Environ: Environmental Degradation Educational Game Set

Computing & Wireless : Application Software

Available for licensing

Inventors

  • Matthew O'Hair , Cntr for Arts & Entertainment Technologies
  • Ian Diaz
  • Braeden Kennedy , Cntr for Arts & Entertainment Technologies
  • Kamron Ledet , Cntr for Arts & Entertainment Technologies
  • Samuel Acuna , Computer Science
  • Tianyu Cheng , Computer Science
  • Peter Elam , The Center for Teaching and Learning
  • Andy Fan , Computer Science
  • Juan Figueroa , Public Health and Biostatistics
  • Zoe Lamb , Computer Science
  • Angie Murphy , Computer Science
  • Julia Pasquarella , Computer Science
  • Weston Selleck , Computer Science
  • Vicki Shan , Computer Science
  • Brandon Torio , Computer Science
  • Lynn Vuong , College of Fine Arts
  • Paul Toprac, Ph.D. , Department of Computer Science

Background/unmet need

The UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development indicates a need to spread relevant information about and raise awareness of climate change and sustainability. Regrettably, environmental issues have been highly politicized, which leads to misunderstanding and polarization among citizens, particularly in North America. A hard line is often drawn between those who seek to protect the environment at all costs and those who perceive any kind of environmentalism as a threat to economic prosperity. Too few break out of that diametric mindset. The success of the 2030 Agenda depends on more people acquiring a nuanced understanding of the issues and becoming aware that the UN’s sustainability goals aim to protect the planet, as well as to improve economic prosperity.

The UN’s Agenda also describes a world where communication technology and global interconnectedness drive human progress. On the topics of climate change and sustainability, we see a lack of technology that effectively engages and connects people. To successfully spread relevant information and raise awareness about climate change and sustainable development, the UN needs media that motivates today’s population to learn, act, and share ideas. The UN’s Agenda necessitates a new media solution that is community-driven and engaging; a solution that allows for deep exploration of these issues to give citizens deeper understanding and helps them realize both the environmental and economic benefits of a more sustainable world.

Invention Description

Environ is that new media solution to empower the UN to achieve its outreach goals. Environ is an educational game set in near-future Earth where environmental degradation has started to damage the world economy. The player must enact policies, research technology, and build infrastructure to improve the environment while increasing economic prosperity. Resources are limited, so the player must deeply analyze different courses of action to make difficult and complex decisions.

The software also allows players to create their own scenarios. In other words, we produced the core version of the game with research-support content; however, players can freely change that content and play or share their own version of the game. Consequently, Environ has immense potential as an innovative, community-driven technology solution for generating public engagement around the topics of climate change and sustainability, or any other subject matter that users choose to include.

Benefits/Advantages

  • Environ puts players in the role of a global decision maker to interactively explore content related to the environment and the economy. So it offers a fun, engaging way to learn about sustainability.
  • The software allows players to create their own scenarios. In other words, we produced the core version of the game with research-supported content; however, anyone can freely change that content to target other subject matter and play their own version of the game.

Features

  • The ability to choose a role at the beginning of the game (e.g. Scientist, Politician, Engineer, etc.)
  • A worldwide vantage point and sphere of influence that puts the player in the powerful position of a global leader
  • A user-friendly upgrade menu where players can make investments that impact the planet (e.g., Energy Storage Research, Solar Power Plants, Alternative Energy Subsidies, etc.)
  • 3D models that appear on the globe when the player purchases infrastructure (e.g., Nuclear Power Plants)
  • Events that appear around the globe, which can either be positive feedback/rewards (e.g., a Technology Breakthrough, a Return on Investment, etc.) or negative feedback (e.g., Deforestation, Drought, War, etc)
  • Some Events represent special investment opportunities that may only appear if the player has made certain investments (e.g., if the player is focusing on Solar Power then the Next Largest Solar Plant Event will probably occur)
  • A globe texture that dynamically changes based on the players’ scores (e.g, if the Environment Score is gets too low then the globe appears to have widespread desertification and rising sea levels)
  • Interesting endgame Events (e.g., Artificial Intelligence Revolution, Nuclear Detonation, etc.)
  • A robust probability engine capable of simulating the inherent uncertainty of complex systems
  • A powerful Scenario Editor tool that allows anyone to create their own version of the game and/or edit Environ’s content

Market potential/applications

Organizations that are concerned with issues like climate change and sustainability 

Development Stage

Lab/bench prototype