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Climate knowledge for computer game

12/19/2011 - With two digital projects, staff members from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) supported professional programmers with their expertise. For the computer game “Anno 2070”, scientists of the research project Climate Media Factory, funded by the federal government, discussed scenarios of global warming with game developers and informed them about the latest state of climate science. PIK contributed a problem statement for a programming contest as well. Both projects were about knowledge transfer.
Climate knowledge for computer game

Screenshot from the computer game "Anno 2070" (Picture: Blue Byte)

“Anno 2070” turns gamers into architects of the future. “Not all aspects of climate change could be represented in a game, of course reality is much more complex,” says Jürgen Kropp, project leader from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. But the gamers experience what their actions cause – the course of events is based on scientific facts, not only the developers´ fantasy. The Climate Media Factory is a cooperation with the Film and Television University (HFF) „Konrad Wolf“. The game is part of a successful series of Blue Byte enterprise, its predecessors were set in the past instead of the future.

In various cities around the world, programmers recently met to put their know-how to use for a good cause. At the fourth “Random Hacks of Kindness” event (RHoK), numerous projects of different organizations like Welthungerhilfe and Leipzig University received support. The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) was asked for input and introduced an idea to develop an application which enables the lay public to verify statements about climate change.

On behalf of that, a team of programmers developed a first prototype that is going to be enhanced further. The idea is that if someone reads something somewhere about climate change, he or she can type keywords into the application and receives links to publications to validate the statements. The publications will be sorted in regard to whether they are mere opinions or written by reputable scientists. For that purpose, the application takes the number of peer-reviewed publications published by the respective author into account.


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