Fresh from the oven: Offshore Energy Game

Fresh from the oven: Offshore Energy Game

A group of Game Bakery members was contracted by board game designer WeGo Sustainable to create a digital game for use in New Energy Business School (formerly Energy Delta Institute) courses. In “Offshore Energy Game”, players have to come up with solutions to transport offshore wind energy from the North Sea back to shore. Simply laying new cables is expensive and isn’t the most sustainable solution. This is why old gas fields and pipelines could be used to transport this energy, converting it to another type of energy first if needed.

Offshore Energy Game is the digtal version of a board game designed and developed by WeGo Sustainable. They asked the Game Bakery to convert the board game, which was already finished, to a digital game for use in online workshops. This required an expansion of the rules for the game, since in physical workshops these could be interpreted a bit freely. In a digital game, however, this is not possible since parts of the game needed to be automated. The challenge was to create clear and intuitive rules for how the game would behave automatically. The team worked closely with the board game’s designer to make sure these automated rules would be faithful to the physical version of the game. It was also important that players would be able to play the game together live, so the game needed to be playable fully online.

When the cooperative was approached for this assignment, the cooperative shared the assignment and made sure a fitting group of members would be appointed to it. This resulted in a group of five: a 2D artist, a 3D artist, a programmer, a game designer and a project manager, who collectively had experience with serious games and board game design. Despite being separate companies, they could work together to form a flexible team and bundle their strengths for this challenge.

Just like in the board game, the physical game is played on a grid where players place objects like pipelines and converters. These transport the energy to store, but also cost environmental points and impact the energy grid. These elements are automatically updated in the game, just like the flow of energy through the network, where in the board game this has to be done by hand by the workshop leader. The digital version of the game was also given a beautfiul 3D treatment, where the team mixed playful aesthetics with reality.

The game was also fitted with a tutorial, a demo version and the possibility to watch other players play as they form their own solutions for the game. The whole game can be played in online multiplayer in the web browser, so that students don’t have to download anything in order to follow the course.

The game will soon be used in online works by the New Energy Business School. Try the demo here!

Offshore Energy Game was made by Michiel Procé, Robert Mertens and Tony Fial of Sfinx Games, Merel van der Wees of Studio Bleep, and Thomas Jager.

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