If anyone is interested in making a game

There have been more than a few folks who have either thought about or have actually made quiz games that will show you a photo and ask you to identify it.

I thought it might be fun to make a game that picks a “standard” place from iNat and asks you to identify it based on popular taxa from that place and recent observations. I think this kind of game might be fun not just for nature-loving folks, and it might be a way to introduce folks to organisms from around the world in a fun way.

I haven’t fully formed the idea in my head, and I probably won’t get around to making a version of this game myself any time soon (although it shouldn’t be very difficult conceptually), but I thought I’d throw the idea out there in case there are some budding game developers out there who would be interested in making something.


So in a way a Naturalist approach to a Geoguessr like game. Could absolutely work!

A game like that would need to pull stuff from iNat (obviously) which would bring a small uptick to iNats server costs.


Why? There’re other games that take info from iNat, made by different developers, and I doubt it takes a toll on iNat servers.

I am mostly thinking in sizes of geoguessr where api costs are high so they have to pay Google a lot

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there had been something like this but apparently after a while it ran try and is offline now

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no, that’s one of the games that shows you photos and asks you identify the organism. what i’m proposing here is a game that would be more like GeoGuessr, as nuujaka pointed out.

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Like if it shows a Jambo Fruit Dove, Javan Myrta, African Giant snail, Grenadier (dragonfly) and a common parasol (another dragonfly) to get to Singapore or something in that vein.


yes, exactly.

Would this be location based or identification based?
If location based, how can we prove that Species X, Species Y, and Species Z only occur in Area A, but not Area B or any other locale.
Would we use only RG taxa, or Needs ID?
Would we use species not available to the AI?
If identification based, what happens if there’s a false RG observation that gets uploaded? Would we display location?
Hopefully these could be answered.

ultimately, the gameplay goal would be to try to guess a location, but you could add an extra challenge by presenting only images of the species in the place without providing names of the species. (that extra challenge should probably be optional though.)

i don’t think you want to get into this kind of logic. it’s possible of course that different places will have similar taxa, but given enough taxa, each place should end up with a relatively unique “fingerprint”.

i think the way i would do it, the game simply picks a place and then presents 5-10 of the most popular taxa from each of these categories:

  • vertebrates (last 30 days)
  • invertebrates (last 30 days)
  • plants and other organisms (last 30 days)
  • vertebrates (last year)
  • invertebrates (last year)
  • plants and other organisms (last year)

you could click on any of the taxa from any category, and that would present you a random observation of that taxon from the appropriate taxon + time category (last 30 days or last year).

then the player has to select a county-equivalent place on a map.
the game shows the popular taxa for the player’s selected place for comparison, and calculates the distance between the centroid of the player’s guessed place and the centroid of the place picked by the game. the lower difference, the better.

you would probably want to stick with RG observations, and there will be no way to guarantee that any observation is identified correctly, though you could do additional things like looking for the observations with the most favorites or most IDs without disagreements to hopefully increase the quality of the observations that are shown.

not sure why this makes a difference.


Not long ago someone in r/zoology in Reddit was doing this. They’d post a collage of 12-16 animals and ask people to guess what country was represented.

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