You have no doubt seen the article by Max Coleman in the journal Scottish Forestry about CALEDON – a computer game about tree health – and followed this link to see what feedback I am soliciting for the review. So firstly, thanks for your curiosity.
I’m collecting views about CALEDON – about how it works as a game, how it meets its educational aims, and what you think of it as someone who knows about forestry.
If you are ready to share your thoughts on CALEDON, you can do so with this Google form.
Let’s start with a quick recap on what CALEDON is:
“A consortium of seven Scottish research institutes – Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh; The James Hutton Institute; Forest Research; SRUC; University of Aberdeen; The University of Edinburgh and Centre for Ecology and Hydrology – working with games designers Hyper Luminal Games have come up with CALEDON. The game falls within the survival strategy genre and aims to raise awareness of tree health problems, and communicate how we might go about ensuring trees are more resilient in the future.”
CALEDON can be played online and is also available for iPad in the App Store. If you’ve not already played it, go take a look and come back here afterwards. If you are playing online make sure you pick the correct option for your browser.
CALEDON has some educational objectives for school – which you can read here (the levels mentioned relate to around ages 13-16) – covering science, technologies, social studies and maths. In particular, the game is pitched with this description:
Can you save the nation’s forests? Invasive diseases, grazing animals and thieves run rampant in this strategy simulation game! Become master of an estate and create your very own forest! Plant and log the best trees, influence genetic diversity to find the perfect balance between growth, value and resilience. The future of our forests is in your hands.
– Explore the impacts of management on tree survival, forest wildlife and the landscape.
– Discover the importance of diversity as the basis of adaptation and future resilience.
– Experience the challenge of running a successful forestry business.
I have played the game quite a bit now. I have my own views on how well it meets the promise. But I’d also like to hear your thoughts, so I’ll keep my views to myself for the moment.
I will, however, say that I have been thinking about a forestry management game for many years – strategy games that had forests seemed to be all about logging to build… deforesting the landscape in the process with not even a whiff of wood being a renewable resource (correctly managed of course). I had high expectations when I saw this game – did it meet them? You will find out in due course. But first, I want to know what you think.
Dan Ridley-Ellis, May 2017