Balance of the Planet for the iPad

I’m talking with Chris Crawford about bringing Balance of the Planet to the iPad.



For those of you who aren’t familiar with Chris’ work, the original Balance of the Planet was an environmental management simulation released in 1990. The goal of the “game” was to influence society towards a more sustainable ecological footprint by funding various subsidies with money raised by taxing polluters.



While trying to make things right, the player can also explore the causes and effects of various environmental problems through a point-and-click hypertext network of 154 factors.



Overall very advanced for its time with the ability to change the formulas behind the calculations and save your modifications as a bias – pro-nuclear, pro-environmentalist, pro-industry, etc.

In 2012 Chris launched a Kickstarter campaign to update Balance of the Planet. It failed to get funded.

You can download his prototype¬†here¬†(though it doesn’t have all the features shown in the video).

My iPad design follows Chris’ redesign – reducing the taxes from ten to six and the subsidies from thirteen to five.



 Couple of highlights about this design.

  • iPad only (maybe iPhone later)
  • Real time instead of turn-based (pause; speed increase/decrease controls at top)
  • Taxes/subsidies window touch scrolls (the charts flip 90 degrees in horizontal orientation)
  • Filterable chart built form top-to-bottom (vertical orientation) or left-to-right (horizontal orientation)
  • Cause/effect area to explore the hypertext network of causes and effects (displayed in chart area; pauses program)

I’ll post more about my design as it evolves.

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