EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

PHUSICOS-VR: Using virtual reality to explore mitigation measures for geohazards

James M. Strout1, Turid Wulff Kutsen2, Anne Stine Solberg3, and Jelmer Verhoog4
James M. Strout et al.
  • 1NGI, Natural Hazards, Oslo, Norway (
  • 2Innlandet Fyleskommune, Hamar, Norway (
  • 3Norways Green Vocational School-Vea, Moelv, Norway (
  • 4Sopra Steria, Oslo, Norway (

PHUSICOS-VR is a virtual reality experience to learn how nature-based solutions (NBS) can be used to mitigate natural hazards, including rock falls, floods, avalanches and agricultural run-off.  The game is set in real locations in Norway, Italy, France and Spain, and is a digital representation of actual demonstration sites in the EU project PHUSICOS (EU contract nr).  The underlying development strategy for PHUSICOS-VR was to create an interesting and fun pedagogical tool to learn about natural hazards, and the effect that NBS can have on both mitigating the hazard but also providing co-benefits such as improving biodiversity and creating public use spaces.  The primary audiences for the VR experience are the general public, politicians, planning authorities and other decision-makers.

Game development is more than programming, and during the fast-track production of PHUSICOS-VR the development team followed a SCRUM project philosophy and transitioned through creative phases and processes including audience/personas definitions, scientific content, pedagogical considerations, visual/audio expression, and of course the technical implementation in the UNITY engine to realize the game for the Oculus VR platform.  Covid19 has been an added complication, resulting in the entire development process running virtually – the core team never met as a complete group, and all development works were coordinated through collaborative platforms such as TEAMS and Miro Board.

This article will present the development phases in detail, describing the challenges encountered and solutions implemented to realize the PHUSICOS-VR game.  PHUSICOS-VR is currently under review for public release and will soon be available on the Oculus app store.  A browser version is also available.

How to cite: Strout, J. M., Kutsen, T. W., Solberg, A. S., and Verhoog, J.: PHUSICOS-VR: Using virtual reality to explore mitigation measures for geohazards, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-12870,, 2022.