2014 Australian Mobile & App Awards

mobile, web, IoT, desktop, connected devices
design champion, best studio, best start-up & IoT
plus 20 specialist nomination categories

demand design, celebrate courage







Project Overview

Half-Life Hero is a fun, engaging mobile and web game that educates kids about the process of creating nuclear medicines and industrial isotopes, and how they benefit society.

Players are put in charge of ANSTO's radio-isotope production process, and must create materials like Iodine and Molybdenum to send to hospitals and medical research centres across the country. However, it’s a race against time to prepare the isotopes as they decay according to their half-lives!

Developed by 2and2 for ANSTO, Half-Life Hero is perfect for both classroom and family use.

Project Commissioner

Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO)

Project Creator



Leon Young - Managing Director
Peter Giles – Senior Producer
James Sutton - Art Director
Marianne Elliott - Graphic Designer
Monica Wood - Graphic Designer
Phil Douglas- Technical Director
Marcus Lam - Senior Developer
Cameron Baker - Game Developer & Game Designer
Nik Bambrik - Writer
Glen Jeffreys - Writer

Project Brief

With its retro artwork style and energetic gameplay, Half-Life Hero brings the process of creating nuclear medicines and industrial isotopes to life. This game gives players an understanding of how radio-isotopes are created, what they are used for, and what goes on behind the scenes at ANSTO.

In Half-Life Hero, orders are received from hospitals and medical research laboratories over a week. Players have to use ANSTO’s nuclear reactor to fill these orders by submerging raw materials into the nuclear reactor pool to expose them to neutrons.

Once the materials are removed from the pool, they start decaying at a speed related to their half-lives. Under the pressure of time, these materials must be processed through the next two stages before they are shipped throughout Australia and overseas.

Designed and developed for iOS phones and tablets, Half-Life Hero is an engaging and accessible education tool that can support science lessons in the classroom or be played at home. The time-based element of gameplay provides a challenging yet rewarding mechanic for players of all skill levels, while the game’s quirky design appeals to kids and adults alike.

Project Need

Nuclear is typically misconceived as a ‘scary’ word, but nuclear medicines are far from scary! Half-Life Hero’s innovation lies in its ability to gives students an understanding of how nuclear medicines and industrial isotopes are created at ANSTO, and how they benefit society – all while making the learning process enjoyable and engaging.

From the get-go, Half-Life Hero’s quirky illustrations make nuclear medicines and industrial isotopes accessible to students, and appeal to players instantly. The game’s art dispels the ‘scary’ ideas surrounding nuclear medicines and radio-isotopes, and replaces it with a friendly and fun educational experience.

Meanwhile, the time-based gameplay communicates the idea of a material’s half-life effectively through the use of game mechanics. Players must process the materials before they decay in order to succeed in the game, and in doing so they gain a greater understanding of what isotopes are and how they are made. When they finish creating the isotopes and ship the orders off, players are sent messages from the hospitals or engineers who ordered the materials, detailing how these will be used to benefit others.

Half-Life Hero leave players are left with an understanding of what nuclear medicines and industrial isotopes are and how ANSTO’s production process works, as well as how ANSTO’s work benefits the wider community. With fun art and engaging gameplay, Half-Life Hero makes nuclear science and technology accessible to everyone.

User Experience

Half-Life Hero was created to be played in Australian schools, as well as by the wider community. It was important to make the user experience fun and accessible, while also educating players on what ANSTO does and how nuclear science benefits our wider society.

The game puts players in ANSTO’s production laboratory, and operates on six weekly cycles. Doctors, hospital staff, and engineers place orders for isotopes like Molybdenum or Lutetium throughout the week and players have to complete a series of tasks to fulfil the order.

Players begin by submerging raw materials into ANSTO’s nuclear reactor pool to expose them to neutrons. The material then starts to decay at a rate corresponding to its half-life, and players need to process it quickly by covering the isotope with drops to treat it and turn it into nuclear medicine.

Finally, the orders are shipped and players receive a message that tells them what the order will be used for.

This cycle was crucial as it shows students how the ANSTO facility works. By involving players in the process of creating materials, students learn how nuclear medicine is made through a hands-on experience.

The time-based mechanic allows the game to increase in difficulty while also providing an educational experience into isotopes’ half-lives. When players receive a message telling them how the materials will be used, it reinforces the message that ANSTO’s materials benefit the wider community.

Project Marketing

Half-Life Hero was created for use in Australian schools, and by the wider community.

As the launch was only recent, ANSTO’s current marketing strategy will focus on promoting Half-Life Hero for use by science teachers in Australia. As an app that is available on iOS and on web, the game’s accessibility ensures it can be used throughout schools regardless of how they wish to access it.

The game will also be accessible on ANSTO’s website as a web app to reach its extended network of partners, and promoted across ANSTO’s social media networks.

Project Privacy

There is no personal or identifying information collected by this app.


This category relates to applications associated with family activities and entertainment, childhood development and education.
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