New VR game to help researchers understand predator and prey movements

November 7, 2019 by Alistair Berry, University of Lincoln
Credit: University of Lincoln

Researchers have developed a free virtual reality game which allows players to experience the thrill of the hunt as a hungry predator feasting on swarming flies.

The VR game, called FlyCatcher, has been created by scientists from the University of Lincoln, UK, to help enhance understanding of the erratic, evasive movement of fleeing .

The '' game is available to download free for the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift virtual reality platforms.

Participants can play as a hungry frog, chameleon or salamander with the challenge of trying to catch as many moving flies as possible with an extendable VR tongue.

Data from the game will be used to explore whether flies in differently sized groups and using different movement strategies can improve their chance of escape. Studies into the complex swarm behaviour of insects can help to inform understanding of natural biological systems as well as to inform AI and robotics research.

Lead researcher Graham Richardson, who is undertaking a Ph.D. in predator-prey behaviour in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Lincoln, said: "By downloading and playing the game, participants will be helping us gain a deeper understanding of predator-prey dynamics in biology, specifically the processes involved in actual physical encounters between predator and prey."

The is available free to download (from 6th November 2019) via the Steam online store at: store.steampowered.com/app/1123570/FlyCatcher/

Provided by University of Lincoln