In search of belonging

The University of Montpellier and its partners in the MUSE project, together with Montpellier-based start-up Atlantide, have launched a new challenge for students with the Montpellier Université Sherlock Experience (M.U.S.E) application. A geolocated game of inquiry to discover or rediscover the different campuses of the University of Montpellier and its partner, the Institut-Agro, and better grasp the unique identity of one of the oldest universities in France and Europe.

What subjects were taught at the Collège de Mende? Who was Narcissa? Who discovered bromine? But also: where can I play basketball, drink a coffee or borrow a book when I'm studying at the UM? These are just some of the questions you'll be able to answer after playing M.U.S.E. This new puzzle game, offered by the University of Montpellier and its partners in the MUSE project, was designed by Montpellier-based start-up Atlantide. Specializing in geolocation-based puzzles based on history, this start-up is already well known in Montpellier for its Fabre and the city application. The principle here is the same: a simple scenario, supporting an adventure through time and space.

Treasure hunt

A mysterious chest containing a priceless but unknown treasure has just been discovered in the University archives. The University is asking its top students to set off in search of the four keys to the chest, before they fall into the wrong hands. To find them, the heroes - the players - will have to travel to 4 University campuses: Triolet, the key to innovation; Richter, the key to creativity; the pharmacy campus, protection; and downtown, the key to health.

On each campus, the application leads the player, from scrolls to cryptex, to discover the history of the different sites of the University of Montpellier and its partner, the Institut-Agro. Each enigma is an opportunity to observe the environment in a different way, by looking up at a previously unnoticed plaque, bust or inscription. More simply, the M.U.S.E game invites its audience to spot the essential places of student life, such as (S)PACE, university libraries or sports facilities. " One of the aims of the game is to introduce students to the University's various sites, but also to remind them that, as UM students, they have access to all these sites and to all the services on offer," explains Karyn Pravossoudovitch, in charge of student initiative projects at the Muse department and the Campus Life department (DVC), who helped develop the game in conjunction with the Student Life Office (BVE).

Building a sense of belonging

As the player progresses on the geolocated map, the game, which combines augmented reality and archival documents, unlocks new characters, delivering new clues or posing new puzzles. Little by little, as you visit the campuses or wander through the alleys of the city center, the game weaves an identity into the puzzles. The identity of a university 800 years old and today, rich in the heritage of all its components, from the oldest, medicine, to the School of Chemistry, a new component.

" Reinforcing the feeling of belonging to the UM is one of the game's major objectives. Students often feel that they belong more to their component than to the University," notes Karyn Pravossoudovitch, " with this game, we want them to feel that they are students of the University of Montpellier." However, the game is not aimed solely at students, and could well amuse not only UM staff working on the various campuses or in the city center, but also Montpellier residents curious to learn more about a university that is inseparable from the history of the city that saw its birth. "Personally, I've discovered things on the different campuses that I'd never seen before, even though I work there," laughs Karyn Pravossoudovitch. What do you do for lunch?

Montpellier University Sherlock Experience is available free of charge on all download platforms. Allow about an hour for each tour. Don't forget to charge your battery!