Serious games are a category of games which are designed for a specific purpose other than for pure entertainment. It is not a new concept but serious games using real data, coupled with real time modelling and combining model results with social and economic factors opens up a new paradigm for active stakeholder participation. DHI and UNEP-DHI Centre initiated a project called Aqua Republica where a virtual world is developed which allows participants to develop a river basin and visualise the consequences of their decisions. The aim of this project is to raise awareness of the interconnectivity of water and educate on integrated water resources management. Aqua Republica combines a game layer with a water allocation model, MIKE BASIN, to create an interactive, realistic virtual environment where players play the role of a catchment manager of an undeveloped river catchment. Their main objective is to develop the river catchment to be as prosperous as it can be. To achieve that, they will need to generate a good economy in the catchment to provide the funds needed for development, have a steady food supply for their population and enough energy and water for the catchment. Through these actions by the player, a meaningful play is established to engage players and to educate them about the complex relationships between developmental actions in a river basin and the natural environment as well as their consequences. The game layer also consists of a reward system to encourage learning. People can play and replay the game, get rewarded from performing the right principles and penalised from failures in the game. This abstract will explain the concept of the game and how it has been used in a stakeholder participation environment.
Chew, Chengzi; Zabel, Anna; Lloyd, Gareth James; Gunawardana, Indika; and Monninkhoff, Bertram, "A Serious Gaming Approach For Serious Stakeholder Participation" (2014). CUNY Academic Works.