substrate Games, complete with a refreshed visual identity and website.


2018 And Beyond

By definition, a substrate is a substance or layer that underlies something, or on which some process occurs. When we founded Substrate Games we felt strongly about the studio being the foundation for skilled and passionate collaborators to create exceptional experiences. We wanted to continue developing science-based content to help both students and life-long learners. When creating games, there are so many possibilities it often becomes hard to narrow down what it is you want to do. Our process for choosing topic areas lacked a consistent thread. With our current project, we decided to tackle an area that many people consider difficult or intimidating - organic chemistry. Digging deeper into what causes this perceived notion, we sought to understand how we could best apply our expertise and make a positive impact. We’ve come to realize that the underlying mechanics of organic reactions seemed to bear a large portion of the responsibility for the subject’s reputation. This revelation catalyzed the pivot to our new direction.

In an age where attention spans are dwindling and dumbing-down occurs frequently, we believe people don’t allow themselves the opportunity to reach their intellectual potential. Whether due to cognitive barriers or embedded by society, some of life’s greatest mysteries are left unexplored. Human beings, with their amazingly complex brains, are capable of so much and we want to help people tap into that astounding potential. We want to help you engage yourself at a higher level.

Going forward our vision is simple: to make science concepts perceived to be difficult intuitive, engaging, and enjoyable. We’re doing this through our very own substrate; a technology platform that will leverage the mechanics of nature. We’re crafting a design process that embraces these rules and expresses them through experiences that are entertaining to gamers, interesting to curious individuals, and helpful to learners. To be sure, this is a long-term plan. The nuances of our reality are vast and complex, but we think our approach in using interactive media is up to the task. In Q1 2018 we’ll be revealing Mol: Stereochemistry, the first expression of our new direction.


What does this mean for our existing products? Well, to be transparent we’re a small team with a lot on our plate. While we’d love to give them our time and attention, at this time we have no immediate plans for future content and will instead focus on providing support for critical bugs. But rest assured, they still contain a lot of value for gamers and students alike.

Developing these experiences is a huge task, and one we can’t tackle alone. After looking back at 2017 we realized we didn’t do a great job at communicating with you, our community. So going forward we’ll be devoting more time to sharing with you all what we’re working on, our process, and in general trying to engage with you to learn about what you want to see. Our plan is to maintain a regular blog post every week. Also on our agenda is being more active on our social media channels and setting up a forum. Keep an eye open for these updates! Until then, you can subscribe to our newsletter using the sign up below or follow us on social media.

And with that, it's back to work. Have a great 2018!

-Will, Co-founder + Studio Director