15
Jan
09

Real World

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There will always be a debate about the effects of computer games and their value in society (most of which is overblown scaremongering, but that’s for another post) but the technology used in games is emerging in business, education and health care.

UK based game developer Blitz Games has diversified into providing real world educational simulations for the emergency services. TrueSim, a division of Blitz Games, developed the Triage Trainer a game simulation which throws the trainee straight into the after effects of an explosion in a busy high street. The in game AI react realistically to their conditions, casualties will pass out or die if not correctly assessed and prioritised. Blood loss, head injuries broken and torn limbs, panic and disorientation all have to be dealt with as they would in a real world emergency. The simulation was co developed with the Advanced Life Support Group who advise the UK emergency services

The Serious Games Institute based in Coventry University’s Technology Park, researches the real world applications of games technology and hosts an annual conference which showcases the latest developments in e-learning, e-business, e-commerce, simulation and social networking for business health care and education.

The virtual world of Second Life allows users to generate their own content in a fully realised 3D world. Users create avatars to represent themselves and can buy and sell virtual items. Although most users use Second Life as a virtual social network and for entertainment purposes, corporate bodies and health care services are beginning to explore the possibilities of virtual interaction. Second Health uses virtual space in the Second Life universe to visualise the next generation of NHS hospitals. This has been a successful way to visualise what would otherwise have been a government proposal in document form and allows visitors to walk around the hospital and view videos and other media on the new health centre. Visitors will also find guidance on maintaining a healthy lifestyle as well as information on the future of health care in the UK.

The area for growth is massive when the benefits of virtual learning and interactivity are taken into account. The open world RPG Oblivion could easily be converted into an intercative history lesson. Characters and items found in the world, instead of describing and informing the player of Oblivion’s fantasy scape, could be applied to a real environment of the past. The achievements and upgrades could be awarded for finding out sufficient and relevent information that related to coursework, or a test exam. The format of the game could easily be transfered and learning sometimes dry subjects could be made more acssessible to the younger student if it was virtualised and could be experienced. In health care surgeons have found a marked improvment when using virtual simulations of the procedures used and the business world is catching on too. New ways of socialy interacting and doing business in a virtual world will improve team work and business relations for those who work remotley from home.

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