Launching in two weeks, SimCity Societies has a new feature set for creating cities based on the societal values of "productivity, prosperity, creativity, spirituality, authority, and knowledge," according to the Electronic Arts site. As the New York Times previously reported, Electronic Arts partnered with BP (formerly British Petroleum) to develop "a more nuanced power generation and pollution simulation." Today, Scientific American looks at SimCity Societies and how it's meant to model societal evolution. From the article:
The goal is to produce a high level of "societal energy," by developing a city with one or more of the game's six values. Societal energy is a fairly intangible force, but players know they have it when their cities grow and their citizens are happy and productive. "If you put the city together right, it has the right energy," says Rachel Bernstein, producer of SimCity Societies. Players place buildings within their cities in order to maximize the values most important to them, whether they are productivity and prosperity or creativity and spirituality...
BP saw its role as helping EA–and by extension SimCity players–understand the role of electricity in climate change. "Globally, twice as many emissions come from generating electricity than from all forms of transportation–planes, trains, cars and others," says Carol Battershell, vice president for strategy and policy at the company's subsidiary, BP Alternative Energy.
"We wanted there to be a range of power sources and an understanding of the impact of each, including local pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and the willingness of people to live next to energy-producing facilities," she adds. "SimCity is a strategy game, and these have been shown to be a good for helping people understand complex issues."