my name is kobi, I'm a programmer by profession, about 3 years experience. (let's say intermediate)
I also act for Falun Dafa practitioners' human rights in China (there is a horrible persecution there)
you can read more at faluninfo.net and fofg.org
As I'm here you can tell I also have an interest in Permaculture, first heard about it 1 or 2 years ago.
I live in Israel which has semi arid areas and sometimes sink to thought experiments how to naturally re-green the desert areas.
of course I don't have the funding and don't know about feasability and if the design or ideas prove right.
I assume many farm owners will benefit if they had a higher confidence level that their design would work for their farm.
Thus was born the idea of 'Prosperity' - a permaculture simulator software.
right now it's only an idea.
If it comes into existence, I envision it as a 2d hexagon-tile map game, where you can see your terrain, plants, water places, wildlife/cattle, dripping irrigation or olla pots, and other tools etc.
(the visuals are not meant to look realistic, just as a marker.)
I planned on having many objects in that world (matches perfectly the object oriented paradigm), and a time tick of 2 hours.
every 2 hours, those objects adjust some of their properties based on the interaction with neighbouring plants, sun and rain, and if any sheep walked over them, for example. (the objects are soil, plants, and specific species ... could be anything)
we know how some plants influence each other. one brings minerals from the ground, the other provides shade or mulching.
The goal of the "game" is to have the longest running design.
the rules of the game, is that you can only touch it at the beginning:
1. place anything anywhere you want on the map.
2. add some rules for the inhabitants (for example, you can only pick leaves when the amount on the bush is such and such)
then the interactions begin.
you get your score by the number of years your environment was sustainable for.
The accuracy of this simulation is highly dependent on more data - for example, rain and weather data, or specific knowledge about plants, soil, animal-plant interaction etc.
but if I could get predictions of 80% or so, I would be very pleased.
There is another twist: all the maps will be real terrain maps of the world, with as much real statistics that could be gathered.
the best scores could then be submitted to the local governments as recommendations. (maybe after permaculture experts check the design with their own knowledge)
Now, this is a fun but large project with regard to ongoing user-data collection (mostly knowledge about species), but the mechanisms below, the engine of this game is something that could be done within a time limit.
I am asking here a few questions:
first, has anything like this been done, or such a tool is already available?
second, as I am new to permaculture, is this mechanism idea basically correct with regard to effects, or maybe it's plainly wrong since there are other complicated effects not in this model?
third, is it valuable enough in your opinion to buy or fund such software?
would love to hear any of your comments.
Thank you, kobi
oh funny, i had just replied to a much older post about the same game (same link), i found via google search. i should have replied here i guess ^^;
i see you're planing to hold this a little simpler now which i bet will work just fine for the start the next version can always be more elaborate.
i haven't heard of a specifically permaculture oriented game but i see a lot of people online see the connection - farmville addicts (or any game addicts since in all of the games people are "farming" to some extend) and how great it would be if those people invested their time and energy in something real instead. so i very much do believe the need for such a game is there! i can imagine you might find interest and support from companies that produce educational material, since i think that is what the point of the game would be. i like the idea of 2 hours updates, keeps them gamers hooked and hence hopefully realizing the next step for a even greater kick is as simple as to stick some real seeds in the earth. yes, optimistically thinking if well executed this could be quite a success. and to answer your last question, hell yes, if this game could help game addicts to actually want to do something not in the game that also helps this planet and its people, the value would be ... huge
i think the basic ideas of your game idea are right. but i also think it doesn't really matter if its 100% realistic. a game like this needs to a) get people hooked like a good game and b) bring across the point that how great it would be if we tried just the same thing in real life.
i support this idea very much and i would also like to play the beta of it when available and give some feedback on it
I should have been clearer.
right now it's on hold because I don't have the finance for it, and not that stable yet.
I don't want people to get hooked.
I want this to be a tool to see how feasible a certain design is.
After you put all the things in the location you wanted,
(here a house, here a hill, here a tree, next to it a different tree)
try to simulate what happens the next moment, or the next day... how things will look 20 years from now, if you don't touch this design. will it all be dry? or will it prosper?
the 2 hours was misleading. I meant 2 hours in the game world, are something like a second in the real world.
so if you wait 12 seconds, you get to see how the "game-world" looks after one day. in one minute, 5 days. but this could be adjustable anyway. (I wanted some good default, not to calculate what happens after every minute)
The idea is to do a simulation, and using the terrain features of real places in the world. (for example your home town)
those that their design prospers for the longest time, are the winners, and once they share their (permaculture) designs, it can be imitated or learned from.
new experiments can also be tested there (assuming the game model is accurate)
an example for the changes:
say you built this hugel kultur, like in the video above.
in that rainy place the cardboards that you put below the woods, start to rot after two weeks, after 2 days the insects get attracted to it, worms come and make the soil less dense,
the plants you planted grow roots, suck nutrients .... you can see all this happen in the simulation.
and also interconnections. maybe you overdid something, and the insects ate your plant. or maybe the plants had a good or bad reaction to each other (different species) which made them grow faster, or whither..
and what about water? there was a rain, how much got soaked depends on the soil density, and the slope, and the water route, maybe other things I don't know...
so in the game, you get to see all those properties. that piece of soil holds such and such water, but after two hours, it has less because the plant drank some.
so every such object updates all the time, (2 hours was the time-jump), and you get to see it happen very speedily, which can validate your design, even before you started digging and putting effort into it.
That's the idea.
I think it's more useful than a "hooking" game.