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Embassy of Time

Humanitarian Gamification: Designing a game to save the world?

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Embassy, my point about selling the environmentalism short was making it a higher tier "layer". I definitely see your point though.

Let's look at it this way, efforts made in the game reflect in the games microcosm. Even though the results of small environmental efforts are intangible, wouldn't that in game effort on such a small scale have a tangible result? That's where the player would get the reward.  Naturally, if the microcosm idea is skipped for the app, then absolutely make environmentalism higher tier, but if something like it makes it into the game, then the small results should reflect in game.

If the microcosm idea stays: I just realized we're making Sim City with real world connections and different layers. Instead of utilities, finances, and emergency services, we're talking about "saving the world".

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On 2/25/2019 at 3:17 PM, Nick Griffith said:

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.

This.This must be!

On 2/25/2019 at 5:23 PM, Tom Sloper said:

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.

 

On 2/26/2019 at 3:21 AM, Tom Sloper said:

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). 

It made me think... Maybe a player feature stating mood. If things are crappy in an area, moods go down. Those with problems  can avoid it (think Yelp review style, but for public areas), while those with resources can investigate and see if this is a place that needs help. The moods would be more overall ratings of quality of life than immediate reactions to incidents, though. But basically, mood ratings as mission parameters,or something like that.... How does that sound?

On 2/26/2019 at 4:32 AM, Joseph Al-Tal said:

Embassy, my point about selling the environmentalism short was making it a higher tier "layer". I definitely see your point though.

Let's look at it this way, efforts made in the game reflect in the games microcosm. Even though the results of small environmental efforts are intangible, wouldn't that in game effort on such a small scale have a tangible result? That's where the player would get the reward.  Naturally, if the microcosm idea is skipped for the app, then absolutely make environmentalism higher tier, but if something like it makes it into the game, then the small results should reflect in game.

If the microcosm idea stays: I just realized we're making Sim City with real world connections and different layers. Instead of utilities, finances, and emergency services, we're talking about "saving the world".

Still not sure what solutions you're thinking that individual players can provide for large environmental issues, can you give concrete eamples? And yes, I realized the Simcity anglewhen I read Tom's post, it's so obvious I should have spotted it long ago! A large chunk of this is basically Social Issue Simcity! Mix in some Pokemon Go features and an Animal Crossing / Stardew Valley sensibility, and the groundwork starts to show!

 

Apart from all that, I've been trying to put together a VERY early project document. It's still awful, but a few clearer structures have begun to emerge. I would love some feedback on two very simple initial concepts. Basically, I'm drawing up what might be considered "character classes", though less fixed. The two I'm fiddling with right now are meant as very early game initiators.

The Territory Coordinator (TC)

TCs are basically playing a strategy/management game. A TC can claim any territory that has not yet been claimed. The TC can then divide that territory according to some guidelines (stick to official borders, no territory with less than 100 players,etc.). Players can join up with the TC of a territory to get missions, connect to resources, form teams with other players, etc. The TC gets a certain number of points each time period (day? Hour? Not sure...) based on the conditions of the territory; improving a territory means more points. Those points can be warded to players for their efforts. Points (whatever they end up being called) are used for leveling up and getting access to new types of missions, both for TCs and players. They also serve as a kind of status, someone with many points no doubt attracting attention for tough assignments.

Research & Observation (RAO)

RAOs are essentially scouts. They study a territory to find problems, resources, special conditions, and so on. A TC can request RAOs take a look at a territory, but they operate entirely independently from TCs, and may actually  be checking up on a TC to see if everything is by the book and no problems are hidden just to make a territory look better ("turd-polishing"). Any player can supply RAOs with anonymous tips,for them to evaluate. RAOs get a cut of the points awarded for solving a problem that they detected, motivating them to be thorough enough to make solving the problem easier.

 

Just thoughts,for now...

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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.

This.This must be!

I've been thinking more about this system. The app would have a Google Maps widget, and you'd be able to drop a pin anywhere on the map. The pin would mark that there was a charity where you drop the pin. An info box would pop up that you need to fill out, giving the name of the charity, exact address, and some tasks you need completed that will reward points. Anyone can mark a task as complete, but the owner of the charity would have to confirm that the task was done for points to be awarded.

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Small solutions for environmentalism on a large scale (though the large scale doesn't have to be applicable).

-Riding your bike to work/school/activities

-Recycling

-Turning off Furnace/AC (weather permitting, many homes have these running even during transitional seasons when they are not really necessary)

-Litter clean up in your immediate neighborhood

-repurposing furniture (instead of burning or throwing away an old clothes chest, you cut it apart and build a bookshelf).

-repurposing plastics (need a silencer for your AK47? I've seen how 2 liter bottles can accomplish this! kidding, kidding, but the idea is there)

-replacing bottled water with water filtration - reusing water bottles as planters for a beginning small garden.

Give me some more time I think I could come up with more.

-using an old cell phone as an impromptu tablet, instead of buying a new tablet. 

I think the list of "small" environmental efforts is significantly larger than the large efforts.  Large efforts being going full electric vehicle, water source clean up, air pollution efforts to potentially force a company to change it's processing methods - same with water. These are all significantly difficult.  The small efforts though, would more readily reflect in a game microcosm.

Edit: spelling/punctuation

Edited by Joseph Al-Tal

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On 2/27/2019 at 2:38 PM, Nick Griffith said:

I've been thinking more about this system. The app would have a Google Maps widget, and you'd be able to drop a pin anywhere on the map. The pin would mark that there was a charity where you drop the pin. An info box would pop up that you need to fill out, giving the name of the charity, exact address, and some tasks you need completed that will reward points. Anyone can mark a task as complete, but the owner of the charity would have to confirm that the task was done for points to be awarded.

I've started watching Animal Crossing and Pokemon Go videos just to see what can be "harvested" for inspiration. If you think of more, please let me know!

9 hours ago, Joseph Al-Tal said:

Small solutions for environmentalism on a large scale (though the large scale doesn't have to be applicable).

-Riding your bike to work/school/activities

-Recycling

-Turning off Furnace/AC (weather permitting, many homes have these running even during transitional seasons when they are not really necessary)

-Litter clean up in your immediate neighborhood

-repurposing furniture (instead of burning or throwing away an old clothes chest, you cut it apart and build a bookshelf).

-repurposing plastics (need a silencer for your AK47? I've seen how 2 liter bottles can accomplish this! kidding, kidding, but the idea is there)

-replacing bottled water with water filtration - reusing water bottles as planters for a beginning small garden.

Give me some more time I think I could come up with more.

-using an old cell phone as an impromptu tablet, instead of buying a new tablet. 

I think the list of "small" environmental efforts is significantly larger than the large efforts.  Large efforts being going full electric vehicle, water source clean up, air pollution efforts to potentially force a company to change it's processing methods - same with water. These are all significantly difficult.  The small efforts though, would more readily reflect in a game microcosm.

Edit: spelling/punctuation

Please do let me know as you think of more! I still think a lot of environmental stuff is a bit more complicated than direct "help an old lady across the street" or "help a kid with his homework" stuff, but your examples do make it a bit more tangible in my head.

I think I need to get cracking on some test of a structure for people to create assignments. I need to make this more real to my brain....

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31 minutes ago, Nick Griffith said:

I'm intrigued by this idea, I'm currently making a small prototype, I'll tell you when it's done

😮

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13 hours ago, Embassy of Time said:

Please do let me know as you think of more! I still think a lot of environmental stuff is a bit more complicated than direct "help an old lady across the street" or "help a kid with his homework" stuff, but your examples do make it a bit more tangible in my head.

Yeah, I think the issue may be more about how to scale the results down to an in game microcosm. We hear stats about how many billions of tons of CO2 we pump into our atmosphere as a species, but breaking that down to an individual level is difficult, might even be impossible. That difficulty is also the contributing psychological factor of "I'm just one person, I won't make a difference." But if we can manage to provide some kind of in game result the player sees from their efforts, we might be able to generate more participation.

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51 minutes ago, Joseph Al-Tal said:

Yeah, I think the issue may be more about how to scale the results down to an in game microcosm. We hear stats about how many billions of tons of CO2 we pump into our atmosphere as a species, but breaking that down to an individual level is difficult, might even be impossible. That difficulty is also the contributing psychological factor of "I'm just one person, I won't make a difference." But if we can manage to provide some kind of in game result the player sees from their efforts, we might be able to generate more participation.

Precisely. Early game players will need something more concrete. Local pollutiong might figure in at slightly higher levels (like protecting a local stream or lake), and spill cleanups can be good missions. But the classic environmentalism needs players to A) be far enough into the game to have an intuitive understanding of somewhat abstract missions, and B) be covering large enough territories to think bigger scale when dealing with it. Not impossible by any account, but it needs some extra thought to be realized...

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I just had a talk over the weekend with an old friend about the project. He made an interesting suggestion: Job simulators for volunteer work. I am still mulling over the concept but as a kind of training thing before tackling the real world, it might be interesting. It won't be realistic, but it could bring up some of the things people rarely think about (like how I just spent two hours thoroughly cleaning three large litter boxes for the cat shelter I run.... phew....).

Dunno, just a thought. I'll probably do a forum post to see if there are any such games out there already....

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