Future Delta 2.0 is an interactive educational video game that enables players to explore environments where they can build knowledge and capacities about local climate change in the Delta BC. One of our research goals is to create a 3D virtual game environment that may help people feel empowered to work as a community by simulating locally grounded possibilities, solutions and immediate actions in response to climate change. Our premise is that when individuals are empowered and feel that their behaviours can directly influence the wellbeing of the local place and community, they are more likely to actively care and be concerned about the impacts of their real world actions.
The game content focuses on climate change challenges and solutions in the Corporation of Delta in British Columbia. The Corporation of Delta is a complex geographic area, positioned on the floodplain of the Fraser River. The forecast for expected climate change impacts to the regional area include sea level rise of 1.2 meters by 2100 (BC Ministry of the Environment 2011) While dikes currently surround much of the Delta floodplain, climate change projections suggest that new designs standards be adopted for coastal land management and flood protection (BC Ministry of Environment 2014). In response to this challenge, communities in Delta are faced with complex decision-making that will involve weighing the trade-offs between social, economic, environmental and political factors. Delta, as a region with quite complex sets of issues, has many different communities that are faced with different climate change challenges and solutions. The game environment of Future Delta 2.0 refers to the larger Delta region within the narrative while the North Delta, Tilbury, Boundary Bay and Ladner areas are modeled in detail. The North Delta community is the only one that is not prone to flooding because it is positioned on higher ground. This area has the densest urban development. However, the rest of Delta is on the floodplain and includes areas such as Ladner, Boundary Bay and Tilbury. Ladner is an urban and historical site in Delta, where the Corporation of Delta was first established, and carries large heritage value for the community. Boundary Bay has residential communities in coastal regions as well as a large area designated for agriculture. Tilbury, an industrial area, is located on the south shore of the Fraser River. The game is composed of three acts, beginning in North Delta where the player learns about neighbourhood climate change challenges and solutions. The second act takes place in Tilbury, and focuses on challenges and solutions facing industries in Delta and beyond. The final, third act is situated in Boundary Bay and Ladner, where the player can explore different possible future responses to flooding in Delta.
The Future Delta 2.0 gameplay learning cycle begins with establishing a single player exploration in a situated, immersive locale. The interaction within the game provides an in-game feedback mechanism that allows for the player’s observations, analysis and critical reflection to be tested and practiced within the virtual environment. Through subsequent iterations in response to immediate feedback, this experiential learning cycle enables opportunities for modifications of player behaviour and new choices for experiences. The importance of this process is that the player can repeat elements of the game, make alternative choices, and witness different outcomes. The Future Delta 2.0 game research is in the evaluation stage of a five-year interdisciplinary collaboration between the Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning (CALP) at the University of British Columbia Vancouver and the Centre for Culture and Technology (CCT) at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, with close community partner, the Delta School District. The team has employed three research associates, one doctoral student, six masters students, and twelve undergraduate students that worked over a four-year period in different stages of game development. The research also included design workshops and consultations with game industry partners, education specialists and scientific experts. The game was produced using the Unity game engine and motion capture tools to create original character animations as well as using off-theshelf Unity products. Future Delta 2.0 is divided into three playable acts that are available for download for both Mac and PC (http://futuredelta2.ca/).
The Future Delta Website: http://futuredelta.ok.ubc.ca.