Games and Ecosystem Services

Full Title

Advancing tools and visualization techniques for representing modeled ecosystem service outcomes in simulated multi-player game environments


This workshop will build a prototype system that combines elements of choice modeling, ecosystem modeling, and interactive multiplayer games—all focused on capturing the economic value individuals place on alternative levels and qualities of ecosystem services. Participants will develop a novel tool that will involve an interactive gaming platform linked to an ecosystem simulation model. This tool will allow individuals to “play” the system to create their version of the “best” landscape. The team would test various metrics to represent how different landscape outcomes in terms of ecosystem services resonate with players. Since the model embeds the trade-offs between, for example, better ecosystem functioning and more population and urban land use, the choices the players make will reflect how they value these trade-offs. Unlike conventional choice experiments, this new approach will allow the players to create their own scenarios. Rather than working with a fixed set, preferences will emerge as a result of group interactions. By playing the game, players will also become informed about the trade-offs in a much more tangible way than through simple description. Thus, the system connects the best of choice experiments, social interaction, and dynamic modeling. The workshop is part of a larger initiative to provide useful input to decision making and creates the added opportunity to engage specialists in human-computer interfaces with psychologists, marketers, game designers, modelers, and policy makers to enhance approaches for generating collective intelligence through interactive gaming.

Project Type
Team Synthesis Project
Principal Investigators
Robert Costanza, Australian National University
Lisa Wainger, University of Maryland
Karim Chichakly, ISEE Systems
Virginia Dale, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Steve Farber, University of Pittsburgh
David Finnigan, Boho Interactive
Kathie Grigg, University of Queensland
Scott Heckbert, University of Alberta
Ida Kubiszewski, Australian National University
Piotr Magnuszewski, Centre for System Solutions
D. Neal McDonald, University of Maryland Baltimore
Richard Tran Mills, Climate Change Science Institute, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Rick Ziegler, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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