Our Games

Our games get world-class research out to the public.

Legend of the Lost Emerald
Lost at the Forever Mine
Jo Wilder and the Capitol Case
The Yard Games
Atom touch

Mixed Reality

Our games get world-class research out to the public.

The Station:Maine
Ice Cube

We're Field Day

We make learning games

We design games that bring contemporary research to the public, and we use the game data to understand how people learn.

Learn More
artwork with many different faces
David Gagnon

Modus Operandi

UW-Madison is ground zero for the field of games and learning. We've been here studying and designing games for over a decade.

Wondering how Field Day works?

  • Not a private company. We're a research lab at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research.
  • Committed to free. Our games are available for everyone.
  • Publically funded. We're funded through grants and Broader Impacts projects.
  • Subject agnostic. We design games for any subject.

Why Games?

Because they work

Researchers need to share their work with the public, but it’s hard to communicate super complex topics in a short time frame.

Games turn complicated topics into fun, hands-on experiences that actually reach people. Our games get millions of plays, with an average playtime of 20 minutes.

Meet us
Eric Lang and Jim Matthews

Our Team

We believe the future of publically funded research depends on public support. We use our combined creative and intellectual powers to get people excited about the latest research.

Field Day Internship Program

We offer student internships in Game Engineering, Art and Design, and Research. Join our multidisciplinary team and work on learning games that reach classrooms across the country and beyond. Engineering and Art and Design interns will leave with portfolio pieces. Research interns will contribute to academic publications. We’re always taking applications! Contact us if you’re interested. Art and Design applicants must include a portfolio.

Collaborating Artists and Contractors

David Gagnon

Director & Founder

David is a researcher at WCER. He's also a programmer, game designer, and passionate advocate for using games to understand and transform how kids learn. David is the co-founder of the PLAY MAKE LEARN conference and the Games and Learning Summit. He serves as a PI on several research projects that explore the following topics in video games: educational data mining, co-design, mixed reality (VR, AR), and location-based games.

David created ARIS, an open-source game design platform that has supported the development of thousands of location-based AR projects and hundreds of educational papers. David’s work supports other research, from the Open Game Data project, which shares our game data with educational researchers, to Field Day’s teacher fellowship program, which serves as a site to study teachers' professional growth.

David has been the producer or lead designer for over a dozen award-winning games in topics ranging from engineering, science, and mathematics to history and music. He has been an invited guest or keynote speaker for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the MacArthur Foundation, the Pearson Foundation, Serious Play, and several smaller workshops and conferences.

David casts a vision that gets other people excited about joining in the work. He understands the realities of how educational issues affect kids, which allows him to stick unwaveringly to his values. David brings energy and enthusiasm to every project, from research to game design.

Sarah Gagnon

Creative Director

Sarah is an artist, UX designer, messaging expert, and a fierce advocate for the kids who play our games. From the beginning, she has pushed us to create games that are more than just research instruments. Sarah knows that kids won’t learn anything if they don't care. She makes sure we're designing games that are fun, beautiful, and compelling. 

Sarah understands the importance of art in bringing our games to the public. She created our in-house art and communications team, and she ensures that all of our games have an online presence. She also leads game design projects and pitches concepts for new games. Her growing interest in Media Studies and theory influenced by the psychoanalytic tradition is the foundation of her focus on learning games and their role in society. 

As an artist, Sarah laughed when her daughter said she was “raised by scientists.” In reality, Sarah’s intuition as a non-scientist gives her crucial insight into what we make. She knows how to ask the right questions and empathize with the people who will end up playing our games.  

Jim Mathews

Education Director and Associate Researcher 

Jim is a teacher, researcher, and designer. His work explores the intersection of place, design, and civic engagement. In particular, he’s interested in creating and researching new media-based experiences (e.g., geo-locative games, place-based stories, and field research tools) aimed at connecting youth and adults with people, places, and issues in their community. 

As Education Director at Field Day, Jim leads our teacher fellowship program. The fellowships are crucial to the successful implementation of our games into schools across the country. As a teacher himself, Jim understands the importance of co-design. He cares about making games that actually work in the classroom, and he’s always looking for the best ways to bring teachers into the design process.

In addition to his work at Field Day, Jim teaches at Clark Street Community School.  

Eric Lang

Art Director and Lead Designer

Eric Lang is a designer with a unique combination of skills ranging from the artistic to the technical. He carries a heavy load as Lead Designer for UI and graphic design across all of our games, mixed reality projects, web content, print material, and front end development. 

As Art Director, Eric works with a wide selection of artists and channels their work into a cohesive finished project. He also functions as Lead Artist on several projects, including the Field Day brand and Lakeland. Eric has a knack for story development, world building, and general strategy and vision-casting. 

Eric cares about making games that are fun, compelling, and amazingly weird. His favorite era is the 1980’s, his favorite futuristic digital landscape painter is Simon Stålenhag, and his favorite bread is sourdough.

Autumn Beauchesne

Game Developer and Programmer 

Autumn is a game developer and programmer extraordinaire. She brings expertise in both educational game design and the creation of powerful, easy-to-use development tools. Autumn has been designing games ever since the mid 2000s, when she first began to express her ideas with GameMaker. She’s drawn to how games can be used to explore systems from mechanical and thematic angles. 

One of Autumn’s superpowers is her ability to bring other members of the Field Day team—including non-programmers—into the development process. She believes that the best games happen through collaboration, which means everyone on the team needs to be able to contribute without being held back by technical constraints. Autumn cares about developing tools that remove bottlenecks and allow the whole team to create and iterate together. 

Autumn was the sole developer and creative force behind Diffission (Filament Games), a fractions game that empowers kids to focus on self-improvement instead of perfection. She was also the sole developer for BeauRoutine, a tool used in nearly all of Filament’s Unity-based games, and the lead engineer for Do I Have a Right? (Filament Games), a civics game about constitutional law. Autumn has expertise in several design systems, but she works most often in Unity and Typescript. 

Jennifer Scianna

Research Intern and Director’s Minion 

Jenn is fascinated by how we can understand student thinking through game data. She began working with Field Day as a researcher analyzing data and conducting play-tests for Lakeland. She was a designer for Legend of the Lost Emerald, and the producer for Wake: Tales from the Aqualab, a four-year project focused on teaching science practices. 

When it comes to advocating for kids, Jenn is unstoppable. As a former teacher, she brings a deep knowledge about how classrooms work and what teachers need. She works with our Teacher Fellows to design pedagogical tools, like a new teacher dashboard for Lakeland (soon to be applied across all our games). Jenn leads user-testing with kids for many of our games. 

In her role as Director’s Minion (or Assistant to the Director on paper), Jenn is constantly impressing everyone with her ability to keep all the administrative gears turning. Jenn’s superpowers include, but are not limited to: data analytics, ed tech, communicating with teachers, and keeping track of literally everything. 

Luke Swanson

Graduate Research Intern

As a researcher and software engineer, Luke is drawn to the unique possibilities of games for learning. He understands that some kids aren’t best served by the traditional education system, and he’s interested in how games can help change that. Luke’s programming and data analysis work has allowed us to gain valuable insights into how our games are being used.

Field Day projects:

  • Real-time game data dashboard for Lakeland
  • Open Game Data website
  • Data analysis and player clustering for Lakeland
  • Thermodynamics VR Interactive
  • Data analysis for Jo Wilder.

In his spare time, Luke is an amateur photographer and videographer. You can see some of his photography on the Computer Science department’s website.

Reyna Groff

Art and Design Intern

Reyna is an artist with a flair for storytelling, character, and design. When she’s not making beautiful art here in Madison, you might find Reyna traveling the world and putting her three languages to good use. Kids (and adults) fall in love with Reyna’s whimsical, creative characters. She enjoys tactile hobbies like baking, printmaking, and papermaking, and is a firm believer in helping others develop new passions through playful learning and collaboration.

Field Day projects:

  • Painted art for several of the Yard Games
  • Lead artist on Jo Wilder and the Capitol Case
  • Painted art for Lost at the Forever Mine
  • Comic art for our VR game Station: Maine
  • 2D art for Legend of the Lost Emerald
  • 2D art for Wake: Tales from the Aqualab
  • Concept art for Headlines and High Water
  • Poster art for Jo Wilder, Lost at the Forever Mine, Lakeland, Legend of the Lost Emerald, Station: Maine, Waddle, Wake, and Headlines and High Water

You can find Reyna on Instagram @rey.groff , and check out her website here.

Rodney Lambright II

Artist and Animator

Rodney is a talented game designer, animator, and artist. Officially, he does technical art and animation for our games. He also asks insightful questions, knows a ton about games, and brings awesome energy to the room. Rodney made concept art and animation for Jo Wilder and the Capitol Case, and he contributed animation, technical art, and 8-bit final game art for Lost at the Forever Mine. He’s currently working on Aqualab. Rodney is a full-time animator at PBS Wisconsin, a local partner that we love working with. You can find more of his work on Instagram @rodgod38

Forest San Filippo

3D Artist

Forest is a 3D artist with a background in graphic design and business. As a freelancer, he loves moving between different projects and exploring new ideas and styles. He has worked with Eric and Sarah (Art Director and Creative Director) to take their vision for a game and translate it into amazing characters and background art. Forest is also a business owner and musician. He and his brother designed several games together as the small game studio Flippfly—including “Race the Sun,” for which Forest also created the soundtrack. You can find more of Forest’s work on Instagram @ForestSanFilippo

Field Day projects:

  • 3D art and animation for Station: Maine
  • 3D art and animation for Legend of the Lost Emerald
  • 3D art for Wake: Tales from the Aqualab


Software Developer

Terra is an amazing developer drawn to the challenge of learning games. She taught herself programming in high school and studied game development in college, before moving into a prolific career in educational games. Terra loves finding the balance of creating games that are simple and fun to play, so that kids will actually enjoy playing them, while communicating complex scientific ideas through the game mechanic. In her time as a game engineer at Filament Games, she created games for clients including Scholastic, Square Panda, and iCivics.

Field Day projects:

  • Lead Developer for The Legend of the Lost Emerald

Terra makes her own games at her independent game studio, Potato Interactive. Her most recent project is Crime Reaper, a murder mystery game! She’s also working on a Tarot game anthology, which will include 22 games. Terra does all of the writing, visual design, and sound design for her games, as well as the development. Check out her work here!

Cyril Peck

In-game music and sound effects

Every creative team needs someone with the ability to “yes, and…” a story or design problem, and Cy is just about the best there is. He’s also one of the most creative people you’ll ever meet. When it comes to creating music for games, Cy starts by immersing himself in the subject matter--like watching ocean documentaries when he was composing music for Wake: Tales from the Aqualab--and trusting the music to come. It can be challenging to find the right tone for a scene, story, or moment, and Cy’s music helps us find it.

Field Day projects:

  • Music and sound effects for Jo Wilder
  • Music and sound effects for Lost at the Forever Mine
  • Music and sound effects for Wake: Tales from the Aqualab
  • Music and sound effects for Headlines and High Water

Cy began as a visual artist, creating commissioned album cover artwork and T-shirt designs, before realizing that music had always been a constant in his life. He learned to play the drums through playing Rock Band--the perfect merging of his love for music and video games. When it comes to the creative process, Cy is passionate about improvisation and pushes himself to keep things fresh and different. He shares visual art and poetry on Instagram at dreamingspiders

Emily Meredith Lewis

Artist and animator

Emily is a concept artist, animator, and game artist who uses art to educate people about unique species and conservation. In addition to being a talented artist, Emily is an amazing researcher with a love of learning. Her detailed concept art, research, and color studies bring depth and richness to our games. Emily is studying natural science illustration and animation at the Rhode Island School of Design.

Field Day projects:

  • Lead artist for BrainPop projects
  • Concept art and color studies for Wake: Tales from the Aqualab
  • Concept art and color studies for The Legend of the Lost Emerald
  • Concept art, color studies, and movement studies for Waddle: A Penguin's Tale
  • Prototype art and animation for Headlines and High Water

Emily’s passion for natural science illustration began when she drew an endangered species of antelope to share with her art group. The species was so unfamiliar that her group thought she’d made a creature up! That was the spark for Emily’s popular Instagram series, Real and Endangered, in which she shared 125 days of endangered species art with fun facts and conservation status for each animal. Emily believes that education is a powerful, underutilized aspect of conservation. She uses art as a tool to help people connect with nature, because, in her words, when you learn about something, you start to care about it.
Check out Emily’s art Instagram here.

Bobby Lockhart

Game Designer

As a game designer at Field Day, Bobby brings a rich depth of experience in educational game design and development. When he was a kid, Bobby noticed his classmates’ halfhearted response to a programming environment that he loved working in. As a designer, he’s drawn to the challenge of figuring out why those kids weren’t interested, and how he can design with them in mind. Bobby uses his expertise to create games not just for the kids (and adults) who are already excited about learning, but for the ones who start out reluctant or uninterested. In addition to front-end design, he has worked closely with the writing and art teams at Field Day, developing story concepts and working with artists to create game art that is beautiful and cohesive.

Bobby was a lead game designer at a casual games studio before starting his own studio, Important Little Games. He was the lead designer and programmer for Codemancer, a fantasy game that teaches programming for kids ages 6 through 12. Bobby wears a lot of hats and looks good in all of them. His background includes game design and programming—and also screenwriting, creative direction, and toy design, plus an educational background in film, TV production, math, and computer science. He can always be counted on for a good pun.

Levi Huillet

Game Engineering Intern

Levi is a student game engineer who cares about using games to make a lasting impact on people’s lives. At Field Day, Levi has worked extensively on game mechanic development for Shipwrecks, as well as supporting and contributing to the writing team. Levi is a computer science major with a game design certificate. He has always been drawn to doing work that benefits people, and he considered psychiatry and writing before discovering game design and its rich potential for learning.

Field Day projects:

  • Game development for Shipwrecks, including the evidence board mechanic and the sonar mechanic
  • Training and collaboration with the writing team
  • Implementing audio into the Shipwrecks game
  • Proototypes for our in-progress game
  • Content for Wake: Tales from the Aqualab
  • Content, analytics, and game UI for Headlines and High Water

Levi grew up traveling the world—he has lived in Washington, Hawaii, Qatar, and Germany before moving to the Midwest to study at UW-Madison. In addition to computer science and game design, he is currently studying Finnish—both because he loves the language, and because he’s interested in the technology and game design opportunities in Finland. He has worked on his own game design projects outside of Field Day and joined in game jams with other Field Day interns.

Check out Levi's work here!

Amelia Moser

Game Engineering Intern

Amelia is a student game engineer with a knack for story and design. As a biochemistry major working toward certificates in game design and folklore, she brings a unique background and lots of creative insight to our team. Amelia loves working across disciplines. She has impressed everyone with her ability to take on different roles, from game development to prototype design and writing. As a new intern, she took the lead on developing a Twine prototype for Headlines and High Water, plus supporting our writing team in using Twine and adding her own witty, playful story ideas to the mix.

Field Day projects:

  • Development and implementation of the BrainPop project
  • Development of the prototype for Headlines and High Water, in collaboration with the writing team

Amelia has been designing games since she was a kid, creating handmade board games and coming up with elaborate recess activities for her classmates. She has a long list of hobbies and hidden talents—ink and pencil drawing, writing, 3D printing, bicycling and hiking, her own game design projects, and even being a Dungeons and Dragons dungeon master, which makes sense, considering her on-the-fly storytelling prowess!

Check out Amelia’s projects here!

Mary Benetti

3D Artist

Mary is a 3D artist with a background in game design and studio art. At Field Day, she primarily creates 3D art with an expertise in modeling, texturing, and animation. Mary brings a rich background in drawing, painting, sculpture-making, and VR. She has a personal mission to encourage curiosity and play for people of all ages, and especially adults. This is demonstrated through the interactive sensory-based sculptures she creates, as well as by being an artist at Field Day.

Field Day projects:

  • 3D art for Legend of the Lost Emerald
  • 3D art and 2D/3D animation for Wake: Tales from the Aqualab
  • 3D art and animation for Waddle: A Penguin's Tale
  • Producer and concept artist for our upcoming games

Mary likes to connect her hobbies with motion and play, which has led to an amazing list of hidden talents--including drumming, fishkeeping, and underwater hockey. During college, she researched and created an independent project about motion and how it relates to physics, psychology, and art. She brings a love of learning to everything she does.

Check out Mary’s portfolio here!

Phil Dougherty

Software Developer and Game Design Consultant

Phil worked as Field Day’s lead software developer and game designer for almost 10 years. He was the principal developer for ARIS, The Yard Games, Lakeland, Jo Wilder and the Capitol Case, Play the Past, and Lost at the Forever Mine. Phil’s capacity to understand technical fields outside his expertise, such as thermodynamics, is mind boggling. Recently, he returned to consult with Field Day on The Legend of the Lost Emerald and Headlines in High Water.

Phil is an amazing developer, which goes without saying. He’s also a kind soul and an articulate teacher. He understands programming and game theory on a deep, intuitive level, and he’s able to step back and meet people where they’re at. He’s a fantastic teacher, developer, and learner. Everything he says feels thoughtfully considered. When Phil says, “Hmm, that’s a good question,” you know you’re getting somewhere.

Lindy Biller


Lindy is a creative writer, blogger, and copywriter. She brings a combination of keen story-building skills and intellectual depth to the worlds of both our games and our blog. Her years of experience working with teachers and learning game designers gives her a unique capacity as a writer. She contributes not only a love of story, but also the ability to learn about the complexities of education theory and game design.

Lindy wrote the scripts and in-game dialog for Jo Wilder and the Capitol Case, Lost at the Forever Mine, STEMPorts, Lakeland, and many of The Yard Games. She works closely with Sarah to write and refine all of our web copy, iterating until we are able to explain complex projects in just a few lines.

Lindy is the reason the farmers in Lakeland have folksy wit and the Artificial Intelligence in Forever Mine is relatable and dimensional. She crafts stories that allow kids to embody the spirit of a scientist, historian, or detective, and she fosters a sense of wonder in the process.

Zach Studdiford

Undergraduate Data Science Intern

Zach works on feature extraction for Headlines and Wake. He creates insights into when and why players choose to quit when they do, and how we can optimize games for an ideal player experience. Zach is interested in how data from games can inform our understanding of child learning and cognition in ways that traditional studies often can't.

Prior to working at Field Day, Zach worked as a research assistant in the Department of Psychology at UW-Madison, studying how language alters perception and cognition. This has informed his approach to how lower-level data can be used to answer higher-order complex questions, and how to design cognitive tasks that can answer those questions.

Outside of his work at Field Day and classes at UW-Madison, Zach enjoys playing jazz piano, and works part time as a pianist at restaurants and performance venues both in Madison and Minneapolis. He also enjoys hiking and backpacking, and has visited almost all of the national parks in the continental United States.

Dane Bach

Undergraduate Data Team Intern

Dane is a student data analyst working on player analysis for Wake: Tales from the Aqualab. Data science fascinates Dane because it combines computer science, statistics, and math to reach intelligent decisions based solely on the available data. His work on Wake allows him to apply his data skills in a practical, hands-on setting where he actively works to improve our template for player analysis.

In the winter Dane enjoys snowboarding and snowshoeing. When the weather is nice, he likes to watch Madison Mallards games or go for a run around the lake.

Mia Yunqing Xiao

Undergraduate Data Team Intern

Mia’s data background and passion for game design come together at Field Day in her game data analysis work. Mia is fascinated by how games can educate and impact people. Focusing on VR games like IceCube and Waddle, she builds proper features, provides data analysis and evaluation from player data, and generates models, all to help us better understand how our games are being used.

In her free time, Mia is also passionate about traveling and music. She is the manager of an R&B band called Revival Band at UW-Madison. You can usually find them performing at live shows on campus.

Ben Nadler


A graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, Ben is a talented 2D artist with a background in comics and illustration. He was the lead artist on Headlines and Highwater, bringing the sleepy town of Twin Lakes to life with his playful, graphic characters and his careful eye for pattern and architectural detail. Ben has written and illustrated several books, including The White Snake and The Jewish Deli: an Illustrated Guide to the Chosen Food. You can find more of his work on his website, and check out his Instagram.

Jeremy Grozavescu


Jeremy helped with the initial implementation of Wake's model balancing, including implementing a few features that would allow for more natural simulation of species like scarcity. He also set up the automated build system for the games using Github actions.

In the past, Jeremy was a professional software developer for PerBlue Games in Madison, WI. He currently works for Sony Playstation on their web checkout team as well. In his free time, he can be found at Gemini Games DMing games of D&D or playing Magic the Gathering. He has also contributed to the many mods for Minecraft and Stardew Valley. Jeremy is a mathematician and enjoys thinking about programming in terms of simplifying solutions and elegant algorithms. He is also a great purveyor of cat memes.

Mary Benetti

Software Developer

Terra is an amazing developer drawn to the challenge of learning games. She taught herself programming in high school and studied game development in college, before moving into a prolific career in educational games. Terra loves finding the balance of creating games that are simple and fun to play, so that kids will actually enjoy playing them, while communicating complex scientific ideas through the game mechanic. In her time as a game engineer at Filament Games, she created games for clients including Scholastic, Square Panda, and iCivics.

Field Day projects:

  • Lead Developer for The Legend of the Lost Emerald

Terra makes her own games at her independent game studio, Potato Interactive. Her most recent project is Crime Reaper, a murder mystery game! She’s also working on a Tarot game anthology, which will include 22 games. Terra does all of the writing, visual design, and sound design for her games, as well as the development. Check out her work here!