Overwatch fan creates social distancing model using the game’s Workshop feature

"Use your heads out there, we'll get through this."

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Stay-at-home advisories and social distancing orders have sprung up around the world in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. And now, one Overwatch fan has put these safety measures into perspective using the first-person shooter’s Workshop mode.

The Workshop mode features a number of computer-controlled Anas running around in a contained room. A few of them are surrounded by yellow or red auras. A yellow aura means the Ana bot—or the person the NPC is representing—is in the incubation period, which is where the person in question has the disease and is actively shedding it but not showing symptoms. A red aura means the Ana bot is showing symptoms and is contagious. The bots who catch the disease will eventually “recover” or die after a time, indicated by green or red circles at their feet, respectively.

In the simulation, when one of the Ana bots has noticeable symptoms—or when their aura turns red—they will have a pre-determined chance to distance themselves from the rest of the pack. The simulation is broken down into three different trials: no social distancing, 50-percent social distancing, and 100-percent social distancing.

As the simulation shows, when the Anas did not practice social distancing, every single NPC in the room eventually caught the virus. Comparatively, in the total social distancing model, only four of the 12 Anas wound up catching the disease and eventually recovered without any others getting infected.

While this simulation may not be entirely accurate to how the novel coronavirus behaves, it closely aligns with other models put forth, such as those of the University of Chicago Medical Center and the Ohio Department of Health.

Many cities and countries around the world have implemented “stay at home” orders or other precautions to limit the spread of the disease. These social distancing measures including staying at least six feet away from others and avoiding mass gatherings or large groups of people.

At the time of writing, there are over 1.7 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the world and over 100,000 reported deaths. The United States alone has over 500,000 cases—logging nearly a third of the total cases around the world.