The Center for Serious Play at the University of Washington Bothell released a Facebook game that hits really close to home: UWB Wetlands Restoration, based on the restoration of the wetlands located on the school’s campus.
The object of UWB Wetlands Restoration is for players to build up the wetlands into fully functioning ecosystems.
The game-play cycle lasts 25 days, taking players through the equivalent of 50 years of evolution and progress.
In order to accomplish their goals, players follow an ecological concept called succession, which tracks the development of terrain and plants in the area, as well as the migration of animals.
Players’ success in adding to the environment is measured in a biodiversity rating.
Resources can be acquired by using two types of in-game currency: grant funds, which are awarded at the beginning of the game and at various intervals; and donations, which are acquired by inviting friends to play UWB Wetlands Restoration, helping other players clean up their wetlands, holding events to raise money, or buying them with Facebook Credits.
The CSP said 80 percent of proceeds from UWB Wetlands Restoration will go toward the restoration of the actual wetlands, while 20 percent will be retained to maintain the game.
UWB Wetlands Restoration was created by undergraduate students at the CSP, under the guidance of Warren Gold, director of the UW Restoration Ecology Network and faculty at UW Bothell, and Jordan Weisman, interim director of the CSP and video-game developer.
UWB Wetlands Restoration’s success is threefold. Already we have been able to show our Center for Serious Play students how to drive a game from concept to release. And, as far as we know, this is the only academic game-design program in the United States geared toward undergraduates. Our secondary goal is to educate our players on the importance of wetlands restoration and bring a greater understanding of UW Bothell’s efforts to a larger audience.
Readers: Would you like to see more Facebook games based on real-world issues and causes?