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Discovering the Roles of Water – WetlandGame for Metsähallitus

Discovering the Roles of Water – WetlandGame for Metsähallitus

The Challenge

The professionals at Metsähallitus were looking for a simulator, meaning their starting point was not even necessarily a game. However, because we’re game professionals, we felt the need to up the ante and create a more interactive experience. Luckily, Metsähallitus had an open mind and saw the benefits of going with a game.

Understanding the Flow of Water

The amazing people at Metsähallitus had a script, called the ‘Journey of Water’. This was the basis for our work. We wrapped our minds around all the different cause and effect relations in which water plays a part. Then we can build it into a game that has goals, challenges and rewards in the right mix.

Water Finds Its Way

After we were confident we had the game mechanics and logic just right to depict the importance of wetlands along with visuals that help convey the message, we went into development mode. With our iterative process and continuous communication with our customer we carefully took in the nuances of understanding how the wetlands work. Subsequently, it helped us add authenticity to the game.

Wetland Game

We mostly deal in the realm of digital things. Therefore, WetlandGame offered a fun perspective of going into the Liminganlahti Nature Center and physically installing the machine on which it runs and being able to see the game in its custom-made display case with the very large touch screen.

Finding the Flow of WetlandGame

The nature of Finland, which is the most forested country in Europe, is renowned across the world. Furthermore, the act of looking after the beautiful wildlife is a vitally important job in Finnish society. Metsähallitus are responsible for managing most of the protected areas of our woodlands.

Metsähallitus were looking for someone to help them create an interactive product for a project they were developing called the ‘Journey of Water’. This was all about Finland’s wetlands. Initially they envisaged that a simulator would be ideal in helping to convey the importance of water in Finland’s nature eco-system.

Having worked with Metsähallitus before, we were thrilled to be invited to collaborate with them again! The LudoCraft team looked at options for developing a simulator, however we also brainstormed other potential solutions. We subsequently pitched the idea to them that a playable game would be a better fit for what they wanted to achieve with ‘Journey of Water’. That way, we would be able to create something that would be interactive in a way that authentically connects players to the nature that surrounds them.

Metsähallitus had an open mind about the idea, so we discussed it further and brainstormed how the mechanics for such a product could work. The game needed to be challenging and rewarding for players, whilst also striking the right balance of entertaining and informative.

The Many Sides of Water Unveiled

WetlandGame, or Kosteikkopeli as it is known in Finnish, is a permanent part of the exhibition at Liminganlahti Nature Center. The game communicates the importance of wetland preservation particularly to kids and teenagers.

In the game, players get to make different types of decisions across a vast forest. Subsequently, their actions all have an effect on the wetland conditions. The goal of the game is to find the balance between preserving wetlands and allowing different industries to find livelihood in areas that impact nature. It sounds easy – but trust us, it’s easier said than done!

Throughout the game the player gets information on their actions and possible large scale impacts they might have to the surrounding environment. Specifically, the game’s educational goal is for players to understand that the condition of wetlands has a widespread effect on plants and animals.

WetlandGame in Short

All About the Balance

We’ve modeled quite a complex ecosystem and brought a unique twist to it by wrapping it into a challenging game. The task of the player is to find balance within the ecosystem – including people’s livelihood and business.

Difficult Decisions

The game’s basic features are decision, event and update cards. Using these the player is able to accordingly control the game to the direction they want. They can choose a reactive or a proactive playstyle.

Economy & Ecology

The two main metrics a player must keep an eye on is the well-being of nature and the condition of economy. Because the game is a part of an exhibition, the player has 10 minutes to get as high a score as possible by balancing these two metrics.

LudoCraft Way of Working

Find how Ulla Matturi, the Visitor Centre Manager of Liminka Bay Visitor Centre, Metsähallitus described our collaboration in the video and below:

“Liminganlahti Nature Center is the first wetland center in Finland. Our mission is to communicate the importance of wetlands and how they benefit people. We also contribute into wetland preservation. Communicating about wetlands is not always easy, as they are often seen as wastelands and, for example, the functions of a drainage basin are not well understood.

Once again LudoCraft offered expert help on how to convey the importance of wetlands especially to kids and youngsters. As a result of our collaboration, we now have an amazing Wetland Game that has received positive feedback from Liminganlahti Nature Center customers. It has been a joy to work with such a competent game studio!”

Save the World with Games

WetlandGame is an amazing example of the power of games. Namely, they can take a complex phenomena – and transform it into a learning experience for kids and adults alike.

In fact, we heard from Ulla, the Visitor Centre Manager, that the game had gained quite a following among a group of local kids who came into the Liminka Bay Visitor Centre just to compete who gets the best score in the game. For us, this spells out that we’ve managed to make a product that has true impact. It fits truly well in our mission to save the world with games.

Explore the ‘Journey of Water’ and Play WetlandGame

Go on the ‘Journey of Water’ and learn about the importance of water preservation by playing the WetlandGame now in your browser! (Published online by the Hydrology LIFE Project of Metsähallitus, Parks & Wildlife Finland and Jyväskylä University Museum)

Want your own game solution? Get in contact!

Marja Kuipers