My final project would have to do with the Intertidal species of California and how they can help predict global warming effects. My game would center on earning “points” by visiting the intertidal, doing research on the animals, and deciding what to do with the data that is gathered. You gain points by getting data (i.e. temperatures, abundance measurements, etc), and you “win” if you make the right decision with that data. For example, if Pisaster seastars are absent from the intertidal, then you could hypothesize that the intertidal community would crash because they are a Keystone species. If the intertidal community on screen indeed gets overtaken and crashes, then the hypothesis would be deemed correct, and the player wins. If the limpets have too high of body temperatures and thus are upregulating heat shock proteins, you can predict that they will not survive warmer temperatures, and many intertidal organisms would die as well.
You would lose points for simple things like falling into the water and getting hit by waves. You definitely lose if you get stranded on the intertidal because the tide came in and you didn’t leave. By gaining points, you can buy certain things that will help you form your hypothesis, like hipwaders (so you don’t get wet), thermometers, dry ice (to collect samples), lab supplies, etc.
The game would be conducive to a learning environment because it would help students see what could happen. The game would have various built in automatic occurrences that happen if the player doesn’t a specific thing. For example, the player wants to see what happens when seastars are removed, then the computer would automatically generate an on screen scenario where mussels would take over the intertidal and ruin the community. There will be various scenarios built in to help the player come up with their overall conclusion of what could happen if the rocky intertidal community was to fail.
This game would clearly require some knowledge of the intertidal species and how the community is structured, so it could be used as a learning reinforcement for a biology class. It could be used to visualize what could happen when Keystone species are removed and also when temperatures get too hot. There are many conclusiosn that the students could come up with and various ones would be built into the system. The overall point of this game is to help students learn that the intertidal isn’t some far off land, rather what happens there can affect and sometimes resemble what can happen to other organisms if temperatures get too hot. Since most intertidal animals can’t make their own heat, it would be important to know what could happen to them, since reptiles (and other organisms) also can’t make their own heat, and losing reptiles in this world could cause some problems.