The world of Eve Online can be dangerous at times. Massive wars can break out between alliances, or a miner’s hard earned work can be easily extinguished by the attack of a lone pirate. But with CCP Games’ latest update, players will be able to work together and contribute to a real-world science experiment through a mini game called Project Discovery.
Your job is to analyze images of cells to find various protein patterns. Then, you must put each pattern into a category that corresponds to a structure of the cell, such as the nucleus or cytoplasm. With each submission, you and other players are expanding and improving the database of the Swedish-based Human Protein Atlas. With more samples in the growing catalog, scientists can use the information to contribute to a major medical milestone or use it as additional data for an experiment.
Before you start looking at new samples, you will be tested on a series of samples to ensure your accuracy at identifying patterns. The higher your accuracy, the better the rewards (which come in the form of experience points and in-game currency). If your accuracy gets too low, you might not be able to participate in the experiment.
The developers even immersed Project Discovery into the game’s storyline. The mini game is part of a research project from the Sisters of EVE faction, and you must analyze the cell images help the Sisters learn more about the mysterious Drifters.
The large player base of Eve Online is an appropriate selection for this type of “citizen science.” If more players are involved in the effort, more cell images are analyzed, and the Human Protein Atlas could receive a massive surge of new data. Conversely, players are rewarded for their time and effort. It’s a quid pro quo situation, and everyone involved stands to gain more money to build powerful ships while helping the scientific community.