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Sat, Feb. 17th, 2007, 07:27 pm
Creative Act, 2/17

Today’s creative act is brief - but, I hope, interesting - due to Lupercalia starting very imminently. I’m off for debauchery. Rock.

Windmill

This one’s a teeny-tiny relaxation game that you play on - inspired by a discussion I had with one of my students - an iPod. The concept is about wind. The wheel of the iPod becomes your windmill. Based on the sound of the wind, you have to find the right speed to run your thumb around the wheel. Find the right speed and your windmill will produce energy. The player receives audio cues to tell them when their thumb speed is too fast or too slow, so that they can correct in the right direction.

A player’s windmill has two underlying stats: energy and damage. The player gains energy by turning the windmill in time with the wind. Turn it too fast, though, and it’ll start costing you energy to turn the windmill! However, turning it too slow is just as dangerous. You’ll gain a little bit of energy, but your windmill will also take damage as you do.

A game session ends when a player chooses to quit the game, when the windmill stores its maximum charge of energy for the day, or when the windmill takes enough damage that it can no longer be used. In the latter two cases, the player cannot play again until they have synched their computer with the iPod.

When the player synchs their iPod with the computer, their energy is transferred into their larger energy stash. This might happen within iTunes, or it might happen on a web page that the application pops up. The player can then choose to spend some of that energy repairing their windmill. The player’s total score and standing in the game is calculated based on their accumulated energy reserve, so having to repair one’s windmill often will bring a player’s score down. Scores and play histories are available on the game’s site, with weekly rankings and other social play features.

This game seems ripe to be tied into a discussion about alternate energy sources, i.e. wind power. Imagine letting players turn their points in the game into alternative energy credits that they can give to family and friends to encourage them to switch to sustainable sources of power! I imagine kids going to their parents and saying, “Mom, Dad, I saved you money on your first electric bill if you switch to wind power, because I’m a wind power master!”

Of course, that would really require some marketing muscle and some way to make it financially sustainable. If this could be tied to an existing green energy program, that might work.