Frequently Asked Questions
We wondered about that for a long time, too. The idea came out of a scientific context, so we thought for a long time we had to avoid the word “game.”
But it looks like a game to the participants, feels like a game, and even contains many elements of game theory from a scientific perspective.
It is a serious, scientific game.
SCIARA is many games with different simulation scenarios. Each scenario can be lived through in multiple games (called simulation runs by us).
Each scenario can have a different design appropriate to the topic and participant group. In fact, each participant role can even get its own user interface: A politician a different one than a citizen, a manager in turn a completely different one.
Definitely, if you are curious about the future! It’s a cooperative simulation game that lets you explore, create, and understand possible climate futures – along with many other participants
Little action, but lots of insight.
Create the best life possible according to your own values and needs in a world that is changing due to climate change, climate action and the evolution of society. We don’t prescribe those values for you – whether you’re a climate activist, normally barely concerned with climate change or a skeptic.
The only given are the scientific models that calculate the positive and negative consequences for the world from the decisions of all participants.
Not at all. Or better: you determine that for yourself. In general: if you have made exciting experiences for yourself in the game and learned something.
And if you are concerned about the course of climate change, you might also feel like a winner if you, together with the other participants, manage to achieve the climate goals of your city, your industry, your country or the world – depending on the simulation scenario.
But if you’re skeptical about climate change or what to do about it, you might chalk it up as a success if you convinced others of your opinion.
We believe that we will succeed in motivating people from all walks of life to participate in SCIARA simulation games.
“What might my life with climate change and climate action look like in concrete terms – and how can I shape that according to my own values and needs?”
This is the basic motivation for participation that is easy for most citizens to understand. And it’s independent of one’s opinion on climate change
Even climate change skeptics are likely to be concerned about this question – after all, climate change and the measures are coming in one form or another anyway. So why not learn what it might feel like and participate in implementing the most socially viable solutions?
Other motivations for participation that do not depend on one’s stance on climate change could include:
- be seen with one’s values and needs by decision makers,
- contribute to socially viable climate action,
- support science,
No. We do game-based social simulation experiments that can be used to identify likely patterns of behavior and decision-making in response to ongoing climate change, climate change mitigation measures, and their deployment strategies, based on realistic frameworks.
Reality will most likely be different because of unpredictable influences. But not completely different, as Douglas Adams would write.
A survey is an unverifiable snapshot of what respondents are willing to reveal about themselves at any given moment. A variety of influences distort the results here. In particular, survey participants* are not confronted with the possible consequences of their answers.
SCIARA simulations let participants act and decide subject to realistic trade-offs over an extended period of time – with vivid visualization of the consequences of their choices.
We believe, along with many scientists and scholars who work with us, that there is much greater potential for insight in this approach.
No, participation is free of charge.
SCIARA is funded by shareholder equity, public funding, donations, and paid contracts from decision-makers in politics, business, and society who want to test climate protection measures in SCIARA simulation runs.
We can’t force this, of course. But we can encourage you, as an interested participant, to behave as closely as possible to reality in SCIARA in a variety of ways:
You do want to know what the future is likely to actually bring. With SCIARA, you can extrapolate your own biography into actual possible futures. That seems much more exciting to us than just doing anything.
You may also want to contribute to general scientific knowledge.
Participants start with their real life conditions and are subject to realistic trade-offs. How they choose to adapt their lifestyles to changing circumstances depends primarily on their own values and needs. To behave differently for a longer period of time – even in a simulation game – is exhausting.
We will visualize the effects of our own decisions and those of all participants in a scientifically correct, but realistically engaging way.
We will set up simulation runs where participants can “let off steam” and experiment with alternative lifestyles. That way, they won’t “have to” do it in the simulation runs, which are designed to determine realistic behavior.
Destructive trolls will of course be excluded from participation.
There is a long list of good reasons for not continuing participation in a simulation run that have nothing at all to do with SCIARA, but are primarily related to each person’s own life situation.
If none of these apply, we see the following reasons why you should stick with it:
- Curiosity to see what happens next
- Your desire to contribute to the quality of the science experiment behind each simulation run
- Your desire not to “leave the other participants hanging”
- Earning community status points for sticking with it
An important goal in SCIARA is to achieve meaningful results by having representative participants. To be able to cast the simulation runs in a representative way, we need to know all their characteristics that are important for the composition of the group of participants in the simulation scenario.
A second important point is the analysis of the results. Here, the (strictly anonymized) data from the simulation run will also be evaluated in terms of which population groups predominantly make which decisions, in order to understand, if necessary, how the tested climate protection measures can be adapted so that they receive the greatest possible acceptance from all.
We are extremely aware that you will only provide us with honest information about your circumstances if we protect your data optimally against access for other purposes and do not publish it in a form that can be related to you, and we do not pass it on to our clients.
That’s why we store your data in two parts: First, we need part of your data so that you can log in to our site. For this, we do not need your clear name and your exact residential address (only your zip code), but we do need your email address, by which you can be identified as the owner of your account in extreme cases.
Any other data that we receive from you and that arise in the course of the games are stored separately. The connection between the two can only be made by our software, not from the data itself.
In results data that we publish or provide to our clients, we remove even this possibility.
We expect you to spend 5-15 minutes per day in most simulation runs over several days or weeks.
This can vary greatly depending on the game scenario, from near real-time to hundreds or even thousands of times faster than real time.
This allows future years and decades to be played out in a matter of days to weeks.
The acceleration is limited primarily by the fact that participants must still be able to communicate sufficiently about developments and events in the simulated world to create realistic social dynamics.
Yes: Your own way, no matter which one that is. We run the simulations completely open-ended. Your most realistic behavior is what we want it to be – lock, stock and barrel.
And, of course, we ask that you behave courteously and constructively toward other participants and the SCIARA team, and we will enforce this consistently in the event of gross violations.
The term climate sensitivity refers to the increase in average temperature at the Earth’s surface when the CO2 concentration doubles as a steady state is reached. Our currently used climate model (pyhector) currently shows a climate sensitivity of about 4 degrees. This is at the upper end of the range given in the latest IPCC report. Why do we think this is reasonable?
The most current climate models, which will be included in the next IPCC report, show a high climate sensitivity of about 3.7 degrees on average. We consider this to be the best available science. The simple model we use is close to that. Foreseeably, we intend to replace the climate model pyhector with MAGICC and thus move closer to current models.
For us, the climate crisis is completely non-partisan. It affects people of all political persuasions and there is no negotiating with the underlying laws of physics.
Correspondingly, SCIARA is as ideologically neutral as possible. People with the most diverse political inclinations work for us – from conservative “right” to the progressive “left”. We are motivated by the absolute will to do something clearly measurable against the climate crisis and to use our skills and resources together in the most effective way.
What unifies us is the sciences: Earth system sciences, mathematics, logic and computer science, but also and especially the social sciences. SCIARA is at heart a social science project, made possible by a massive amount of natural science and software development.