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Embassy of Time

Humanitarian Gamification: Designing a game to save the world?

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Sorry Embassy, not sure what needs expansion regarding NPCs and Organizations?

i'll try.

Most areas have a homeless shelter or food pantry or EPA offices or (the list goes on).  These organizations generally have a coordinator, someone in charge. Having a mobile app the coordinator can use to draw volunteers for a time/date they need help with, would be infinitely valuable to them. Using the veneer of a game, wouldn't matter at all. Having an organizations event coordinator using the app, registering with the app as a point of contact for volunteers, creates an NPC in the Game app for the players. The players can get simple, everyday, "don't piss on your neighbor" types of quests from these in-game equivalents. The in-game NPC gets to a certain "reputation", or point in a quest line, and offers a real world contact. The player can pursue or not at their own leisure.  After a short series of in-game coordinated quests that also involve individual effort with said organization, they can begin to utilize Team Quests that involve real world action verified with the organization's coordinator.  This process would be repeated with every organization's coordinator.

Vetting the coordinator becomes the hurtle to get over here.

Edit:  Oh Yeah, and this could become serious life lessons type stuff for the younger players.  If you show up to volunteer then weasel out and not help, the coordinator can ban you, restrict you, leave feedback "Lazy" etc.  other coordinators will see this...  Essentially end up created an in game reputation section for each player.  The reputation being reflected in the organizers app. 

Edited by Joseph Al-Tal

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I don't know if the group focus is so necessary. What about individual improvement, and through that, community or societal improvement? Self help points first and social help points second. Improve the world not by helping others in the immediate thought, but instead improve ones self and become productive, outspoken, active, considerate, intelligent and engaged. Through this method, society is improved or scales on each person being a better person and challenging ones self and from each person behaving this way, the world is  closer to being saved.

Focus on empowering ones self with the capacity to do better and cause change for the better, and the idea that each person can also be engaged in this process. I'm not saying that some people don't need help, a lot of people do need help and should be helped. The idea is that everyone should be engaged at changing society, and ultimately this begins with each individual person working on themselves. 

Edited by h8CplusplusGuru

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I think what could be cool, would be if an organizer of a charity, food pantry, etc. could create something similar to a pokemon go hotspot, marking an area where people could potentially get points(by volunteering)

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Watching Saturday morning cartoons with my kids (the old school way on cable TV), there's a commercial that comes up every now and then for this Earth Rangers website where they're doing some kind of "gamified" "save the environment" kind of thing.

Any commercial I see during a kid's show automatically triggers a defensive avoidance filter and any hint of something "gamified" (I feel queazy just using the word) amplifies that significantly. However, it sounds as though it would be the sort of project that you're considering here, if not something to cover a wider set of social issues.

I would suggest further research on other similar sites and projects currently exists (I would expect there to be several).

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On 2/20/2019 at 2:39 AM, Embassy of Time said:

On environmentalism, I am thinking that is a "higher tier" challenge, because of how abstract it can seem and how complicated solutions can sometimes be, if you go beyond "recycle stuff". 

Let's try not to sell the previous efforts of environmentalist short, shall we? Nearly everyone is familiar with the term "Carbon Footprint" Every state has recycling laws (i think, if not all, most). Let's be honest and just say "environmentalism is hard to code" Because it would be.  Creating an environmentally sensitive game would be DEEPLY difficult. Every action or inaction has an effect. Other "friendly neighbor" concepts are more easily implemented. Most of the Solutions to our environmental issue are not abstract in the least. This is edutainment, we're teaching and showing the user how NOT abstract the ideas are and how simple the solutions actually are, that's what we're going for?  Unless i missed something. 

I understand getting someone to sell their car and buy a Prius is not exactly feasible, but the choice in game would have rewards and effects. Switching to Full electric. Buying a Tesla. Most of us can't do that in real life. But having it as an option in game to affect the Microcosm would be an option.  Scaling how much of an effect that type of change would have on a microcosm...  THAT is where the difficulty comes in. 

As i think about it..  not even that is difficult. Definitely time consuming though.  Logging every vehicle in existence and it's emissions... then scaling everything..  Not hard. Just Huuuuge time investment. The environmental approach would be a huge undertaking because of the sheer volume of databasing needed. 

I'm not certain how much you want to layer into this game...

Layers:

Interpersonal:  Statefarm? Like a good neighbor... etc.  involves assisting with psychologically therapeutic efforts.  From suicide hotlines to actual counselling (for professionals only), helping soldiers re-acclimate to being home, animal shelters even, or maybe animal shelters as they relate to PTSD survivors. Lots of options here.

Financial: From Financial Advice to assisting those without finances. Speaking on how to save money and plan for retirement or helping Homeless Shelters, Food Pantries, etc. Helping with Taxes maybe? Working with Job placement organizations to help the unemployed find better paying work for their skills.

Environmental: we pretty well went over that.  Early stuff would be recycling, starting your own garden, helping or joining a community garden, all the way to involving yourself in environmental clean up projects. cleaning the pollution from our rivers and lakes etc.

More layers? 

 

 

 

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On 2/22/2019 at 2:40 PM, h8CplusplusGuru said:

The idea is that everyone should be engaged at changing society, and ultimately this begins with each individual person working on themselves. 

As absolutely 100% true this might be, sadly most of us are not interested in self improvement.  In our current society in the United States most of us are more interested in blaming others for our problems instead of addressing them directly and truthfully. Acknowledging our own shortcomings and working on self improvement is unfortunately a rare trait and most people will simply not participate if the game is directed at them helping themselves or directed at them making personal intellectual changes.  Taking actions external to who they are is far simpler to address and will more easily gain a following.

This is where the layers come in.  Giving options to help the homeless or destitute will attract the altruistic types. Addressing the environment will attract the realists and similarly minded future-preservationists. Addressing the Financial will attract the capitalists. 

Finding more layers to add to attract more is something to consider.

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On 2/22/2019 at 12:00 PM, lawnjelly said:

Sorry this is probably nomenclature .. I have a biology / ecology background, and there is a simplistic equation:


phenotype = genotype + environment

 

Ah, environment as in "the place we live and what it contains", got it! Then yes, that is a huge piece of the puzzle. Optimizing it (as in, reducing waste and problems) should be a concept full of fairly direct challenges, from knowing how things work (go explore) to actively cleaning up places or supporting people, in the hopes that they can then help do more. Basically, a RTS/4X kind of game, but in real life.

On 2/22/2019 at 6:56 PM, Joseph Al-Tal said:

Sorry Embassy, not sure what needs expansion regarding NPCs and Organizations?

i'll try.

Most areas have a homeless shelter or food pantry or EPA offices or (the list goes on).  These organizations generally have a coordinator, someone in charge. Having a mobile app the coordinator can use to draw volunteers for a time/date they need help with, would be infinitely valuable to them. Using the veneer of a game, wouldn't matter at all. Having an organizations event coordinator using the app, registering with the app as a point of contact for volunteers, creates an NPC in the Game app for the players. The players can get simple, everyday, "don't piss on your neighbor" types of quests from these in-game equivalents. The in-game NPC gets to a certain "reputation", or point in a quest line, and offers a real world contact. The player can pursue or not at their own leisure.  After a short series of in-game coordinated quests that also involve individual effort with said organization, they can begin to utilize Team Quests that involve real world action verified with the organization's coordinator.  This process would be repeated with every organization's coordinator.

Vetting the coordinator becomes the hurtle to get over here.

Edit:  Oh Yeah, and this could become serious life lessons type stuff for the younger players.  If you show up to volunteer then weasel out and not help, the coordinator can ban you, restrict you, leave feedback "Lazy" etc.  other coordinators will see this...  Essentially end up created an in game reputation section for each player.  The reputation being reflected in the organizers app. 

 

On 2/22/2019 at 9:40 PM, h8CplusplusGuru said:

I don't know if the group focus is so necessary. What about individual improvement, and through that, community or societal improvement?

Yes, self improvement is in there, but anything in a vacuum will have severe limits. Even expanding it to "helping others with self improvement" will likely be a big deal, simply because it connects people, almost MMO style. I have a thing for education, and having self-education options is a must, but they need not be at the cost of having people help each other improve through similar means. The whole community angle seems important IMHO, so though many tools improve the individual, it needs to be with an eye on improving the situation and abilities of a larger group. Also, self-improvement needs a lot less planning, so I have a tendency to worry more about the community aspects. Not no planning, but a lot less...

On 2/22/2019 at 11:03 PM, Nick Griffith said:

I think what could be cool, would be if an organizer of a charity, food pantry, etc. could create something similar to a pokemon go hotspot, marking an area where people could potentially get points(by volunteering)

Yes. Perfect. 1000 times yes. And if you have ideas for expanding or implementing the concept, do not hold back, lemme know!!

On 2/22/2019 at 11:05 PM, kseh said:

Watching Saturday morning cartoons with my kids (the old school way on cable TV), there's a commercial that comes up every now and then for this Earth Rangers website where they're doing some kind of "gamified" "save the environment" kind of thing.

I do worry about the "hey, kids, let's all save the environment, haha!" pitfall, too. That's a large part of why I am doing a lot of research before making even a slight move to implement, it can sooo easily come off as just another pie in the sky project. I need something solid before starting, and perhaps (and I hate myself while writing this), something a bit more "gritty", to avoid investing in purple dinosaur suits or licensing the Captain Planet theme song. It is a real worry. And I will of course have to check out that website, nonetheless! Thanks!

13 hours ago, Joseph Al-Tal said:

Let's try not to sell the previous efforts of environmentalist short, shall we?

<shortened>

Layers:

Interpersonal:  Statefarm? Like a good neighbor... etc.  involves assisting with psychologically therapeutic efforts.  From suicide hotlines to actual counselling (for professionals only), helping soldiers re-acclimate to being home, animal shelters even, or maybe animal shelters as they relate to PTSD survivors. Lots of options here.

Financial: From Financial Advice to assisting those without finances. Speaking on how to save money and plan for retirement or helping Homeless Shelters, Food Pantries, etc. Helping with Taxes maybe? Working with Job placement organizations to help the unemployed find better paying work for their skills.

Environmental: we pretty well went over that.  Early stuff would be recycling, starting your own garden, helping or joining a community garden, all the way to involving yourself in environmental clean up projects. cleaning the pollution from our rivers and lakes etc.

More layers? 

Nobody is disregarding the efforts of environmentalists. But the sad fact is, the results of environmentalism are often less tangible and more "big picture", making it hard to put specifics on it. Rewarding the activity itself is an angle, but it can easily appear to be effort for effort's sake, whereas cleaning up an area leaves an actual, clean area as evidence of the effort. Making environmental work more tangible, even if indirectly through some game mechanic, is going to require something bigger than a point system or similar rewards. Hence, higher tier challenges, for when players have already understood the game through tangible, direct results, no matter how big or small.

The layers are great! I am actually starting to look at this kind of stratification of tasks, some structure of categories and levels of difficulty. It's all in its infancy (as is all of this, really...), so yes, please, more layers, from you or anyone! When things get more structured, I hope to set up a kind of "mission hub" that people can suggest concrete missions at, to get a feel for how challenges can work...

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I think what could be cool, would be if an organizer of a charity, food pantry, etc. could create something similar to a pokemon go hotspot, marking an area where people could potentially get points(by volunteering)

Yes. Perfect. 1000 times yes. And if you have ideas for expanding or implementing the concept, do not hold back, lemme know!!

The system would be simple, you have a mobile app, and mark your charity as a "hot spot". There would need to be some sort of reporting system, so people wouldn't make fake charities. You should be able to enter google maps or something like it, and label charities from there. Since Google Maps has emails and phone numbers for all their businesses, the game could send a notification to the charity you marked if you label it as not being yours.

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There was a piece on NPR Morning Edition today about how smiles are contagious, and anger is contagious. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/02/25/697052006/anger-can-be-contagious-heres-how-to-stop-the-spread

Got me thinking. Instead of an Animal Crossing village whose populace needs good deeds done, a simulated city populated by NPC avatars ... and statistics (well-being, happiness, crime...). If a player engages in a fistfight with an NPC, negativity is created in the onlookers, who take that negativity with them as they continue their movements in daily life, creating a tiny rise in city negativity. A smile on the player's avatar's face causes a tiny rise in city positivity throughout that day.

Simply trying to cause a rise in positivity in the game would likely cause the player to do the same in real life. So how to measure? Perhaps by means of a forum dedicated to the game, in which people share their experiences both in game and IRL.

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Or think Pokemon Go Meets Waze. Augmented reality, a massively multiplayer mood meter, showing blue bubbles of positivity and red bubbles of negativity on a map. A bubble is initiated on the map when a user reports a real-life interaction one way or the other. Bubbles can grow, shrink, brighten, fade based on multiple inputs. Looking at your display, do you see a positivity area nearby? Head over, see what's going on. Of course, the opposite equally applies. That sudden growing red bubble may indicate an accident, or a fight. Try not to head over and add to the crowd. You can input statistics into this (crimes, accidents. fire department calls, census statistics, zones, area codes). 

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