Trees play an important role in the maintenance of the environment around us reducing floods, winds, erosion, and air pollutants and dampening local climates through evaporative cooling. Furthermore, they provide food, lumber, and habitats for wildlife. Despite these impacts, trees can often be overlooked, leading to deforestation and loss of their benefits. The aim of this project is to create a tree simulation game which is realistic and engaging while imparting a deeper understanding of the roles trees play in the environment. These roles are to be demonstrated by facilitating the exploration of how trees interact with the various resources present in that environment. To simulate the dynamics of trees, the various processes they undergo (photosynthesis, growth, respiration, etc.) must be mathematically modeled. The game accomplishes this via Farquhar’s model of photosynthesis which calculates the effects of environmental factors on the rate of photosynthesis. The player is then given an interface through which they can observe these effects through the growth of the trees and the modification of atmospheric content. The interface also allows the player to modify these environmental factors. While the game does not completely capture all the processes trees undergo nor all the benefits they produce, it demonstrates the dynamics between photosynthesis and the atmosphere and can function to provoke further interest in the subject of trees.
Semester/Year of Award
George V. Landon
Mentor Professional Affiliation
Restricted Access Thesis
Richburg, Henry W., "Programming Trees: Creating an Interactive Digital Simulation" (2017). Honors Theses. 457.