What Plague Inc. Teaches Us About Ebola and Pandemics

What Plague Inc. Teaches Us About Ebola and Pandemics

We talk to the developer of Plague Inc. about his thoughts on Ebola and try to recreate the outbreak in the game.

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I've played the crap out of this game. It's an awesome game.

Kajin:
I've played the crap out of this game. It's an awesome game.

totally agree with you there from creating a planet of the apes to unleashing a zombie plague to nanobots, its got it all

i wouldnt mind a game with proper infrastructure and transport modeling as well as closer to real life simulation of disease spread, etc

I admit to not reading the full article, but having just scanned the first page, I'd like to mention that Ebola does have a carrier state.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10881895

What always bugged me about plague inc is the model for viral evolution. Viruses don't work that way. Sure, allowances have to be made for the sake of gameplay, and I'll admit it's a fun game, but when a virus mutates, it only mutates in that particular individual. The changes any mutation causes wouldn't occur globally, all at once, as it does in Plague Inc.

Not only does the mutated strain need to have an evolutionary benefit over the already present virus in order to propagate within the host, the new -more dangerous- strain then has to proceed to infect everyone all over again.

I wonder if that can be put into the game somehow.

The only thing Plague Inc taught me is that you have to grind for five hours in order to unlock the fungus.

Seriously, I've had more fun with a spreadsheet full of random number functions that I had with Plague Inc.

I love this game :) Geesh bought it .. 2 months ago and its AWESOME :)

Of course I was smart and my virus killed everybody first game. Wooo! I am the master, destroyer of humanity, at about 1500 people left or so it was so nice to read that all research was halted and nobody stood a chance. Oh yes my cute little virus was going to find you those who where camping out in the wilds. And it did...

So yes lovely game.

[quote="PH3NOmenon" post="6.859143.21320848"]
What always bugged me about plague inc is the model for viral evolution. Viruses don't work that way. /quote]

This bothered me as well. Spreading and mutating like a real virus would be a great opportunity for deeper game play. We would have to choose the next stage of our outbreak carefully, with consideration to how humanity has reacted to the current strain. Does it erupt with stronger symptoms in an area where the other strain is running wild or does it develop a resistance in a nation that is slowly pushing it back?

They are making a PC version of this game through Steam's Early Access. Been there for almost a year now I think.

In Plague Inc, infecting Greenland and Madagascar is a challenge in of itself. So much of it comes down to random luck with those two countries. Your only option can be, at times, is to start off in those countries. But they have such low populations, it takes considerable time to make any traction.

008Zulu:
They are making a PC version of this game through Steam's Early Access. Been there for almost a year now I think.

In Plague Inc, infecting Greenland and Madagascar is a challenge in of itself. So much of it comes down to random luck with those two countries. Your only option can be, at times, is to start off in those countries. But they have such low populations, it takes considerable time to make any traction.

I actually never have a problem with them, myself. All you gotta do is fly under the radar long enough and eventually they'll get infected.

My biggest problem is almost always the cure itself. I like those little end game race to the finish line battles with my pathogen killing enough humans to destroy the governments and stall the cure before it goes live and saves the world from me. Thrilling stuff.

Kajin:
I actually never have a problem with them, myself. All you gotta do is fly under the radar long enough and eventually they'll get infected.

My biggest problem is almost always the cure itself. I like those little end game race to the finish line battles with my pathogen killing enough humans to destroy the governments and stall the cure before it goes live and saves the world from me. Thrilling stuff.

I have tried the "Long Game" technique of infecting every country before boosting the pathogens ability to kill. Problem I kept having was the research always outpaced the kill rate. Seriously, it goes from 0 to 100 in less than 5 minutes. My usual tactic is to get it in every zone, then I boost infectivity, I don't activate lethal genes until with world is at least 35-50% infected. You get more DNA points this way.

008Zulu:

Kajin:
I actually never have a problem with them, myself. All you gotta do is fly under the radar long enough and eventually they'll get infected.

My biggest problem is almost always the cure itself. I like those little end game race to the finish line battles with my pathogen killing enough humans to destroy the governments and stall the cure before it goes live and saves the world from me. Thrilling stuff.

I have tried the "Long Game" technique of infecting every country before boosting the pathogens ability to kill. Problem I kept having was the research always outpaced the kill rate. Seriously, it goes from 0 to 100 in less than 5 minutes. My usual tactic is to get it in every zone, then I boost infectivity, I don't activate lethal genes until with world is at least 35-50% infected. You get more DNA points this way.

I always wait until a foothold is established firmly. Minimum a hundred infected in all countries. Usually go for the complete zoonosis trait that boosts random mutation through the roof for my infection plan so I can get a little bit of random luck now and again. After that I go straight for Necrosis to make sure infection spreads more thoroughly with each death then work my way to Coma on the other side as I race to keep ahead of the cure.

 

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