Experiences from development and evaluation of a computer-based serious game for urban climate adaptation

19:00 Tuesday 28 May




Lotta Andersson (Sweden) 1; Tina-Simone Neset (Sweden) 2; Ola Uhrqvist (Sweden) 3

1 - Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute; 2 - Linköping University; 3 - Lärandevision

Almost all Swedish municipalities believe that they will be affected by climate change, but only 20% have an action plan. There is thus a gap between abstract understanding and readiness for actions.

A serious game concept has been developed and evaluated with the goal to assist in transformation of personal and collective mindsets. The game is primarily targeted towards high-school students, practitioners and politicians in municipalities that are about to initiate work on climate adaptation. We hypothesize that sharing experiences from game sessions contributes to a common understanding of the needs and benefits of adaptation actions.

There are two versions of the game. The first is a module to the block-building game Minecraft. Although technically a single-player game, it can be set up as a role-play with moderated dialogues between participants. The second version is web-based, and designed to be easy to use without moderation.

The aim of the game is aims to provide an experience of how different functions in an urban environment are affected by the choice of or lack of climate adaptation measures. The players experience consequences (cost-benefits) related to actions taken (or not taken), with consideration to uncertainty and natural variability of the occurrence of extreme climatic events (provided by a climate generator). Furthermore, the game illustrates the link between climate adaptation and a selection of Agenda 2030 goals. In order to get a high score, the player must limit impacts of hazardous climate impacts and take into account how their decisions affect the selected Agenda 2030 goals. Hence, the game design builds on the key goals in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) that seeks to combine comprehensive views, action competence, learner engagement and pluralism.

The Minecraft-based game was tested with high-school students and teachers. The potential to engage students turned out to be promising, especially when the game was integrated in a role-play setting, where the players reflected upon different societal roles and perspectives. However, for some teachers the integration of gaming in education was perceived as a technical challenge. The development of the web-based version, as well as further development of the Minecraft-based version, was based on feedback from the testing sessions. This included further focus on technical simplicity, better understanding of the consequences of choices and increased emphasis on preparation and debriefing. A number of sessions with students and municipality politicians are planned for spring 2019.