EdGE selected as MacArthur DML finalist

We are very excited that EdGE is among the 50 finalists selected for MacArthur Foundations and HASTAC’s Digital Media and Learning competition. Thanks to our supporters along the way.

Jodi Asbell-Clarke and the team at EdGE at TERC propose to create Climate Changers: An MMO virtual lab game to save a planet.. Here’s the summary for the preliminary round…now we go make a 3-minute movie! We hope to wow you all!

Climate Changers is a collaborative massively-multiplayer online (MMO) game in the exciting new HD world, Blue Mars. Players of Climate Changers use real-world data from global datasets and analyze the data in a virtual lab, working together to solve a fictional climate crisis on this terraformed planet.

The Educational Gaming Environments group at TERC (EdGE) and Virtual Space Entertainment (VSE) propose to create Climate Changers – a game to engage participants in gathering, analyzing, and interpreting evidence to figure out how to manage a climate-dependent crisis. Climate Changers will help players better understand the challenges and potential consequences we face in Earth’s very real climate crises, as well as the scientific reasoning behind evidence-based decisions.

Climate Changers will take place in the high definition Blue Mars (http://www.bluemarsonline.com), which uses CryEngine2 to incorporate stunning graphics and accurate physics modeling. Blue Mars is situated on a terraformed Mars, made habitable for humans in the year 2150. Like alternate reality games such as World Without Oil (2007), participants will get updates via their social networking tool of choice (Twitter, email, Facebook, etc.) about an unfolding storyline and will need to collaborate on ways to deal with the climate crisis in the MMO. Players will use global datasets (e.g. National Phenology Network) in a virtual lab within the MMO, allowing them to visualize and predict bud bursts and bloom times for plants, as well as bird and animal migration patterns and other phenomena. The MMO lab will include modeling tools such as time-lapse visualizations and large scale mapping to enable observations that would be impossible in real life. Climate Changers, like all games from EdGE, is based on a four phase model of scientific collaboration: exploration, data gathering, analysis, and theory building. Players will advance along guild-like career paths as climate researchers, policy makers, and entrepreneurs in the newly engineered ecosystem of Blue Mars.

Climate Changers leverages the NSF-funded project, Martian Boneyards, already under development in Blue Mars by EdGE and VSE, and will complement other games such as The Baobab Mystery, currently under proposal.

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