Project Oikos by Ubisoft
© 2019 Ubisoft
Teaches: Ecology, ecosystem balance, environmental thinking, co-operation
Your mission? To balance an ecosystem by keeping a pond clean, eating prey, avoiding predators and helping species to reproduce to keep populations in check. If any species goes extinct it's game over, and if one species overpopulates, especially the ones with an appetite, it can...
Your mission? To balance an ecosystem by keeping a pond clean, eating prey, avoiding predators and helping species to reproduce to keep populations in check. If any species goes extinct it's game over, and if one species overpopulates, especially the ones with an appetite, it can mean a swift extinction for their prey. Currently a prototype, this is a co-operative multiplayer experience that is ideal for two players. You can switch on-the-fly to control the four species who inhabit pond: Birds, fish, worms and water lilies. You have full control over your actions, so if a bird player wants to dive bomb and eat all the fish in the pond, you can easily do so. You can also see your co-op partner, meaning if they happen to be edible for you, you can sweep down and unceremoniously eat them. No worries though, on death you respawn immediately controlling one of the remaining creatures. Though you'll likely lose playing these ways, this kind of open-ended play allowing for experimentation is good to see, and provides a lesson in its own way: Being 'the best' or competing at the game isn't necessarily good for the ecosystem. You have to think about yourself in the context of the whole, and how you can help keep it stable. One situation we encountered had only two worms left alive, both controlled by humans. In a panicked moment we had to mate our worms to save the species, an awkward but laugh-inducing exchange. Just to clarify the mating is non-visual, you hold a button when close by and after a second a new creature is born, viola, the miracle of life. We would love to see more intricacies at play as Project Oikos develops: Maybe water lilies also need a certain amount of algae in the water, so worms shouldn't eat all the plants that reduce cleanliness, lest the water lilies can't live in the environment. Even better would be different biomes as unique stages that offer insight into the delicate balance of creatures in a desert, or in the ocean. Anticipate more coverage on this educational multiplayer game as it develops. More information available at https://bit.ly/2OB6uGz