John Douglass

1.   How do you define Erosion?

Short answer, the movement of rock debris through hillslope processes like landslides and debris flows, and the movement of rock debris through rivers and streams.

 Longer answer, erosion is a major part of a bigger geomorphic system.  First, plate tectonics forces new rock to the surface as new mountains.  Rain from the hydrologic cycle falls on this newly exposed rock and weathers it, breaking it down either chemically or physically.  Water is the second major input in the “geomorphic system”, the first being the uplifted rock.  Than erosion kicks in, first with hillslope processes like landslides and debris flows, which moves the weathered material to the rivers.  Rivers finish the erosive process by transporting the rock material.  The output to the geomorphic system is the water and sediment that drains off the continent into the ocean deltas, and by doing this completing the hydrologic and rock cycles.  If mountain building is more powerful than erosion, the continents grow.  If mountain building is less powerful than erosion, the continents flatten, and in between is the struggle that I am trying to simulate in the game Erosion.  


2.   What was the idea that led you to this project?

 I came up with the above diagram above to try and convey the geomorphic system to my students.  I would get very animated as tried to connect the dots between the different processes for them.  But for the most part, it was not effective.  Then, I thought if I could turn this into a game where they could experience being in control of a mountain that they are vigorously trying to uplift while other students are trying to erode it down and move the debris to their delta, they would have a much better understanding and appreciation.  I think it works, but I haven’t quantified that yet.


3.   Which is the target public for Erosion?

 I would say geology enthusiasts that would enjoy a game with a theme about erosion with some different strategic options.  But the main target is people like you, teachers that would be interested in having their students learn about Erosion through a fun but challenging game.


4.   Have you a new project to edit that you can reavel us something?

 I am currently helping Phil Eklund with a deeply researched game about the exploration and development of the solar system.  I personally have a game in development about tornadoes, where players are storms trying to generate the biggest tornado possible.  In the far future, I have a cooperative game about volcanologists running around the planet trying to evacuate threatened cities, and another game in the “Erosion” universe that focuses on glaciers.

Dear, John Douglass

Thank you so much.