Terra Thrift

A collaborative transformational game experience

Project Overview

Terra Thrift is an interactive and transformative experience that was featured at the Games for Change Festival 2022. This collaborative game aims to educate players about fabric sustainability. Through this engaging game, players can learn about the importance of sustainable fashion and how to make more informed purchasing decisions.


Games for Change
Festival 2022


Fall 2022
(16 weeks)


Transformational game
User experience

Tool Used

Adobe Illustrator

What are the client constraints?
1. Environmentalism topic
This year, the theme of the Games for Change festival is environmentalism. Our clients wanted us to produce an experience that raises people’s environmental protection awareness.
2. Promote a sense of community
Our clients want the game to be socially engaging and transformative, encouraging people to have fun together and communicate effectively within the Games for Change community.
3. Playable in a conference setting
The game is featured at the Games for Change Festival and is played in a conference setting. Each game session lasts for 90 minutes and is only available for one day during the festival.
4. Target audience
The game is designed for festival attendees between the ages of 18 and 60 who are interested in learning new information and gaining knowledge about environmentalism.
Research process

💬 To determine which environmental topic to explore, we conducted research on various subjects and created a domain map based on our findings:

Domain map of environmentalism

💬 Our topic came to focus on the fabric&clothing because:

1. Fashion industry generates 25 billion pounds of textiles in the US annually; 85% ends up in landfills taking 200+ years to decompose
2. Lack of knowledge among people about fabric and their environmental impact
3. NYC, a major fashion hub with a large population of fashion-conscious individuals, is a suitable location to raise awareness

💬 We continued narrowing down our topic within the fabric industry, here is what we researched:

Domain Map of Fabric&Clothing
Recycle Hierarchy of Fabric&Clothing

💬 Here is what we analyzed about clothes recycling:

Clothes Recycling Circle
Meet with SMEs
Our goal was to gain insights into their perspective on the environmental concepts we had uncovered in our research and gather suggestions on effective approaches to designing game mechanics and conveying our educational goals.

Key takeaways:

1️⃣ Recycling clothes is as expensive as manufacturing new ones
2️⃣ Brands often manufacture clothes based on fast-changing trends, resulting in excess waste.
3️⃣ Consumer behavior heavily influences fashion trends.
4️⃣ Social and environmental concerns differ in the textile and fashion industry.
5️⃣ Understanding the life cycle of producing a cotton t-shirt, from raw materials to finished products, is crucial to assess its impact on the environment.
Takeaways from SMEs

Analyze the takeaways:

SME Interviews revealed that mass production is a significant source of pollution, driven by consumer behavior and trends. To change fabric practices in the industry, we must change consumer attitudes.

💬 From this, we created a Shopping Journey Map to identify potential consumer behaviors during a clothes shopping experience and determine what changes we could make:

Shopping Journey Mapping

💬 From the journey map, we understood some of the good eco-friendly practices.  We came down to the high-level purpose of our game:

Create more eco-friendly shoppers
What we want to know from prototyping?
1️⃣ What are the effective teaching methods?
2️⃣ What are the hidden barriers that preventing them to be eco-friendly shoppers
How we prototype?
We tested two types of shopping experiences that can help us find the base of our game mechanics.

Prototype one : Purchasing clothes at an online store

Goal: The participants understand the level of eco-friendliness of each material presented on the screen.

1️⃣ Participants are presented with a screen of clothes: a top, a bottom, and socks.
2️⃣ They are asked to submit a complete outfit based on the material of each piece of clothing. Upon clicking each item, the screen shows the properties of the clothing.

1️⃣ Participants notice differences between ‘conventional cotton’ and ‘organic cotton’.
2️⃣ Participants become more attentive looking at clothing information when these details are presented in a “game setting”.
3️⃣ Price and style are very important factors.

Choose Clothes
Review Clothing Details

Prototype two : Categorizing the brands by eco-friendliness using a Material Guidebook

Goal: Observe the changes between the participants’ beliefs about fashion and clothing

1️⃣ Participants see the Forever 21 website and express any opinions they have about the site.
2️⃣ Participants are presented with a list of stores that imitate the brand missions of real stores.
3️⃣ The participants are to categorize the stores as either eco-friendly or non eco-friendly using the store descriptions and a fabric guidebook.
4️⃣ After the activity, participants revisit the Forever 21 website and provide any comments after the categorization.

1️⃣ The mechanic of teaching fabric knowledge(using fabric guidebook and judge about the eco-friendliness of the brand) works.
2️⃣ The idea of greenwashing (relationship between their fabric knowledge to the brand mission) doesn’t come across as obvious.
3️⃣ The whole process takes too long.

Paper Prototypes
How to create more eco-friendly shopper?

💬 We created a System Journey Map to identify the key steps for becoming an eco-friendly shopper:

Domain map of environmentalism
How might we know the recycled rate by just seeing the appearance and reading labels?

💬 We continued to brainstorm how the experience could be designed based on the "How might we" statement:

White boarding

💬 We ultimately decided on creating a game that simulates training for thrift store employees:

Paper Prototyping & Playtesting

💬 The game consists of two phases: a tutorial phase where employees receive training, followed by a game phase where they select the appropriate clothing items based on customer requests

Tutorial Phase Flow
Game Phase Flow
Low-fi Wireframe
Usability Testing
We made a game demo with unity and conducted six usability testing with our demo. This helps us understand how our game can transform people and improve user experience by creating interest curve journey map.
Gameplay User Journey Map
Based on usability testing, we made four main changes:
Game Iterations
Physical Material guidebook

💬 We created the material guidebooks to allow guests to learn about the fabric materials through hands-on experience during the game:

The Material Guidebook

💬 Watch the trailer to learn about the final gameplay:

Games for Change festival experience

💬 The game was showcased at the 2022 Games for Change festival, and generated buzz among the attendees:

Games for Change Festival 2022