Continual research is the backbone of the content I produce for clients, in addition to much of my non-working life. At any one time, there’s several active threads of research.

Constant thread #1
My core research interests are representations of the cryosphere, and sea level changes, in digital games. Consequently, I’m continually monitoring the research base for articles, papers, presentations and other materials which cover these interests.

Constant thread #2
Climate change, energy transition (e.g. fossil fuel to renewables), and the associated science, economics, politics and social effects form a sprawling and complex field of study. Keeping up with the continually evolving, and wide-ranging, body of research would, in itself, be a full-time occupation; on the other hand, ignoring it will leave me without the context of my specific niche research interests.

Consequently, I selectively keep up with the research and scientific aspects of this field.

Mini research project #1
I’m currently (informally) locating and collecting examples of digital games which feature the cryosphere in some way. This could be either as background scenery, or as a “surface” attribute (there are many games where you race over ice or snow), or in a more meaningful interactive way.

Cryosphere-themed games, or game environments or levels, have been around as long as video games themselves. Early examples include the arcade game Pengo, and Frostbite on the Atari 2600. Ice and snow-covered landscapes regularly form backdrops to player activity – for example, the wide range of snowscapes from the Super Mario franchise, and the ice cavern in Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Some landscapes are designed with no adherance to real-world landscapes, though some – such as the Southern Shelf in Borderlands 2, or the north coast of the 60 million unit selling Skyrim – contain attributes which accurately mimic an Antarctic landscape.

Cryosphere landscapes are often used in horror or exploration games, such as The Long Dark, the video game adaptation of The Thing, and Penumbra: Overture, which is set in Greenland. More contemporary examples include Never Alone, where you play as a young IƱupiat girl and an arctic fox to find the source of a neverending blizzard.

There are many other examples which could be added, including just about every game featuring a ‘winter sport’, and many popular console and PC franchises. However; while finding and listing games containing ice is easy, more interesting aspects for study are the accuracy of how the cryosphere is represented, and games where a player can interact with, or change, or affect in some other way, their environment.

Mini research project #2
There is a second mini-project I’m working on. However, it is an extremely specific niche in the intersection of the cryosphere and digital games which will result in 1, possibly 2, academic papers. Consequently, because of the anonymous aspect of publication peer review, I can’t put details here until (hopefully) at least the first paper has successfully gone through this process.

Larger areas of ice, floating just off the southeast coast of Greenland