Earth (working title), a metagame for bettering the world

Dear Gameful members,


I am new here, and come on a wave of inspiration initiated by witnessing Jane's inspiring approach to games' ability to change the world. I have a specific idea for a project which I feel could, with the right care, grow into a hub for charitable networking, aid and education all through the medium of gameplay. I am reaching out for collaborators to take this from the drawing board to the screen, in hope of helping the world in a new way :)


I'll post a little on my own background at the bottom, let me launch into the idea itself first. You are perhaps familiar with sites such as this: http://www.therainforestsite.com/clickToGive which function on a very simple premise - a unique IP address can click once a day to save a certain square footage of rainforest (or fulfil a host of other charitable aims), and this is paid for by (predominantly) ethical and fair trade advertising which appears on the site. A simple idea, with real results. I would like to combine this idea with a couple of networking / educational aspects, within a game.

The basic look/feel/purpose of the game would be this (although flexible): A "cartoony" 3D-looking planet Earth on which your avatar stands, and is able to walk across in a "The Little Prince" style manner and click on a number of icons on the planet's surface. Each icon when clicked launches a mini-game associated with a particular charitable objective, such as preserving the rainforests, or orangutang habitats, or any number of environmental / human rights causes. When played, each mini-game will feature a pop-up message upon completion of a game task (or of the whole mini-game), reading along the lines of "Congratulations! You have completed XXXX and have contributed to the preservation of XYZ through playing!" The message would have a border around it which contained a number of ethical, clickable adverts, the revenue from which would be paying for that charitable contribution. Options for paid contributions might exist in game also, as an optional extra way to contribute.

The idea would be to build into the game a degree of social networking, whereby players could interact in-game, but also contribute to the game design itself, recommend new causes to be represented by new mini-games, even perhaps "recruit" charities or advertisers who might wish to have a presence within the game. It would be open source, and would welcome expansion through contributions from programmers around the world so that it might "snowball" into an ever larger and more popular and far-reaching game platform. In the long run it might function as a known charitable social network in itself which charities would like to have a presence within.

Of course educational factors could readily be designed in to the function of each game, such that players learned about the problems they were assisting with as they went along. An element of activism could be introduced into certain mini-games, such that sending an email of protest to an MP could be a game goal within a certain mini-game, for example.

I thought to start simply, with one mini-game required before going for beta testing etc, and have a specific idea for this mini-game focused around rainforest preservation, with an overhead view vaguely reminiscent of games such as (the dreaded) Farmville, whereby players have to protect square footage of rainforest in a variety of ways in-game.


The idea would be for each mini-game to be playable in short bursts, and appeal to the same crowd who do play flash games and Facebook games, a short, regular frequency play which encourages this type of daily game play to enable making a real difference in the world, to charities, both financially and in terms of education. For this reason I thought it might be good to enable play within Facebook, although this is not necessary, and might be too complicated, I'm unsure.

I myself am a teacher, a writer, and puzzle designer with expertise in media & communication, and can certainly brainstorm design features, handle communications and approaching of charities & advertisers, and write any material needed for promotion / in-game. What I cannot do is code, or practically create the game itself and this is where I need help. I am willing to learn, if practicable, or to place myself in your hands :) So I am chiefly seeking programmers, but also networkers, and gameful gurus :)

I have held onto this idea for a little while in the hope that I could, with a couple of friends who are more tech-savvy than I, bring it to fruition. I then decided to dispense with the ego side of thinking "this is my brain-child" (lol) and put it out there into the community (having found one here!) in the hope that, as a collaborative enterprise, we could really make this happen. I am willing to devote substantial amounts of time to this if I can get a team of likeminded people together to move it forward.

Jane, if you read this, thanks for the inspiration, and, if you are similarly inspired by this idea, for any help you might be able to offer in bringing it forward.

Peace & love,

Luke Haward

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Have you considered Construct 2 as an option to easily make such mini-games for Facebook?

Thanks, Scott, I'll take a look and report back! I'm out of the house all day tomorrow but will investigate on Saturday and let you know what I make of it - appreciate the suggestion :)

Interesting. I've downloaded the software and will certainly be playing around with it. I don't have enough technical nouse to be sure whether this will be a powerful enough route, at least for creating the metagame social network-friendly environment, but certainly (if compatible) could be used for creating some of the mini-games, thanks!

I have downloaded this and taken a brief look - been ploughed under with work and other commitments this last week - will def be investigating this one further, thanks Scott!

I already love this program Scott thanks. I wouldn't mind picking your brain about a couple of things to do with whether there are limitations for what I want to do with it - having fun with it first though :P

be happy to chat 

Hello Luke,

       your enthusiasm is contagious. Your comment about "dispensing with the ego side of thinking" after posting your brain child in front of the community is inspiring. 

I think that what you want to do should happen. I want it to happen. But it wont be easy. If you are really interested in making this dream a reality then email me at Becket@teemPlay.com so we can connect. I am working with a team who is raising capital in the Spring to begin a project which I believe resonates with your vision.

Sincerely,

-Becket Linn 

Thank you Becket :) I'm glad to hear it, I read back over what I'd written and thought I could've been a bit more succint and less ranty :P but I'm pleased it went down well with you!

I certainly will email you, thank you. I look forward to speaking further with you.

Best,

Luke

I love your vision, Luke!  Many times have I have searched for something like this to play with my kids.  I am involved with 15 or so projects but would like to help in some small way if I can.  I am a physician and a Java software developer however I have not made any video games before.

Thank you David. Your reply is much appreciated :) We are still at the drawing board phase but I hope to be moving forward on this soon. I'll keep this thread updated with developments, and hope shortly to put some initial steps in place.

Best,

Luke

Luke, what happened since last September with your fascinating project? Any update?

 

George, thanks for your message. It has been somewhat on the back seat due to other pressures in life, and due to the fact that I am not a programmer. I have messed around with Construct 2 which Scott recommended as a possible option for non-coding based design and got the basics mastered. I think it might be a suitable platform for a demo which I could then put in front of the community asking for improvements / coded approaches / general thoughts & feedback. What I´m ideally seeking to move forward more quickly is one or several good programmers to help me get a demo or early version started.

Since the idea was to throw the game out as open source as soon as it had an intro (wandering chattable planet with avatar clicking on icons to launch sub-games) and a single playable charitable sub-game, it might not take too too much labour to get the bare bones together...

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