One place where ideas come from. Whether or not they’re good ideas is up for debate.

A year ago, March 2020, an idea came to me about connecting real-world environmental data to a video game in the cloud. I’d been writing a lot about Microsoft Azure and talking to a lot of friends in the video game industry when I realized how climate data and game data can mingle and influence each other.

This was the month we went into lockdown. By April, I thought I’d contracted Covid-19, but a home test distributed by the Gates Foundation came back negative, leaving me wondering if I’d shoved that swab far enough up my nose. I started my…

Just one of the many ways Microsoft can get closer to nature.

Microsoft’s business right now reminds me of the story of the invention of the world’s most ubiquitous, delicious treat.

While the International Dairy Foods Association, an organization whose authority on such questions should never be in doubt, credits Italian immigrant Italo Marchiony as the inventor of the ice cream cone in 1896, popular opinion has it that the frozen novelty appeared at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. …

Cell towers, Chelan, Washington

What if we actually succeed in confronting our climate emergency?

This isn’t how we usually regard our twenty-first century condition. We tend to go straight to Mad Max and The Road, envisioning dystopian scenarios that involve dead landscapes, tricked-out rides, cannibalism, and Charlize Theron being a badass. It’s challenging to listen to what the scientists are telling us and resist spiraling deep into a vortex of flagrant and unremitting anguish.

But what if we do actually pull this off? What happens when the numbers start heading in the opposite direction, when every year is a bit cooler than the last…

Photo: Ryan Boudinot, Illustration: Pete Hilgendorf

A technological solution to confront our climate crisis, integrated with the cyclical processes of nature, should itself be cyclical in nature.

Here’s an example. It is now possible to connect environmental data to video games in the cloud to heal our planet. Every technology we’d need to make this happen exists right now.

The earth is overlaid with a growing and interconnected network of sensors, monitors, and instruments, augmented by direct observations of scientists working in the field, that oversee the health of our soil, air, and water. Much of the data that’s collected using GIS, LiDAR, IoT, and other…

Ryan Boudinot

Author and game designer living in the Pacific Northwest. Co-founder of the game studio Boudinot/Sigismondi.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store