Thursday, September 06, 2007

Energyville - energy options for a city of 3.9 million for the next 30 years

Energyville is another simulation game allowing players to qualitatively explore tradeoffs in the choices we make for our energy system.

In the game, you need to ensure the energy needs (not just electricity, but also transport and heating) for a city of 3.9 million people, with a 2030 time horizon. And of course, you need to keep citizens prosperous and minimise impact to the environment.

This game is a bit more crude than Electrocity. This should not matter much, since simulation games are about rough approximations. The learning cycle for Energyville is much faster, and play much easier, but at the expense of the higher resolution offered by Electrocity.

If you have 5 minutes, try Energyville. If you can spare half an hour, go for Electrocity.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Electrocity - a highly addictive game for students young and old

Via WattWatt we learn about a new game with the name Electrocity offered by genesis energy in New Zealand.

You can become the mayor of a city of 10,000 people with 30 plots of land, on which you can build power plants, factories, amusement parks and so on. You start with a capital of 400, and play 150 turns to develop your city.

Looking at the completed cities players have built, some have ended up with huge wealth, and a large and happy population, while preserving the environment. But beware, it's not trivial the first times to play and not go bankrupt.

While the underlying assumptions of such game will always remain open for debate, Electrocity does a good job teaching its players that development is a balancing exercise between capital resources, # citizens, happiness of citizens, taxation rate, economic development, electricity supply and environmental performance. It's an education tool, not a simulation. Put in the words of its makers:

ElectroCity was developed to increase public awareness – particularly among students – of the basic "common knowledge" of these topics. That is, the general terms and concepts of the industry and the dilemmas that go along with them. Our goal is not to provide students with a sophisticated understanding of the controversies in the various energy debates. Rather, our goal is to spark an interest and lay an unbiased foundation for later learning.