Download Alternex (PC, requires the XNA 3.0 Redistributable)

Alternex is an educational game about alternative energy strategies. It won 2nd place in the 2009 Imagine Cup Game Development competition. (Read all about it: 1, 2)

My goal with Alternex was to make an educational game that delivered its payload through the gameplay rather than through basic theming, text, or extrinsic rewards. The final product is lightweight, but effective toward this goal.

Alternex tries to model several tricky issues related to alternative energy research and deployment. For example, some alternative energy collection can only take place on certain terrain, and altering the power grid to account for the extra distance from population centers can be expensive. This is modeled in the game with special terrain limitations and a cost for extra distance from cities.

Another example lives in the dynamics: since it’s never clear what a technology will look like after years of intense research, it is often useful to research several technologies at the same time, even if only one will eventually be implemented on a grand scale. In Alternex, the player must sometimes engage in redundant or unpromising research to mitigate the risks of pursuing a single technology.