Project Earth: the Game - A Concept
The following is a conceptual description of a Project Earth simulation game inspired by the Project Earth segment from the film, Zeitgeist: Moving Forward.
Upon starting the simulation for the first time, the player is assigned an area of land on which to cultivate a Resource-Based Economic city. The player's task is to operate as the newly appointed Resource Management System of the city being built. The player will collaborate with other cities being similarly operated by other players. Players will be expected to submit and answer requests from other players requiring resource assistance.
Every city is equipped with a Resource Inventory (RI), which quantifies in detail what resources are available, and an Auto Control (AC), which allows the player to instruct the city to behave automatically under certain conditions. For example, an auto command may be a conditional statement: "If a resource request arrives for steel and the city has a surplus of more than 100,000 lbs of steel, respond with 10% of the surplus."
Task #1: Get Connected
Right now, the land is bare and no people have arrived yet. The player should submit requests for assistance from other cities to aid in the initial "planting" of the city. Requests for assistance from other cities will be answered by other players who will begin laying down MagLev tracks, connecting the player's new city to the rest of the world. Once the tracks are operational, machines and equipment for resource extraction (having been requested by the player) arrive by MagLev. A small engineering and construction population arrives to oversee the initial building and testing. The player will observe on the RI screen that resources are being used by these processes and more are arriving as a result of these processes. If resources run out, more can be requested. This should be done with caution as requesting too much may negatively impact other cities or they may begin ignoring requests. Independent extraction and recycling of resources needs to be off the ground quickly as construction continues.
Task #2: Get Civilized
Now that construction is underway and resource extraction mechanisms are in place, the city is taking shape and is able to answer requests from other cities now. We are ready for people to move in. Resource usage will be put to the test here. New cities being planted onto fresh ground will be ripe with resources to extract, but there will still be shortages to monitor related to resources not native to the given region. These may be compensated for by requesting from other cities.
Task #3: Get Stabilized
Once the city is built and operating normally, it is now necessary to stabilize the city's Auto Controls in order to attempt to stabilize the city's operations with as little manual control as possible. Every city should be doing this in order for the game to succeed.
This simulation is not intended to solely be a game. Its primary purpose is to develop decision-making algorithms for managing potentially hundreds of collaborating sustainable cities handling millions of units of resources and accounting for thousands of variable situations. As the game continues, it is necessary to update the dynamics of the game to match reality as much as possible. Resources must be spent and acquired as realistically as possible. Natural disasters and weather must occur and have realistic impact on resource extraction and damage to cities. As time goes by within the game, resource extraction should become faster to simulate advances in technology. New features in the Auto Controls should be introduced to automate as much of the decision-making as possible. This will represent the algorithms needed for the simulation to produce what we need.