Announcing a new EarthGames Studio Class: “Flourish, A Climate Grand Strategy Game”

sarajo Uncategorized

Traditional ways of talking about climate have failed. — There should be a grand strategy game for climate change. A SimEarth for 2018, with politics. Save the world, or we’re toast. To do this, EarthGames is joining forces with Eric Holthaus from Grist and other climate outreach change-makers to prototype Flourish: A Climate Grand Strategy Game.

Students with interest/background in climate, economic or political modeling can sign up and collaborate on this creative commons project through ATMS 495. We will develop science-based climate, economic, and political engines to be used in early prototypes of the game, with citations to the relevant scientific literature. In this early stage of game development, you’ll have the opportunity to work with an evolving, international team of contributors. Eric Holthaus will be joining the class via Skype during week 1 and in later weeks, and we are arranging meetings with other prominent collaborators from the game industry and the relevant subject areas. ATMS 495 is a standard 10-week course, but interested students may continue to work on this project with the EarthGames team over the summer and beyond. To inquire about an add code, email Dargan Frierson:

Preliminary Game Overview:

Flourish is a grand strategy game with roguelike elements about the near-term future of humanity’s relationship with Planet Earth. Players start in present day Earth, and can select and customize their starting nation and its politics from a menu of countries, from the Marshall Islands to China. Players advance forward in time, using a turn-based mechanism, until the year 2200, trying to gain political influence, economic power, harmony with nature, universal human rights — and most importantly, creating a flourishing global society in a world where the rapidly changing climate becomes ever more of a factor.

The game engine is built from a scientifically-accurate climate model and incorporates political, economic, and societal feedbacks that have effects on climate states, frequency of disasters, and the options available to players. Playable elements include the Earth itself and aspects of the biosphere, like forests and whales. There are narrative elements that can result in the introduction of scenarios that force further action.

Players are able to feel, viscerally, the urgency of our possible futures and learn from them through addictive gameplay. The game’s tension comes from an almost wistfully optimistic vibe, given that the majority of playthroughs will result in a pretty dire situation.

Influences and inspiration: SimEarth, Civilization, Stellaris, RimWorld, Democracy3, Ender’s Game, PunchDrunk, and Donut Economics.