INFRA: A Video Game with a Purpose
The theme of Infra 2016, held in Helsinki in March, was the future of infrastructure management. One of the presentations that caught my eye was about INFRA – a new video game. I had the opportunity to interview Oskari Samiola, the CEO of Loiste Interactive, the game’s developer.
How did you become interested in infrastructure?
Even as a kid, I was interested in systems: how societies work, how logistics function, where a city gets its water, and so on. In elementary school, my favorite subject was history, especially Roman history and how Romans used aqueducts. My interest in systems has just kept on growing ever since.
At some point your interest materialized into a game. What triggered you to start developing a game on infrastructure?
In summer 2011 I saw a TV documentary called The Crumbling of America. The show warned of the total collapse of the built infrastructure in the USA due to negligence. I figured it could be a great theme for a mod (video game modification) or a game. I contacted my game-developing friends. We started off right away, and gradually the project began to snowball.
When did you realize that is could become a commercial product?
I had that in mind from the get-go. In 2013, we submitted the game to the Steam Greenlight program and got the right to publish it on Steam. That was when we realized that this would become a commercial product. Immediately, we founded our company, Loiste Interactive, and started raising money.
How did you succeed in fundraising?
We got most of the money from our families and friends, and a few angel investors joined in.
When did you release the game?
We released INFRA on the 15th of January on Steam. You can download the game for $15.
What is the objective in INFRA?
The player is an engineer for the city of Stalburg with the mission of assessing the condition of the city’s water supply network. The player has to take photos of the broken components, solve problems, and acquire information in order to proceed. At the same time, the player must discover what led to the poor shape of the water system.
The player must identify all the critical issues the city’s maintenance team needs to repair as soon as possible. In fact, the player’s actions determine the future of the city. The city can either be saved or – as was the case in the documentary – everything collapses.
Would you say that INFRA has a societal and political dimension and a message for decision-makers?
How can our readers start playing INFRA?
Just go to Steam, purchase the PC game for $15, and download it to your computer.
How much interest has there been in the game so far?
There has been interest already, and we’re looking forward to releasing the second part of the game.
Title image courtesy of Loiste Interactive