SSE Thermal, part of SSE Plc, and Abertay University have teamed up in the race to reach net zero, setting a challenge to a group of students to design a video game based around carbon capture and storage (CCS).

A contest, or a ‘Game Jam’, was held at the Dundee-based university in July and saw teams submit concepts for an educational interactive video game about CCS. The winning entry was chosen by figures from game design studios Junkfish and Biome Collective.

The winners will have four weeks to fully realise their idea and turn it into a fully playable game. Funding will be provided by SSE Thermal, in addition to paying the participants for work.

Considered a leading university for computer games degrees, Abertay’s School of Design and Informatics was the first in the world to offer degrees in video games. The university is also in the world top 10 for postgraduate degree and sees more than 95% of its graduates go into employment or further study within six months of graduation.

Stephen Wheeler, Managing Director, SSE Thermal, said of the contest, “Scotland is a world leader in both energy and video games, and this partnership brings both together in a creative way ahead of the COP26 conference in Glasgow.”

“We’re excited to see the finished product from the team at Abertay, and to launching the game later this year.”

Having originally met via the BAFTA Young Game Designer competition, the students were challenged to create the game ahead of COP26, where SSE Pl is acting as a Principal Partner to the UK Government. As a company that uses CCS technology for decarbonisation, including at its Peterhead site in Aberdeenshire, SSE Thermal intend to use the game to demonstrate how CCS can help reach the UK’s climate action targets.

Commenting on the project, Harry Petch, competition winner, said, “With so many talented teams entering the game jam, we’re thrilled to be chosen to represent Abertay for this special opportunity.”

“With COP26 coming up in Glasgow, we know how important it is that society takes rapid action on climate change and this is an exciting chance for us to play our part in delivering that important message.”

With former students going on to create such titles as Grand Theft Auto and Lemmings, Abertay is Europe’s top tanked institution for video games education and intend to continue their strong track record in delivering similar ‘applied games’ projects.