Interview with ISDEC, developers of “Elva the Eco Dragon”
Interview with ISDEC, developers of "Elva the Eco Dragon"
Hello Gaming Community,
Today we have an inspiring interview with ISDEC, the game developers of “Elva the Eco Dragon”. The game raises important environmental issues and increases awareness among young generations.
We talked to Peter Kratky, the main developer of the game, to learn more about the company’s vision on nature protection and how the gaming industry can help with it.
Tell us a bit about your company.
— ISDEC is a Spanish human resources company founded in 2011 in Barcelona, which has undertaken the development of educational and formative videogames. The idea is to create games that have an ethical message, allowing the player to reflect on different aspects of society. This doesn’t mean that adult games with violent elements can’t be created, but always in a controlled way and appropriate to the context. Never with explicit violence or against human rights. The main team working on the games is variable between two and four people.
Tell us about “Elva the Eco Dragon” and what this game is about?
— “Elva the Eco Dragon” is a game aimed at children and young people, whose main objective is to raise awareness among the new generations of the importance of caring for planet Earth in all aspects of life. To do so, we will start with simple tasks, such as cleaning different areas, controlling toxic products, and recycling all the garbage collected in the correct way. Tasks such as planting forests, extinguishing fires, or rescuing animals will also have to be accomplished. At other times we will have to clean the sea, and even go to space and the Moon. In the first case to clean the garbage that floats around the Earth, and in the second case to collect Helium, which will be used on Earth for fusion reactors. All this with simple language and without violence of any kind. Elva will obtain some superpowers during her journey to carry out all these objectives.
How did you come up with an idea for creating this game and why did you decide that it should raise environmental problems?
— I have been working on the idea of the extinction of the Earth since I was very young. After finishing a saga of fiction books on the subject, I understood that there had to be a more direct way to reach young people and children. I thought that a videogame was a natural way to bring Earth’s environmental problems to a young population totally devoted to videogames. Children, and not so children, can learn about the Earth’s problems while they play, and in this way raise their awareness of the need to take care of the planet. In any case, another game with a much more adult character, of strategy, and also based on a book, is in the development phase. A project that we will present in a few months, and which is much more ambitious.
What was the biggest challenge when you were developing this game and how did you overcome it?
— The biggest challenge was to design the game in a way that would not be interpreted as politically motivated or partisan. Unfortunately, many ideas about the conservation of the planet are believed to be directed from certain political tendencies, when it is a problem that concerns us all in general. We have partially achieved this objective, but there are still people who believe that politics is more important to us than the conservation of the Earth.
How do you think this game influences the players and their attitude and approach towards nature and environment?
— The game has been defined for children and youth, and that causes some adult players to see that it is not consistent in its mechanics with the idea of conservation of the planet. It is important to note that this game is designed mainly for children between three and twelve years old, and therefore its mechanics have to be adapted to those ages, with very important restrictions at all levels of gameplay and development. The new strategy game we are developing will be designed for adults, and there will be many aspects not present in Elva.
How does your team take care of the environment at work?
— At home we are very careful to separate all the material so that it goes to the right containers. Even oil, a very typical product in Spain, has its own recycling. The rest of the team, well, there is a bit of everything, but I think the general awareness is pretty good.
If you were in the government, what would you change in your country about environmental protection and fighting against climate change?
— I know this may cause controversy, but I would ban bullfights, “Toros in Spanish”, at least those where the animal is slaughtered to death. We believe it is a bloody tradition and out of any logical reasoning in the 21st century. We would also work much harder for renewable energies, although I have to say that Spain is leading the way in this area with several innovative ideas.
Do you think the gaming industry can have a big impact when it comes to protecting our nature, animals and forests and fighting against climate change?
— It would be, if there were a determination to do so. But there doesn’t seem to be the desire in general. I am not against games where everything is destroyed, I myself enjoy many action games, with violent elements. But they are games, and violence in games is understood in the context of adults playing them. However, I miss games and ideas that promote positive attitudes in favor of the planet. Again, we want to change that in a clear and decisive way. Whether we succeed or not will be seen later.
What advice would you like to give your community when it comes to environmental protection?
— My advice would be: we live in a world full of commodities, with very advanced technologies, with impressive communications systems, where all information is at our fingertips, and where we can play on sophisticated PCs and consoles with thousands of people around the world. That’s great, but it comes at a very high cost in materials, services, and energy. Let’s think, even once in a while, about finding new ways to conserve all those advantages in such a way that we don’t destroy the planet. For the sake of our children, taking care of the planet will be worth it. Thank you.
Thank you, Peter, for such a great interview and giving us a new perspective of how the gaming industry can help the environment!
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