Play, experiment, learn, survive! Life on the Edge is a tower defence game to strengthen knowledge of cellular biology. While maintaining homeostasis, place structures in the membrane to defend your cell against fierce bacteria and even the Covid-19 virus.

Learn cellular biology while defending your cell against enemies

Fortify your membrane

Place functional proteins or towers in your membrane to keep your cell alive. As you work your way up through the levels, new towers will be unlocked to better protect your cell as it struggles to survive.

Maintain homeostasis

ATP is currency used to purchase and upgrade towers in Life on the Edge (LOTE). The amount of ATP you generate is based on your water and nutrient intake. If you are able to keep these levels balanced, your ATP production will increase! Levels that are too high or too low will cause your cell to be stressed losing ATP.

Defend against bacteria

Bacteria and viruses attack your cell in waves throughout the game. Manage your towers—proteins in the cell membrane—and phospholipid bilayer to eliminate these waves of enemies. Each level will introduce new and stronger bacteria than the last. Eventually you encounter coronavirus!

Enhance your learning experience by bringing LOTE into the classroom


This game can help students achieve the learning objectives for a first year cellular biology course or introductory biology course such as:

  • Describe how the structure of cell components relates to their function
  • Recognize how the flow of energy underlies all cellular processes
  • Recognize how homeostasis is critical to life
  • Define and apply standard biological terms
  • Recognize how cellular functions are critical to life

Learn cell membrane complexity and interconnectedness

Homeostasis is critical to life and taught in many introductory biology classes. Cells must maintain homeostasis and LOTE challenges players to help their cell survive. How cells use various membrane proteins and systems together to maintain balance becomes clear when playing the game.

Play and experiment

The game introduces cellular biology in a fun to play tower defence style game where learning in a byproduct of the campaign. Visually pleasing design and animations help to enhance this learning experience.

Reinforce biological terminology, vocabulary and concepts

Life on the Edge uses biological vocabulary to help link the game to actual cellular mechanics. This enhances learning complex cellular mechanics learning and contributes to the game as a valuable study tool for students in introductory biology courses.

Game Items

Experiment & Demonstrate with Sandbox Mode

Unlimited aTP

Gives you the flexibility to build as many towers as you want and demonstrate the functions of each game item. ......................................

Spawn Enemies

Spawn as many enemies as you want to demonstrate how cell defense works and clear the game board if things get out of hand.


Make your cell invincible to demonstrate how enemies attack and interact with the cell without worrying about dying. ............................................


Speed up to see results of your experimentation faster. Pause the game to take time explaining a concept more deeply. ...........................................

Environment Controls

Take control over the environment to experiment with how different water and nutrient levels effect your cell. ..................................

Developed by faculty members and students of MacEwan University

A team effort

A multi-year collaboration between faculty members and students of MacEwan University helped to make Life on the Edge a reality. Professors and students from computer sciences, music and design studies have contributed hundreds of hours to ensure the game is a perfect balance of educational tool and fun tower defence game for in-class learning. As a type of educational game we designed a game that teaches yet is fun to play!


Project Leads & Game Design
Ross Shaw, Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences
Isabelle Sperano, Associate Professor, Design
Robert Andruchow, Associate Professor, Design

User Interface Design
‍Chanelle Paradis, Student, Design
Stephanie Lumayno, Student, Design
Cam Zimmel, Student, Design
Erika Amper, Student, Design
Lisa Cox, Student, Design
Vik Chu, Student, Design

Game Programming
Cory Efird, Student, Computer Sciences
Samuel Whiteley, Student, Comptuer Sciences
Max Schafer, Student, Computer Sciences

Prototype Programming
David Cao, Student, Computer Sciences
Kevin Ho, Student, Computer Sciences

Illustration & Animation
Kia Valdez Bettcher, Student, Design
Cam Zimmel, Student, Design
Erika Amper, Student, Design

User Testing
Kelly Veillette, Student, Design
Isabela Lopez, Student, Design
Cam Zimmel, Student, Design
Cory Efrid, Student, Computer Sciences
Haylee Hatton, Student, Biological Sciences
Nemi Rai, Student, Biological Sciences
Lisa Cox, Student, Design
Vik Chu, Student, Design

Game Design Consultation
Matthew Satchwill, Sessional Instructor, Design
John Montague, Sessional Instructor, Design
Bertrand Marne, Assistant Professor, Information Science and Communication

Concept Development & Game Mechanics
Life on the Edge Team


Music Supervisors
John MacMillan, Sessional Instructor, Music
Emilie Lebel, Assistant Professor, Music

Audio Director
William Deng, Student, Music

Kate Ashton, Student, Music
Fabio Henao, Student, Music
Shea Iles, Student, Music
Matthew O’Connor, Student, Music

Sound Effects
Colin Deneka, Student, Music


Ji Yae Bong, Assistant Professor, Educational Technology
Project Leads & Game Design Team
Liam Byrne, Educational Technologist
Muhammad Shahrom Ali, Computer Scientist


Technical Advisors
Dana Cobzas, Associate Professor, Computer Sciences
Brian Brookwell, Assistant Professor, Computer Sciences

MacEwan Arts and Science Project Grant
MacEwan FFAC Grant
Research Services Strategic Grant
Undergraduate Student Research Initiative
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Canada)