Pokémon Climate Redux Proto-Type Video

Here’s a look at a prototype for a climate-themed Pokémon fan game. I worked on this as part of an assignment for one of my master’s courses a few months back.

This prototype follows a short story line that sees the player bring a sea otter-like Pokémon, Oshawott, to the neighboring island town of Beach Town. The local ecology lab has started a kelp forest restoration project because a sea urchin-like Pokémon, Pincurchin, has overwhelmed the habitat. The player is tasked with removing the Pincurchin and to restore the kelp forest. Once the Pincurchin have been removed, the player can return to see that the Pincurchin Barrens have been transformed into a kelp forest where new Pokémon can be found.

The research for this proto-type revolved around better understanding the sea otter trophic cascade, kelp restoration projects, and the impact of both on the environment. It turns out there are a lot of factors in these two systems so while not all of these factors were addressed (e.g. whaling causing killer whales to start eating seels, sea lions, and sea otters) I attempted to hint at them. Additionally, a lot of my research fell into the technical aspects of developing this prototype. I arguably spent equal parts researching the science of sea otters and kelp forests as I did researching the coding and development aspects of this program.

Trophic cascades are powerful indirect interactions that can control entire ecosystems. Trophic cascades occur when predators limit the density and/or behavior of their prey and thereby enhance survival of the next lower trophic level.

Silliman & ANGELini, Nature

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