INFRA: The Civil Engineering Game We’ve Been Waiting For
Your city is crumbling. Years of corruption and deception have left the infrastructure of this once-booming town in shambles.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to step into the shoes of an ordinary structural analyst who’s having a rather unordinary day. You will be exploring abandoned factories and tunnels and structurally unsound buildings in your city and its surroundings.
You will be equipped with nothing more than your wits and the camera around your neck. Your task will be to track down those who have destroyed the city and save it before it’s too late.
This is the premise of INFRA, a nonviolent first-person video game that focuses on the state of our cities.
Have a look at the game’s official trailer:
The Issues of Modern Infrastructure
The game, developed by Loiste Interactive of Finland, takes a unique look at the issue of deteriorating infrastructure.
One of the writers, Oskari Samiola, commented that the inspiration for the game arose from a “documentary about the United States’ at-the-collapsing-point infrastructure” and from “news about spoiled tap water and [poor road conditions].”
He could have simply made a documentary or campaign but instead created a game that gives engineers and enthusiasts alike a first-hand look at what really happens when things go wrong.
INFRA tasks the player with exploring familiar aspects of infrastructure such as metro systems, dams and even modern offices to find technical documents and photograph structural problems such as cracks in walls. Ultimately, the player will expose the corruption and schemes that caused the city’s failing infrastructure.
Be careful of what you do, though: much in the style of games like Bioshock, your actions will determine how the plot unfolds over the course of the entire game.
A Video Game for Civil Engineering
INFRA puts a twist on the first-person genre by being entirely nonviolent. So even though that wall is technically weak enough, you still can’t punch through it like a boss.
It sets the scene with detailed graphics in the grungy and dystopian style of Half-Life 2. The graphics were built using Source Engine, which already supports Oculus Rift—so it should be easy to add support later on, according to the company.
You’ll have the ability to commandeer vehicles such as cars and subway trains to get yourself around, which you’ll need to do to solve the game’s Portal 2-style mechanical and electrical puzzles.
Although the game is in its development stages, Part 1 was released via Steam on January 15, 2016, with a price tag of approximately $25 USD. There’s no word yet on when Part 2 is coming, but it will reportedly be available for free for those users who already purchased Part 1.
A Potential Combination of BIM and Video Games?
INFRA is definitely a first in its category. After all, whoever heard of a civil engineering game?
It holds a lot of potential for the future of this type of work, though. It presents a unique look at the overall impact of the built environment and emphasizes that “lifetime” is something that should be taken into consideration during the design and maintenance stages of building information modeling (BIM).
With a video game like this on the market, could we soon see BIM software upping its game when it comes to visual appeal and even virtual reality?