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Embassy of Time

Humanitarian Gamification: Designing a game to save the world?

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On 2/27/2019 at 4:20 AM, Embassy of Time said:

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...

 

So first, i would ask your teachers aka "Publisher/Studio" how much liability they are comfortable with. Half a joke, but also something that is so very real in a real game project, especially one leveraging Augmented reality, and sending people to physical locations.

I like the TC idea. However i only a limited number of people can be TC's. It's also splitting the player base. So your going to have instances of area's without a TC, but tons of players, and area's where people want to fight over being TC. Also how's this work in the middle of New york time square vs out in a town with a population of 100. It WILL get messy. Think of these things as augmented reality bugs. Just throwing this out there, but what if a territory is defined by the number of "missions" or "battlefields" in the area. Then allowed each player to join a "TC" which acts like your idea of TC (group up, get missions, collect resources, etc), however just let the computer "own" all the area's.

I would also HIGHLY suggest a report system for missions. Charities can log on, and could submit missions, you could have marking system that anyone can use that point's out things like trash area's, Something that non gamers can use (60 year old woman see's a ton of trash on the side of the road, she can one button report it on facebook). You could then have your RAO class, actually go scout the situation, take a picture of the job, and fill out a little card about the job. Something like how physical the activity is, any problems or obstacles, and any suggested safety equipment. Then assign a point value to each job.

I like the idea of RAO's. The idea of being able to be an modern explorer would make a ton of people really happy. That was always the best part of Pokemon Go for me. The one thing i would suggest with them is have them take pictures. It's an easy way to keep people honest, it gives an accurate idea of the situation, and if the players took a picture when its cleaned, you could have a montage after a territory got so many points. Something that shows all the before pictures (trash heaps, undone Charity jobs, hungry people waiting to get fed) and after pictures (cleaned up streets, completed Charity jobs, people being fed in soup lines). Points are all nice, but isn't the best reward to a humanitarian game, the one that can easily show the impact you had? You could even have personal montages of all the things a player or RAO did.

Anyways, fun exercise!.

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5 hours ago, Embassy of Time said:

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....

I've been working on tabletop--and now porting the simpler one to an app--games inspired by (and with art from) my wife's rabbit rescue. (larabbits.org, and www.rabbitmatchthegame.com). "Designed by rescuers, playtested by gamers," is what we strive for--but the real goal, "make it instructive and engaging enough to play again" is one step beyond that.  Ever been on overflow and having to decide what to do when a really crappy home wants to adopt the most adoptable--or least adoptable animal? Papers Please might provide somewhat of a guide to simulating these decisions, making it feel like you're dealing with people and emotions rather than mastering underlying algorithms.

(Now I've got a few more hours of litterbox and pen cleaning myself.  And Embassy, feel free to PM me if you want to swap ideas, stories about other rescue games...)

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Article in today's L.A. Times - "From video game to day job: How ‘SimCity’ inspired a generation of city planners"

https://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-simcity-inspired-urban-planners-20190305-story.html

Very apropos to this discussion. 

Edit: don't ignore this link in that article: 

https://www.curbed.com/2016/5/17/11672254/architecture-video-game-blockhood-jose-sanchez

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On 3/3/2019 at 9:51 AM, Embassy of Time said:
On 3/3/2019 at 9:18 AM, Nick Griffith said:

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

😮

I've finished a tiny little prototype, it's rudimentary and unrefined, but it's there.

Here's a clip of what I have so far: 

 

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On 3/5/2019 at 3:41 PM, shade4x said:

 

So first, i would ask your teachers aka "Publisher/Studio" how much liability they are comfortable with. Half a joke, but also something that is so very real in a real game project, especially one leveraging Augmented reality, and sending people to physical locations.

I like the TC idea. However i only a limited number of people can be TC's. It's also splitting the player base. So your going to have instances of area's without a TC, but tons of players, and area's where people want to fight over being TC. Also how's this work in the middle of New york time square vs out in a town with a population of 100. It WILL get messy. Think of these things as augmented reality bugs. Just throwing this out there, but what if a territory is defined by the number of "missions" or "battlefields" in the area. Then allowed each player to join a "TC" which acts like your idea of TC (group up, get missions, collect resources, etc), however just let the computer "own" all the area's.

I would also HIGHLY suggest a report system for missions. Charities can log on, and could submit missions, you could have marking system that anyone can use that point's out things like trash area's, Something that non gamers can use (60 year old woman see's a ton of trash on the side of the road, she can one button report it on facebook). You could then have your RAO class, actually go scout the situation, take a picture of the job, and fill out a little card about the job. Something like how physical the activity is, any problems or obstacles, and any suggested safety equipment. Then assign a point value to each job.

I like the idea of RAO's. The idea of being able to be an modern explorer would make a ton of people really happy. That was always the best part of Pokemon Go for me. The one thing i would suggest with them is have them take pictures. It's an easy way to keep people honest, it gives an accurate idea of the situation, and if the players took a picture when its cleaned, you could have a montage after a territory got so many points. Something that shows all the before pictures (trash heaps, undone Charity jobs, hungry people waiting to get fed) and after pictures (cleaned up streets, completed Charity jobs, people being fed in soup lines). Points are all nice, but isn't the best reward to a humanitarian game, the one that can easily show the impact you had? You could even have personal montages of all the things a player or RAO did.

Anyways, fun exercise!.

All of that, basically. A lot of it phrases loose ideas I have very well. The issue with players per TC I will need to look closer at, all this is just stream of consciousness. But it's not meant to be a school game, it's meant to be voluntary and its own distinct thing. I am a teacher, and pushing students to play would not fly well under any circumstances! Talking about it and creating awareness in school, however....

On 3/5/2019 at 9:23 PM, Mosker said:

I've been working on tabletop--and now porting the simpler one to an app--games inspired by (and with art from) my wife's rabbit rescue. (larabbits.org, and www.rabbitmatchthegame.com). "Designed by rescuers, playtested by gamers," is what we strive for--but the real goal, "make it instructive and engaging enough to play again" is one step beyond that.  Ever been on overflow and having to decide what to do when a really crappy home wants to adopt the most adoptable--or least adoptable animal? Papers Please might provide somewhat of a guide to simulating these decisions, making it feel like you're dealing with people and emotions rather than mastering underlying algorithms.

(Now I've got a few more hours of litterbox and pen cleaning myself.  And Embassy, feel free to PM me if you want to swap ideas, stories about other rescue games...)

Yeah, there are some moral issues to watch out for. I'm just not there yet. Is there a demo of one or more of the games? I'll definitely send you a PM or eight when I get farther into this, right now I'm just scratching the surface. Or so it feels, anyway!

On 3/5/2019 at 11:13 PM, Tom Sloper said:

Article in today's L.A. Times - "From video game to day job: How ‘SimCity’ inspired a generation of city planners"

https://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-simcity-inspired-urban-planners-20190305-story.html

Very apropos to this discussion. 

Edit: don't ignore this link in that article: 

https://www.curbed.com/2016/5/17/11672254/architecture-video-game-blockhood-jose-sanchez

So freaking cool. If anything I ever do has a fraction of that impact.... wow...

On 3/6/2019 at 12:41 AM, Nick Griffith said:

I've finished a tiny little prototype, it's rudimentary and unrefined, but it's there.

Here's a clip of what I have so far: 

 

You have my attention, sir! I sent you a PM, would love to pick your brain on this....

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