I wish there was a game which would get the physical foundations right* so that the ecology could be put on as a topping. What I imagine is something like a Civilization, where each map cell would be like 1 km2 and you could define what industries would be in that cell (perhaps even design the content of each cell). Each cell would contain a little piece of civilization and/or nature. These cells would then exchange different materials with each other, according to conservation laws.
That could be used to educationally model ecology very nicely.
Most games of this type will focus on military and/or logistical challenges of civilization. But this game would focus on production chains, land/resource use and sustainability.
(*IMHO, the way to get the physical foundations right is to do proper accounting of materials. So in the game, you never really ever destroy anything, you just transform it. If you need to round a number for some reason, then it would become part of some global pool of "waste", from which it could be later retrieved by some industrial process.)
RPGs don't simulate pooping, normally, because who cares.
Yet, I sunk many hours into the first game as a kid and enjoyed 3 and 4 as an adult (2 was a bit of an in-between for me). Ironically, I think it's the life simulator aspect that makes it fun. It's an escapist sandbox where you can play out "real" life without consequence. Maxis was smart to realize that what was fun was the player's choices, and not so much the game mechanics itself.
That was really funny. Thanks for the laugh, needed that today.
Mine a bunch of iron ore out of the ground? Your storage container has to be just as big as the amount of iron that you dug up. Oh, also all those rocks that you dug up to GET to the iron have to go somewhere as well.
You even create physical "waste" blocks that have to be stored somewhere, preferably underground and away from any running water.
That would be even more educating but might stop being fun, as players would most certainly not agree on what to spend their money on. But on the other hand, if you would just offer the technology to extract valuable materials from waste at a cheap supermarket price you would just shift the realism gap to another part by giving them an easy solution to their problem.
Also, just too many reasons for other players to write and enforce rules. Gave the impression that environmentalism is all about established players bossing around the new guys. Too many on-point messages kill the fun.
Would anyone play minecraft if they had to get permission from an admin before digging a mine?
Edit: HN is funny. I could have downvoted the PP, and nobody would complain. Instead, I explain what I think is wrong with it... and get downvoted. I really think downvoting motivates people to silently disagree, as opposed to having a discussion.
Not to mention, Eco seems to be quite different game to what I am proposing. It might also have the mechanic of exact accounting for resources, but it remains to be seen how rigorous that is.
I thing i did hear about this game a while back and apparently decided it wasn't something for me, even though i liked Factorio. But cannot remember why.
In any case, I think a game with first-person focus (like Minecraft or Eco) and a game with civilization focus (like Civilization or Sim City or Transport Tycoon or even Factorio to an extent) are very very different style. They might touch same topics, but the challenges are different.
If anything is similar to what I propose, it would be Block'n'Hood (which also has global warming, I believe). But again, the scale is different. What I would like to see is something that would really put, for example, Vaclav Smil's books into a game.
I'm surprised there hasn't been more in this genre.
More info and a download at: http://www.old-games.com/download/413/global-effect
Its nice the readme goes into detail on some lesson plan ideas. Global warming is such an abstract problem and if you can tie it to individual's behaviors inside a (small) simulated world, it can be a very powerful teaching tool.
I'll add education edition support to my roadmap. Thanks!
As you bring this project to maturity, if you're interested in the education context, you'll want to optimize for setup time. Educators and techs that help them are hugely time constrained in a school setting so the quicker they can get a lesson running the better. If setup takes considerable time (5-10min?) or domain expertise, it's a nonstarter.
Would you consider making a Minetest version?
I'll consider making a Minetest version, but I'd have to review their Lua modding api to see if it'd be feasible.
It's not like Minecraft is a business tool that you're teaching to school kids, who will then go on to use it when they graduate. It's an educational tool.
This would be like complaining that Carl Sagan's Cosmos or Bill Nye the Science Guy are copyrighted videos.
No. That would be like complaining that we don't have a license to inspect the details of and fix errors in those videos. Free software is usually not in the public domain. To be honest, it would be nice to have that option with videos (or text books!) that you get. I've worked as a teacher before -- I would definitely have exercised that option if it were available (Especially as I was teaching English as a foreign language -- I would have loved to do voice overs for some of the material I had to present). As another aside, you have no idea how much I would have loved to use assets from textbooks that we were forced to buy rather than write/draw my own from scratch -- Over 5 years, I practically had to write my own text book.
But both the point you are making and the one you are trying to refute are quite valid. By putting software in the school system, you are effectively training people to use that software. Sure, it's not software that people have to use, but it's still software that people will choose to use.
On the one hand, it's great to use Minecraft in school, because a lot of kids already play Minecraft. In this case, that's really the point. If you put in a free software project that is similar to Minecraft, it probably won't be as engaging to students.
Free software, on the other hand, opens up opportunities that you won't have with non-free alternatives. It allows people to use the software for any purpose as opposed the the purposes allowed in most educational licenses. It allows people to study and learn from the source code. It allows people to modify the code and to help their friends by sharing their modifications.
In short, both for motivated teachers and students, free software licenses are dramatically better than most academic licenses for software. I agree that you might still choose something else, but ignoring the value that a better license gives you is cutting off your nose to spite your face.
I imagine the disappointment in the face of the bright kid of the class when he asks the teacher to see how the game actually works. Still, it's better than no game at all, I guess.
There's a number of mods around education for it:
And here's a somewhat elaborate discussion on using it in class: https://forum.minetest.net/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=9482
It also has a really good modding API in Lua, which you could probably get middle school students to have fun with and actually create something in a video game.
The reality is two-fold:
Proprietary software is used universally, so learning some of it will make you more marketable later on and help you in life. Knowing excel / word is valuable because many companies run on those pieces of software to some large degree.
Secondly, it's pragmatic; there's no real viable option to using proprietary intel or amd hardware while using any computer, so we must use them.
As a student, you should be able to install the software that you use in class on your PC at home, without having to jump through infinite hoops or asking your parents to buy it for you.
Sure, Microsoft Office, you can sort of expect to need and need again in the future. But with other software, you can hardly guess how often you're going to be using it.
So, you're not going to buy it just to play around with it at home. You might even skip doing homework, if it's too much hassle to install.
A required internet connection can also be particularly inpairing, depending on your situation. I was for example provided an educational version of Matlab in university, but ended up mostly learning in GNU Octave (which was thankfully fantastic), because I traveled to university by train and so did most of my learning in the train, where I had no internet connection.
Another example is me having to pirate an outdated version of Delphi in middle school, because we were writing a program with that in school, that I wanted to continue at home. The teacher did not intend for anyone to continue working at home, so we weren't provided an educational version or similar. The version of Delphi we used was also so old that you actually couldn't buy it anymore.
Lastly, if you can't transfer your LibreOffice knowledge to Microsoft Office, I don't think you should claim any particular computer skills on your CV.
We're not talking about rocket science being done in Excel. You generally only need the most basic of features, which function almost identically even in Gnumeric.
Actually, I don't think that's an absurd consequence of the argument: maybe children shouldn't be writing their documents using proprietary software; maybe their computers shouldn't contain proprietary microcode.
In the case of Word, one might make the counter-argument that it is very powerful; another might then make the counter-counter-argument that alternatives to Word in 2018 are more powerful than Word was years ago, and yet somehow we all managed to write well all those years ago. I'm a bit weird, so I think children should be taught to write longhand, and then typeset their papers with LaTeX.
In the case of proprietary microcode, I think it's pretty obvious that the world would be better if we could all trust our CPUs.
I think kids play minecraft too much already. I would much prefer it if we gave students shovels and let them dig up an empty plot of land in _real life_.
Not compared with not burning the wood, but using it in something like construction, where the carbon dioxide remains locked up 
This sounds right to me. Having trees which keep reducing carbon levels without any effort would mean that low levels of burning have no effect on CO2.
It's as if a unit of wood was gathering ever more and more carbon, but only released a fraction upon burning.
[Edit] The tree farm in isolation does not help with CO2 - but using wood in ways that preserve it (e.g. for furniture) does.
Study finds fungi responsible for most carbon sequestration in northern forests. 
"... they found that 47 percent of soil carbon found on large island samples came about due to fungi, as did a whopping 70 percent of carbon in small island soil samples. Thus far, the team is only able to guess why there are such differences in the soils, but theorize it's likely due to differences in decomposition rates.
The amount of carbon stored in northern forests and how, is important because such trees cover approximately 11 percent of the Earth's surface and recent research has calculated that they hold approximately 16 percent of all worldwide sequestered carbon. "
if left alone, a tree will produce over 80% of it's O2 in the first 3 years. even if it lives 1000 years. which is exactly how old they are when farmed. It's the best O2 for the buck you can get.
How does the energy used to transport and process, say, paper compare to the energy used working with electronic documents?
Estimated mass of Mt. Everest: 450 billion tons (I went with the answer from the person who used terrain contour data):
It admittedly would be pretty awesome, if impractical, to build two Mount Everests per decade from CO2-captured-as-limestone.
Building things out of CO2 captured as minerals, building things out of CO2 captured as wood: they're fine ideas, but they are also grossly inadequate to offset current emission rates. That's why every plan for curbing AGW starts with deep emissions cuts. It's a lot easier to not emit CO2 in the first place than to capture CO2 that has already been emitted. Plans for negative emissions are still necessary but they can't deal with tens of billions of tons of CO2 per year.
Assuming there is a goal is zero net CO2 added to the atmosphere, that 37 Gt emitted is an upper bound of what needs to be sequestered.
Apparently the total amount of construction material used is around 50 Gt per year.
So, that doesn't seem unreasonable to me.
I'd like to see mod support. Different machines should have different CO2 output (eg coal coke oven, coal generators). It would change the incentives of switching to green energy production, like electric machines with solar panels.
I wonder how it handles unloaded chunks.
I guess that wouldn't account for continued tree growth or burning in the chunk you just left though...
We all burned at least one house down.
It is after all a game, if Thaumcraft's insanity mechanic drove your character to suicide or the Space mods actually left you adrift in empty space forever if you make the mistake of jumping off a space station that would not be fun.
Rather annoying it won't work with Forge, would be interesting to have to deal with this when your base runs on gigantic coal boilers from some of the Tech mods or using Magic to offset your CO2 footprint.
I might setup a server with this and limit resources to see how it turns out with a couple players (build a wall around 0x0, 256 by 256 blocks long, delete everything else) once some resources turn scarce.
1. Boreal forests catch fire on hotter/higher CO2 (like they are in California now)
2. Temperate areas get terraformed to deserts if possible
3. Health heals slower, or not at all on high CO2 due to environmental effects
4. Sources of fire increase their sparking distance in which flammable things catch on fire easier. Encourages easier spread of forest fires and player-crafted fires.
5. Water turns acidic, and deals slow damage. (Like the coral reefs)
One of my current challenges is coming up with a balanced model, since I dont have any real server player data to analyze. Of course it will be configurable, but i'd like for the default models not spiral to a destroyed world quickly...
I understand the why, but limiting it to new growth breaks from reality. Co2 reduction farms will be barren fields of saplings, atop mob grinders to create feralizer.
I wish survival was more of a challenge.
AFAIK acid rain and global warming are separate things. Global warming is caused mostly by CO2, while acid rains are caused mostly by SO2 and NOx.
SO2 and NOx are very nasty due to their tendency to form sulfuric and nitric acid, hence acid rains. However, they also cause global cooling by reflecting incoming radiation.
It looks like that mod is not really about global warming but pollution in general, which is fine, but calling it "global warming" does more harm than good IMHO.
You are right though, we should keep things entirely factually accurate. I removed the acid rain section and scratched the plans to implement it.
Hydrogen-heavy fuels like light oil and natural gas are the only fuels that burn cool enough to not produce significant amounts of acid.
1. Burn a tree in-place.
2. Harvest wood blocks, and destroy them (lava, fire, cactus, TNT or creepers, abandoned until disappear.)
3. Same as above, but throwing stacks of wood-derived items like sticks, doors, boats, etc.
4. A wood-derived item which is placed and then destroyed by item-specific mechanics (boat crash, tool breakage)
Burning a tree however should incur some penalty, after all - wildfires are a positive feedback loop in reality and it'd be trivial to detect.
Might have to deviate from the idea that the global carbon score is the sum of everyones individual carbon score, since there will certainly be lots of events which contribute CO2 without player intervention.
In terms of minimizing exploits, perhaps the easiest approach is to pre-compute a carbon score for all blocks and items, and then focus on catching all the situations where those blocks/items can be destroyed. By default, assume 100% of the carbon goes back into the biosphere, and then write special-case logic for stuff like boats breaking into wood.
A few more what-ifs:
* If players toss wood-bits into the deep sea to disappear (as opposed to letting them disappear on land) should that count as sequestering it? Or would that almost be too easy?
* I forgot about trades -- if a villager provides/accepts wood, perhaps it is best to assume it was just freshly grown or is about to be burnt.
* Other dimensions. What should happen if players make a gate into a room in the Nether and do all their smelting there? Alas, we don't have that option in real life :P
It's much more complex than this mod I believe but still in early release.
The sample damages I provided are mostly for illustration so development can have some guidance.
I'd prefer buying carbon offsets doing exactly nothing as in real life. It is a cheat that's not benefiting anyone.
However, in MC where is the profit and does a carbon credit actually encourage players to try to do something seems interesting thing to see.
14.0 C - No effects [Baseline]
14.5 C - | Minor changes |
15.0 C - | Localized Acid Rain | Some mobs spawn less | Some mobs spawn more |
16.0 C - | +1 Sea Level Rise | Tropical fish die |
17.0 C - |Global Acid Rain | Some trees no longer grow | +1 Sea Level Rise | Coral Reefs die |
18.0 C - |Noxious Area Potion Effect Clouds | Farm yields decrease | +2 Sea Level Rise | All Snow/Ice melts |
19.0 C - | All fish die | Random Forest Fires | Slower Health Regen |
20.0 C - "Devastation".. Highly polluted chunks get permanent severe area potion effects, forest fires, etc
This seems...not quite the right message to send people. (Though it's not exactly wrong when you take into account climate refugees and resource wars)