I planned to participate in Blog Action Day yesterday, but it somehow totally missed my radar (read: iPhone Notes list). So I’m a few hours late, but that’s still not an excuse to abandon it.
Blog Action Day is a day organized and supported by companies and people passionate about the environment with a simple premise: get as many bloggers as possible to post about the environment as it relates to their specific niche/topic on the given day. We cover startups, apps and the whole Web 2.0 space, so trying to think of something to do with our focus and the environment wasn’t a tough task for me. Why? Well, there’s this thing called ElectroCity. It’s been stealing my weekends. It teaches super-practical environmental friendliness. And you guessed it: it’s totally Web 2.0.
Created by New Zealand-based Genesis Energy, ElectroCity is a Flash-based RTS/simulation game which requires you to successfully be the mayor of, and run, manage, and control your own city. In the style of Sim City, Sierra, Age of Empires, and the tens of 90s’ RTS’s you’ve probably played, ElectroCity brings back the fun and excitement while teaching you a lot about — like you’ve never learnt before — alternative energy sources, taxation, sustainability and environmental management.
The game starts off with a simple 5×5 grid of a city with mountains, trees, windmill, river, sea, and a whole lot of resources. Your city has a population of 10,000, wealth of $400, and nothing else. Each part of the grid is clickable and depending on your wealth, you can build the appropriate resources — such as a marine generator in the sea, small gas turbine plant in by the river, or a skifield on the mountain. You can prospect land for natural resources and log forests. You can even run city-wide programmes.
Bare in mind a few things: every action has a cost and benefit of money, energy, happiness, population and pollution. For example, a small gas turbine plant costs $400, causes 4 pollution, reduces -2 population, but generates 70MW of power per turn and makes people happy. As the mayor, your job is weigh all these resources and build/destroy the right ones in your time, remembering that in 150 turns, your goal is to successfully build an economical city with a proportionately high balance of wealth, population, electricity supply, and environmental health.
After you take your desired action(s), you can increment through the turn counter, which acts as the time machine of the game. Depending on the benefits/costs of your actions, the variables of your city likewise. For example, increasing local body rates will decrease happiness but increase your wealth, and building a skifield will start increasing population but decreasing your energy resources.
Once you’ve gone through the 150 turns, your gameplay is evaluated and an overall marking scheme is handed to you. I happened to do fairly well with my city, with an overall score of 90/100. Out of this, I did well in population (25/25), environment (24/25), popularity (24/25), but fell a little short on energy management (17/25). Get a score of 96+ (if I had just built another damn turbine!), and I would have ranked at the top of the high scores list. I think it’s fair to say ElectroCity is the best Flash game ever. Give it a try!