Southern Methodist University (SMU) Guildhall, SMU Simmons School of Education and Human Development and Literacy Instruction for Texas (LIFT) have joined up and formed People ForWords to participate in the Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPrize. Together they are linking their expertise in game development, education and adult literacy to build an immersive fun mobile application that will advance the Adult Literacy industry.

SMU Guildhall

SMU Guildhall is a premier graduate video game education program, ranked #2 Graduate School for Video Game Design, and first in the world to offer a Master of Interactive Technology degree. We also offer a Professional Certificate, and are the only program with specializations in all four cornerstones of video game development: Art Creation, Level Design, Production and Programming.

SMU: Simmons

The Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development promotes excellence by engaging in and disseminating scientifically-based research, preparing exemplary professionals in education and human development, collaborating with other schools and institutions in the development of model programs and furthering positive learning experiences in all stages of life.

Literacy Instruction For Texas

LIFT is the only adult literacy provider in the Metroplex serving very low-literate adults. Beginning with basic phonics, our programs are designed to address the needs of many different kinds of learners.

Screen Shots

Here are samples of concept art, screen shots and photos from the development or our upcoming XPrize application.

Female Adventurer

Initial concept for female main character

Atlantis Concept

Concept for entrance into Atlantis ruins

World Map

Concept of world map marking archaeological sites


Concept of codex

Male Adventurer

Initial concept for male main character

Egypt Shop

Egypt shop concept

Alpha Codex Gameplay

Decoding ancient languate using the Codex and CVC patterns

Atlantis Library

3D Rendering of Atlantis Library

Our Story

Here is a list of our milestones.

  • October 2015

    Starting Up!

    In October, SMU Guildhall, SMU Simmons and LIFT all came together to start discussing how to participate in the Adult Literacy XPrize.

  • January 2016

    A Team is Born!

    People ForWords is formed, and the development team begins ramping up.

  • March 2016

    Game Development

    Development team is assembled and technology has been selected. Game Development is now in full swing!

  • October 2016

    Closed Beta!

    Codex: Lost Words of Atlantis Closed Beta Begins.

  • December 2016


    SMU Simmons, Guildhall, and LIFT wish to acknowledge the Communities Foundation of Texas for its grant to develop People ForWords’ smartphone game for competition in the Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE.

  • January 2017

    Pilot Testing

    Codex: Lost Words of Atlantis Pilot Testing with local literacy groups

  • March 2017

    Final Submission!

    Codex: Lost Words of Atlantis Submitted to XPrize.

Our Amazing Team

Corey Clark, PhD

Development Lead

Anthony Cuevas, PhD

Instructional Design

Lisa Hembry

CEO/President LIFT

Diane Gifford, PhD

Literacy Specialist

Victoria Smith


Jacqueline Gan-Glatz


Arnie Adams


Bart Holland


Chris McCrimmons


Brian Rust


Rukuan 'Young' Yang


Yolette García

Asst Dean/XPrize Liaison

Adrian Hernandez


Rebecca Ward


Max Krembs


Brian Applegate


Paige Ware, PhD

Dean of Simmons

Contact Us

Have questions? Want to get involved?