Thursday, October 21, 2004

Serious Games – Non Combat Military Game Effort 

All presentation slideshows will be available online within a few days at http://www.seriousgamessummit.com/.

Brian Williams, Thomas Santarelli, Dov Jacobson, Bill Davis, Hannes Vilhjalmsson

One of the most impressive presentations, especially because of Vilhjalmsson’s and Santorelli’s contribution. Their latest projects are related to games for teaching US soldiers how to interact politely and effectively with Iraqis. It goes like that: in a 3D environment, players represent US soldiers that have to ask for information to locals. They can obviously choose the distance at which they talk to someone, the gesture that they want to use (for example posing a hand on the heart is a mark of respect), choose what to say and actually say it through a mike. The system then changes the Iraqis’ behaviors (welcoming or aggressive) according to their reaction to the physical posture, speech and even pronunciation of the soldiers. Interestingly, even the most aggressive response does not degenerate into unloading guns at each other... The presentation is a must.

Jacobson and Davis presented what I consider military applications so I won’t comment.

A question that I asked and that didn’t find a satisfactory answer:
“ Like e-learning did a few years ago, serious gaming is going through a hype cycle. We are still in the phase of oohs and aahs that characterizes an immature concept. Has any of you been working on (or with) a structured methodology for serious games development? If not, when do you think it will come?”

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