Thursday, September 30, 2010

IMTECH: Create The Matrix - Serious Games As Fully Immersive Sims

Immersive technology for high-end Serious Games

Via: Immersive Tech

Immersive Tech (IMTECH) is a non-profit think tank, based in Los Angeles and dedicated to promoting the development and adoption of immersive technology for the benefit of advancing fields in public interest, such as education, health, arts and entertainment.

The organization seeks to provide a new medium for human creativity, and sees boundless potential with the creation of perceptually-real, immersive environments.

Immersive Tech Kick Starter Project - Step Into A Serious Game

Immersive Tech - Create The Matrix - A Fully Immersive Simulation System (a new type of hackerspace)

IMTECH is creating a simulation system that used to just be science fiction. The goal is to provide the ability to create digital simulations that, as far as your brain can tell, is indistinguishable from physical reality. They essentially want to provide people the ability to lucid dream in a waking state :) Current virtual worlds provide people the ability to live out alternate realities, but unfortunately the interaction is limited to controlling an avatar through a flat 2D screen and a keyboard and mouse ... NOT very immersive :(

By creating a new, immersive platform, people can actually step INTO a video game and BECOME their avatar.

IMTECH Announces Nominees For Immersive Technology Awards

Serious Games can blur the barrier between the physical and digital worlds, thereby creating “immersive” experiences.

As you vote online for the Immersive Tech Awards that will recognize breakthrough achievements across five disciplines, you may find a number of nominees that are either Serious Games developers or Serious Games supporting technology owners.


LOS ANGELES (September 28, 2010) – Hollywood has its Oscars®, Broadway the Tonys, music its Grammys® and television its Emmys.

Now say hello to the Immys.

The Immersive Tech Awards (the “Immys”) will make their debut on October 21 at Immersive Technology Summit 2010, the world's first gathering of experts and aficionados dedicated to exploring the technological reaches of imagination. “Immersive technology” refers to software and devices that blur the barrier between the physical and digital worlds, thereby creating “immersive” experiences.

Five Immersive Tech awards will be presented at the summit, in the categories of arts/entertainment, health sciences, research/education, communication, and hardware. And in the spirit of the budding immersive tech community, fans are invited to vote for their favorites.

IMTECH’s board of advisors selected five nominees in each category:

o Arts/Entertainment

Avatar 3D, James Cameron; Universal Studios King Kong 360 3D, Peter Jackson; AR Drone, Parrot; Move, PlayStation; 360 Video, Social Animal

o Research/Education

The Allosphere, JoAnn Kuchera-Morin; StarCAVE, CalIT2; SWIFT (Second World Immersive Future Teaching), University of Leicester; Virtual Lap Band, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; SimHub, University Center of Greenville

o Health Sciences

Virtual Iraq, USC ICT; Da Vinci, Telerobotic Surgical System; Immersive Virtual Reality Pain Distraction, Hoffman & Patterson, HITlab, University of Washington; BCI wheelchair, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne; Walking Assist, Honda Robotics

o Communication

Immersion room, DVE; 3D Holographic Technology, Musion; IPresence, EON Reality; TiLR, Robodynamics; Polycom 400 Series RPX

o Interface

Immersive Wide Area Walking Center, WorldViz; G-Speak, Oblong; Touchsense, Immersion Corporation; Cyberforce, CyberGloveSystems; Neurosky Mindset, Neurosky

Hosted at Los Angeles Center Studios and organized by IMTECH, a new Los Angeles-based non-profit think tank, Immersive Tech will feature a full complement of industry speakers, panel discussions, interactive exhibits and product demonstrations, theater presentations in a 50-foot hemispherical dome, networking events and insider access to new technologies.

“Right off the bat, the Immy Awards make several powerful statements about immersive technology today,” said Nathan Makino, CEO, ImTech. “First, they testify to the remarkable diversity within immersive technologies – and we all recognize that we’re still in the early going. They also showcase the stature of those driving these technologies – individuals and organizations that are at once global and local, entrepreneurial and of the enterprise. We encourage everyone to check out the finalists online -- and vote.”

Among the speakers at the event: Dr. JoAnn Kuchera-Morin, founder of UC Santa Barbara's Allosphere; John Smart, Chairman of the Acceleration Studies Foundation; and Greg Hyver, Vice President of Business Development, for BCINet, Inc. Adobe and Virtual World Web are event benefactors, with sponsors and exhibitors that include Big Look 360, Blict, Doppel Games, Fixed 8 Lighting, Global Vision Communication, Immersive Media, Metaio, Monster Energy, Ogmento, Social Animal, SynLabs, TOOB, Total Immersion,, Virtusphere, Vortex Immersion Media and xRez Studio.

Immersive Technology Summit 2010 is the first of what will become an annual conference, with focused seminars and special events held throughout the year. IMTECH marks the kickoff of an organized and enthusiastic effort to engage the Southern California community in a conversation around these emerging technologies.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Serious Games Market Supports Blog Action Day 2010 WATER

Serious Games challenging us to play at building a better future

Via: Blog Action 2010 WATER

Future-Making Serious Games support to Blog Action Day has now become a tradition.

In 2007 on the theme of the Environment, we saw bloggers running environmental experiments, detailing innovative ideas on creating sustainable practices, and focusing their audience's attention on organizations and companies promoting green agendas.

In 2008 on the theme of Poverty, similarly focused the blogging community's energies around discussing the wide breadth of the issue from many perspectives and identifying innovative and unexpected solutions.

In 2009, on the theme of Climate Change, we focused on Climate Change Serious Games, and also on a niche topic: Climate Change & Video Games - Why Gamers Would Be Rather Good at Fighting Climate Change and Saving the World.

Blog Action Day is an annual event that unites the world's bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day on their own blogs with the aim of sparking discussion around an issue of global importance.

First and last, the purpose of Blog Action Day is to create a discussion. bloggers are asked to take a single day out of their schedule and focus it on an important issue. By doing so on the same day, the blogging community effectively changes the conversation on the Web and focuses audiences around the globe on that issue. Out of this discussion naturally flow ideas, advice, plans, and action.

Yesterday the Blog Action Day 2010 site was unveiled, and they aim to make this year's event the largest single day of action on the web in 2010.

The topic for Blog Action Day 2010 is Water - One day. One issue. Thousands of voices.

Why Water?

Right now, almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. That’s one in eight of us who are subject to preventable disease and even death because of something that many of us take for granted.

Access to clean water is not just a human rights issue. It’s an environmental issue. An animal welfare issue. A sustainability issue. Water is a global issue, and it affects all of us. 

You don't need to be a water expert to participate — you just have to be interested in joining thousands of other bloggers from more than 100 countries in collectively raising awareness of one of the most important issues facing our world.

After all, clean water is essential for our survival, but dangerously scarce. Nearly one billion people in the world today don't have access to clean water and 42,000 people die each week from water-borne diseases. And the issue doesn't stop there — water availability impacts a wide variety of issues from the environment to women's rights and from technology to fashion. If you're unsure what to write about on October 15th, check out a list of water post suggestions to get started

Last year, Blog Action Day included influential voices ranging from the White House to former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The scale of involvement in the day was impressive, according to CNN: 10,000 bloggers around the world, reaching about 15,000,000 readers, wrote about climate change for Blog Action Day 2009.

This year, they're looking forward to an even larger group of influential voices, from celebrities to politicians, to help widen the scope of our conversation.

Register today and help kick-off Blog Action Day 2010!

How You Can Help ?

You are encouraged to write about water in the context of how it relates to the topic of your blog.

From the smallest online journals to huge online magazines, Blog Action Day is about mass participation. Anyone is free to join in on Blog Action Day and there is no limit on the number of posts, the type of posts or the direction of thoughts and opinions.

All you need to do is visit and then:

Register - Promote - Take Action

Latest stats was: 925 Blogs registered, 77 countries, 9,569,732 readers, and increasing by the second.

Participating Blogs include, Mashable and Google, while non-profit partners  include Greenpeace and Unicef.

About Blog Action Day

Blog Action Day was founded by Collis & Cyan Ta'eed in the summer of 2007.

With the support of their team at Envato in Australia as well as numerous volunteers, they recruited over 20,000 bloggers to write about the issue of Environment on October 15, 2007 - making the first Blog Action Day an immediate and quite unexpected success. In 2009, Collis & Cyan asked the team at, the world's leading blog network for social issues, to take over responsibility of Blog Action Day and expand its reach.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Companies Championing Serious Games May Need A Chief Gaming Officer

Chris Melissinos - Chief Gaming Officer at Sun Microsystems

Via: Innovation Games Why Every Company Needs a Chief Gaming Officer (CGO)

Although The Innovation Games Company is a shining new star on the Serious Games scene, it was born out of many years of laboring and nurturing by Enthiosys® founder and CEO Luke Hohmann and the entire Enthiosys community.

His vision: A world where Serious Games and collaborative play are naturally, effortlessly, and instinctively used in pursuit of everyday goals. 

Innovation Games Company has just published a most interesting post intended to be “the start of a global conversation on the role of the CGO.” If you care about the power of Serious Games to create amazing, transformative results for companies, Innovation Games invites you to join this conversation and defining this role.

Here are the highlights:

Wikipedia Is Wrong

According to Wikipedia, a Chief Gaming Officer is an executive position whose holder is focused on research and technical issues within a computer game company.

Innovation Games states that the problem with this definition is that it is tragically limited along a number of dimensions. IG believes that a) every significant organization requires a CGO, not just computer game companies and b) t he primary focus of the CGO should be on developing a comprehensive set of programs that leverage Serious Games for the benefit of the organization.

The Responsibilities of a Chief Gaming Officer

According to IG, the key responsibility of the Chief Gaming Officer is to “ensure that the organization’s use of Serious Games is aligned to the strategic interests of the organization and executed within the tactical context of the organization”.

In pursuit of this of this responsibility, the CGO would need to:


• Participate in the development of organizational strategy

• Educate the organization on the purpose and value of Serious Games

• Assist organizational units in creating programs that leverage Serious Games pursuant to their objectives (e.g., helping sales leverage Serious Games to more efficiently allocate sales resources, helping marketing design more engaging Customer Advisory Board meetings, and so forth)

• Assist organizational units in producing/contracting Serious Games designed to realize the goals identified in the programs

• Manage the software infrastructure that the organization uses to play games.

As a senior executive, the CGO would also represent the corporation’s interests in the ongoing evolution of the Serious Games industry.

Innovation Games goes further, exploring the key attributes of a CGO, as follows:

• Has the proven experience of using Serious Games to solve complex problems

• Has a background in either cognitive psychology and organizational behavior, and is able to leverage this in developing programs and producing games

• Is a skilled educator who can clearly frame the hard ROI and soft benefits from Serious Games

• Is highly effective at managing the internal and external relationships that are critical to the success of the organization.

Examples of a CGO in Action

IG declares once they exclude gaming companies, consulting firms, and pundits, they can’t seem to find any.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

When Serious Games Development Becomes A Binding Secret

The Seventh Studio: Crytek’s mysterious studio for Serious Games development

Via: The Sanatorium - Crytek Is Working With The Government

After years of making games exclusively for the PC with its ambitious large-scale shooters, Frankfurt-headquartered Crytek is stepping into multiplatform development with Crysis 2.

Crysis 2 is an upcoming First-Person Shooter (FPS) video game developed by Crytek and published by Electronic Arts, due for release on March 22, 2011 in North America and March 25, 2011 in Europe.

It is the first Crytek game that will be a released on all three platforms, the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system, the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system, and the PC.

Choreographed Sandbox in New York City

Crysis 2 moves away from the big, lush jungle and takes place in one of the most important cities of the world, New York. The city offers spectacular opportunities for vertical gameplay. Additionally, the urban environment offers a large visual language which gives the possibility to introduce new toys to Crysis sandbox gameplay. Crysis 2 combines the intensity of linear FPS games with the open sandbox gameplay that Crytek and Crysis are known for.

Since Crytek develops one of the best graphic and physics engines in the market, it was only a matter of time until the Government and a number of major companies became interested in making their simulations more high-end.

Crytek is dedicated to creating exceptionally high-quality video games powered by their proprietary cutting-edge 3D-game technology CryENGINE®. The engine was the underlying technology for Crytek's critically acclaimed games and is used today not only throughout the video game industry but also for many serious applications in fields from architecture, training and simulation to learning and development.

CEO Cevat Yerli, who has presided over Crytek's rapid expansion to a seven-studio company that also tackles Serious Game contracting, spoke with Gamasutra and told them he is not allowed to say anything about this mysterious studio, since it is part of a military project.

Here are some of his words:

“Part of the reason why the company has been able to expand so rapidly in the past few years – enough to have seven studios under its umbrella – is its “secretive engine business,” he said. “We have some contracts going on as well for some other non-game industries.”

(Allegedly, the seventh is the one called “The Seventh Studio”, dedicated to Serious Games development).

“There is a whole industry in Serious Games, and we have a lot of contracts going on from gas and oil companies, General Electric, all the way to SOCOM.”

“We have a lot of military companies working with our technology, in fact. Technologies, simulations, contract work, whatever they need and whatever they want. We have a studio for Serious Game development. That studio is a subsidiary of Crytek, but it’s not called Crytek. It is studio number seven — so secret I didn’t even mention it.”

Read the full interview here

About Crytek GmbH

Crytek GmbH ("Crytek") is one of the world’s leading independent development studios for interactive entertainment. It is based in Frankfurt am Main (Germany) and has additional studios in Kiev (Ukraine), Budapest (Hungary), Sofia (Bulgaria), Seoul (South Korea) and Nottingham (UK).

Crytek is dedicated to creating exceptionally high-quality video games for next-generation consoles and PC, powered by their proprietary cutting-edge 3D-Game-Technology, CryENGINE®.

Since its foundation in 1999, Crytek has created the multi-award winning PC titles Far Cry®, Crysis® (awarded best PC Game of E3 2007 and Best Technology at the 2008 Game Developers Choice Awards) and Crysis Warhead® (awarded Best Graphics Technology at IGN Best of 2008 Awards).

Crytek, Crysis, Crysis Warhead, CryENGINE, Sandbox and LiveCreate are registered trademarks or trademarks of Crytek GmbH in the USA, Germany and/or other countries.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Serious Games Recruiting Talented Law Graduates

Serious Games for recruitment purposes in the legal sector

Via: Ranj Serious Games

Houthoff Buruma - The Game is a Serious Game, developed by Dutch law firm Houthoff Buruma and Ranj Serious Games. In this game, designed for recruitment purposes, talented law graduates are challenged to display their skills.

Houthoff Buruma - The Game was introduced at the World Expo 2010 held in Shanghai as an example of the Netherlands Serious Games best practices.

The growing importance of Serious Games for business purposes is demonstrated by the Dutch government's investment in the GATE Project (Game Research for Training and Entertainment). Ranj Serious Games is one of the advisory board members for this project.

Houthoff Buruma - The Game is a game built for recruitment purposes in the legal sector. The premise is a fictional take-over deal of a Dutch family company by a Chinese state owned enterprise.
Players work for Houthoff Buruma, the legal representatives of this Chinese company. They have 90 minutes to convince enough shareholders of the target company to sell their shares and to come up with solutions to hidden problems. In this time they will be confronted with video & text chats, films, mails, news, websites, social media and more.
The game was created using Ranj’s ENG (Event based Narrative Game) engine.

The player represents China Mining & Marine, a demanding and unforgiving client. To meet the unprecedented goals of The People's Republic of China, this state-owned giant has to construct the Panlong Renewable Energy Park within an ambitious time frame. To succeed in completing the task in such a short time, China Mining & Marine needs six specific vessels equipped with a unique installation technology. However, these six vessels are all in the hands of one company:‘t Hoen Marine & Offshore, a century-old Dutch family business that also possesses the latest technology and the essential know-how. The Panlong Renewable Energy Park has become a matter of prestige for China, so failure is not an option. China Mining & Marine needs those six vessels as soon as possible and is determined to acquire 't Hoen. What will it take to motivate the members of the 't Hoen family to sell their shares? Nothing is what it seems and everyone has its own interest to protect. And this is a family company with skeletons in the closet.

The students will play in up to five teams, with up to five players in each team, and the teams will be competing against each other in each session. The players have 90 minutes to convince enough shareholders to sell their shares and to draft a 'Letter of Intent'. In this time they will be confronted with information of all kinds: video chats, text chats, conference calls, e-mails, websites, Facebook pages and YouTube movies.

Houthoff Buruma is a game to be used by law firms in the recruitment and selection of aspiring lawyers. In the game, lawyers should not only apply legal rules and regulations, but also show how they handle a complex case. The law firm Houthoff Buruma in Amsterdam saw the usefulness of Serious Games and sponsored the development. "Law firms are generally more conservative, "says creative director Marcus Vlaar . "But Houthoff Buruma dared to”.

As well as being integrated into the firm’s permanent training program, clients will also be given the opportunity to play the game that simulates the takeover of a Dutch offshore company to get a better insight at the specific requirements of the modern lawyer.

With over 300 legal professionals, Houthoff Buruma is one of the leading law firms in the Netherlands.

EMERGENCY 2012: Latest Serious Game In Rescue Sim Series

The latest game in the long running Serious Game series to be released in Q4 2010

WARNING!! The world as we know it is out of control! As the head of all rescue operations – you must ensure that the job gets done with all fire and rescue services, police and specialist personnel

Emergency is a German series of four computer Serious Games that revolve around micromanaging emergency services on a variety of accident and/or accident scenes: Emergency: Fighters for Life, Emergency 2: The Ultimate Fight for Life, Emergency 3: Mission Life and Emergency 4: Global Fighters for Life. Emergency 2012: The Quest for Peace, also known as Emergency 2012, will be the fifth installment of the Emergency series developed by Quadriga Games and published by Deep Silver. The current set European release date is October 22, 2010, with a North American version planned for release on January 5, 2011.

Emergency 2012 Gameplay Preview

Emergency 2012 - London, Tower Bridge Accident Mission Intro

Here is the full PRESS RELEASE:

German Publisher Deep Silver And Developer Quadriga Games Are Working On Emergency 2012

Publisher Deep Silver from Planegg near Munich, Germany, and developer Quadriga Games (Potsdam-Babelsberg, Germany) are working together on EMERGENCY 2012, a new PC title from the EMERGENCY series. Deep Silver is going to publish the title in the UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Nordic regions, Benelux, Spain, and other European countries in Q4, 2010.

Ralph Stock, CEO of Quadriga Games and inventor of the EMERGENCY series, says: “EMERGENCY 2012 adds new, trend-setting highlights to the EMERGENCY product family and opens up new areas of content. In Deep Silver, we found a strong partner for marketing and distribution. In this constellation, Quadriga Games can fully concentrate on its core competencies as a developer.”

EMERGENCY is a well-established (Serious Game) brand with a loyal fan base, known for its well-balanced mixture of real-time strategy and rescue simulation. Therefore, we are very pleased that we get to publish EMERGENCY 2012,” comments Georg Larch, International Marketing Director at Deep Silver.

Major cities in Germany and the rest of Europe are about to become disaster zones: An unprecedented heat wave is crippling Berlin, while Paris is threatened by riots and looting in the aftermath of a devastating storm. In EMERGENCY 2012, rescue specialists with their state-of-the-art gear await the player’s commands to restore peace and stay on top of the situation. Everything is available, from rescue helicopters and tow trucks to fire engines with turntable ladders and, as a new feature, even surveillance drones.

Devastating earthquakes, record-breaking tsunamis, and category 5 hurricanes: doomsday is upon us and it’s up to you to change the future of the world

The EMERGENCY series has pretty much shaped and established the whole rescue strategy genre. Visually, the new EMERGENCY 2012 presents itself in top form: Truly dynamic light sources let blazes flare up realistically while blue emergency lights flash and lighten up the surroundings. New shader effects and a reworked particle system further enhance the game experience.

About EMERGENCY 2012

EMERGENCY 2012 is the latest installment in the classic series of rescue games. The first part appeared in 1998, and since then the series has been continued with growing success.

In EMERGENCY 2012 for PC, the player acts as a dispatcher in gripping rescue missions. Get a wrecked car out of the way fast, have firefighters advance to the source of a blaze, secure a crash site and, at the same time, get medical help to those injured – if you have always wanted to direct fire services, police, technical relief units and medics all at once, the rescue simulation EMERGENCY 2012 is just the game for you.

The player is the officer in charge of everything and sees to it that all vehicles and helpers are in the right place, doing the right thing at the right time. This is where the strong real-time strategy element of EMERGENCY 2012 sets in. The player must make clever use of vehicles and personnel such as police officers and rescue dog handlers in order to bring everything back under control following a disaster. Once all victims have been whisked away to safety, the player gets to enjoy the feeling of having saved the day. In addition to the numerous missions, EMERGENCY 2012 also offers extensive free-play and multi-player options.

About Quadriga Games

Quadriga Games’ creative base is in the media town of Babelsberg near Potsdam, a historic location of the German entertainment industry, where the company develops games for browsers, mobile platforms, consoles, and PC. Quadriga Games is headed by industry veteran Ralph Stock, who assembled a creative and highly qualified team of experts from the classic areas of game and concept design, graphics, and programming.

The focus lies on researching creative and innovative topics such as augmented reality. Moreover, as a service provider, Quadriga Games supports publishers and other businesses through strategic consulting, project planning, game design, and programming, as well as 2D/3D graphics and level design.

Ralph Stock has been a computer game expert from day one. In 1984, he already published his first commercially successful computer game, The Philosopher’s Stone, for Commodore 64 and, in the early 1990s, helped with the breakthrough of cult games from Lucasfilm and SSI in Germany. As a developer, Stock invented global hits such as MAD TV or the EMERGENCY series. Besides heading Quadriga Games, Ralph Stock is CEO of the consulting firm Serious Games Solutions GmbH in Potsdam and other companies in the media sector.

About Deep Silver

Deep Silver develops and distributes interactive games for all platforms. The Deep Silver label means to captivate all gamers who have a passion for thrilling gameplay in exciting game worlds. Deep Silver works with its partners to achieve a maximum of success while maintaining the highest possible quality, always focusing on what the customer desires. Deep Silver products are designed to equally appeal to pros and beginners, children and adults.

Deep Silver has published more than 100 games since 2003, including S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, the Chernobyl shooter, and the X series of space combat trading games. Plus own brands like the action role-playing game Sacred 2: Fallen Angel, the Horse Life series of horse simulations, the survival horror game Cursed Mountain and the role-playing game Risen. Furthermore, in March 2010 there followed the action adventure game adaptation of the popular TV series Prison Break on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.

About Koch Media

Koch Media is a leading Global Publisher and Distributor of entertainment products including Computer Games software, accessories, DVD and PC Utility Software. The company’s publishing reach, brand marketing and distribution operations extend throughout Europe and the USA. Koch Media continues to form strategic alliances with leading European and Global Software/Computer Games Developers.

Games Software partners include: Codemasters Software Company Ltd, Asylum Entertainment, Hydravision Entertainment, Funcom, Bitcomposer Games, DTP Entertainment, Dark Energy, Bohemia Interactive and Exhibit 1

PC Software partners include: Kaspersky Labs, Nero, Accountz, PX Software, Cyberlink, Net Nanny, Gotham New Media, AVG Technologies, Eleco, Mr Site, Trend Micro and Corel.

With Headquarters in Munich, Germany, Koch Media also has offices in Germany, England, France, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, the Nordic regions, Benelux and the USA.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Me Tycoon: Serious Games for 11-14 Y/O On Career Choices

Serious Games getting young people to discover potential areas of future growth

Kam Star, Managing Director at PlayGen, forwarded me earlier today the link to PlayGen’s newest Serious Game, which I’ve been playing ever since.

PlayGen has just soft launched Me Tycoon, a Social Serious Game-based approach to encouraging students to explore and develop their own life, where their decisions directly affect their prosperity, achievements and happiness.

Young people do not often have the resources, help or opportunities to think about careers, find out about different types of jobs that they may not have previously considered, get to grips with transferable skills, or discover the changing nature of the jobs market and the potential areas of future growth.

What PlayGen Did

PlayGen developed Me Tycoon in partnership with icould and support from Nesta.

Me Tycoon is a Social Serious Game (SSG) in which students are encouraged to explore ongoing decisions that directly affect their life.

The game provides an exciting online experience for players to better visualize and understand that today’s careers are not always achieved as a linear progression.

Breakdown of the Game

Players play as themselves, represented by an avatar on the game screen. Players are in charge of their life path and can choose to enter further education to achieve academic or vocational qualifications, or start a career as soon as they end compulsory education.

Players control the game by:

• Managing jobs – search and apply, gain promotions, change career paths.

• Managing qualifications - Choose what to study and how (part time of full time).

• Managing friends – Search and add friends via unique name or email; send friends gifts; compare lives, jobs, money and happiness.

• Purchasing items from the shop – items relate to hobbies, transport, accommodation and activities.

•Improving transferable skills

• Keeping a check on their happiness

• Watching videos linked to jobs

• Managing their upkeep and expenses - including accommodation, transport and lifestyle.

How can they win? As with life, it depends on what’s important to the individual. Players are ranked based on happiness, wealth, jobs held, achievements completed and items bought.

The game is over when the player reaches retirement. The retirement age increases throughout the game in relation to events the player may encounter, such as healthcare improvements.

Key messages explored within the game include, grabbing any opportunities for learning, developing skills and gaining experience, understanding that other peoples experience can provide a rich source of learning, and discovering a vast range of careers – new jobs are emerging all the time.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Serious Games Keeping Children Plugged In At School

Serious Games Reduce Digital Disconnect Home X School

Via: SimHub - Video Showcasing A School That Uses Games To Teach Everything

Following my prior posts Serious Games Reduce Digital Disconnect Home X School and Serious Games & The Future Of Learning, here is a video from New York Times showcasing how Quest To Learn is using Serious Games to help teach its students.

With MacArthur Foundation funding, three years ago Katie Salen started the Institute of Play, a nonprofit collaboration of game designers and learning experts who create games to teach school material. After successful tests in city classrooms, the group worked with the New York City Department of Education to open Quest to Learn by the end of 2009.

This year’s 72-student class is split into four groups that rotate through five courses during the day: Codeworlds (math/English), Being, Space and Place (social studies/English), The Way Things Work (math/science), Sports for the Mind (game design), and Wellness (health/PE).

SHASPA: Social Serious Games Improving Energy Efficiency

Serious Games for disruptive solutions that create unexpected market opportunity

Technology Strategy Board Innovate 10 Competition Entry:
SHASPA Social Energy (Serious) Game Video Proposal

The UK Technology Strategy Board’s Innovate 10 competition seeks for innovative uses of technology to address key social issues such as Climate Change, Health and Sustainability.

Today noon was the deadline for the first stage of the competition: each entry had to post a 2 minute video of the idea, where it could be viewed and commented on by the public.

A video clip of a Serious Game idea called The SHASPA Social Energy Game, designed to engage the public in making energy efficiency improvements in the home, was posted here:

This video, produced as an entry to the Innovate 10 Competition, describes an innovative blended use of proven technologies and methodologies to address the climate challenge issue. The SHASPA Social Energy Game concept uses real world energy data from sensors and smart meters in a Serious Game which would help citizens and communities make real improvements to energy efficiency.

The game proposal would be based around the SHASPA Smart Service Delivery Framework and arises from collaboration between the Serious Games Institute at Coventry University and SHASPA Research Ltd to develop innovative solutions for important environmental issues.

About Innovate 10

Innovate 10 - Connect For Growth is a full day of networking, conference and exhibition event for businesses to meet other businesses, government and academia with the aim of making innovation happen – creating opportunity and growth for the future.

Hosted by the Technology Strategy Board, Innovate 10 will address all aspects of technology innovation, with a special focus on the commercial exploitation of the DIGITAL economy, HEALTHCARE markets of the future, ENERGY generation and supply and the SUSTAINABILITY economy.

About Innovate 10 Competition Process

The Technology Strategy Board has allocated up to £600,000 in funding for disruptive solutions across the challenge-led areas of energy, digital, healthcare, and sustainability.

Small companies from across the UK were invited to submit a two-minute video to pitch for a share of government funding to kick-start the development of new technology.

Businesses had until today to submit their video pitch for the competition and people will be able to watch the short video presentations and comment on the proposals.

The best proposals will be invited to make a live pitch for funding at the Innovate10 conference and exhibition in London on 12 October - where the audience will have the chance to cast a vote for their favorite ideas.

The Competition for Disruptive Solutions aims to stimulate innovative new ideas in the above four and the company with the best proposal in each area will receive £100,000 to take their idea forward. The second and third best proposals in each area will receive £25,000.

Explaining the thinking behind the novel competition David Bott, the Technology Strategy Board's Director of Innovation Programs, said:

"We are aiming this special competition at small companies because while they often come up with radical ideas they find it difficult to get the right sort of support to develop their ideas through the important early stages.

"Through this competition we are looking for ideas for disruptive solutions in the four key areas of energy, digital, healthcare and sustainability. By a 'disruptive' solution we mean one that creates a new or unexpected market opportunity by applying a different set of values. We are looking for radical ideas that will provide good business opportunities for British businesses."

After the two-minute video pitches are submitted the public will be able to provide opinion and feedback online.

The videos in each of the four themes will then be assessed by independent judges and, taking into account any public comments, the best 15 ideas in each theme will be invited to make written submissions.

After a further independent assessment the businesses behind the best three ideas in each theme will be invited to make a live pitch at Innovate10. These pitches will take place in front of a panel of expert independent judges - four judges for each technology area - with the Innovate10 audience acting as the fifth judge.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Serious Games Improving Teacher Education

Serious Games For Teacher Training

Concept Visualization for Virtual Classroom providing realistic immersion, alternative displays, after-action-review, performance tracking, virtual puppetry, ©2006 Simiosys™

A unique program at the University of Central Florida uses computer-generated virtual students to teach classroom management skills to education majors.

The STAR Classroom Simulator mixes computer technology and a human role-player. Christopher Stapleton, of the Institute for Simulation & Training at the University of Central Florida, interacts with virtual students in a classroom simulation program in Orlando, Fla.

The Media Convergence Laboratory at UCF’s Institute for Simulation and Training served as the research subcontract partner to Simiosys, LLC on a project to explore the feasibility of using emerging media technology to develop a unique teacher training environment. Simiosys is an acronym derived from the terms SIMulation, InterOperable, SYStems.

Partners on the project included the UCF College of Education, the UCF Interactive Performance Lab, and the Haberman Educational Foundation. The scenario developed and tested was to help train teachers in classroom management.

The virtual scenario asked participants to take part in a two-step process - first, they went through the Haberman Star Teacher interview, which has been in use in some of the largest urban school systems in the US for decades. Next, they went through the testing scenario, where they were faced with a class of five virtual middle schoolers in an urban school environment.

Check out this video from the University of Central Florida about using simulation for improving teacher education:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Serious Games Company Supports Industry Competition With Free Technology Licenses

 Innovation Generation funding and Serious Games inspiring students to learn about science

Thinking Worlds rapid 3D games design tool, Caspian Learning, has announced their support for the competition by offering students at ISU free, extended trial licences to Thinking Worlds for the duration of the competition


Serious Games Company Supports Industry Competition With Free Technology Licences

London, UK, 10th September


Serious Games Design and Technology Company, Caspian Learning, today showed their support for the Iowa State University’s Game Development Competition by announcing that they will supply ISU students with extended trial licences to their Serious Games Engine and Authoring Tool, Thinking Worlds, for the duration of the competition.

The Motorola Foundation, in association with the Innovation Generation program, has awarded a $50,000 grant to Iowa State University to fund a games development competition that encourages students to create video games and educational training applications.

Headed by ISU associate professor of integrated studio arts Anson Call and computer science lecturer Chris Johnson, the contest requires students to form teams of three members. Each team must include a designer, a programmer, and a business manager.

Each team will battle it out in one of three categories: serious games, PC/console games, and mobile games. The winning entries in each category, as judged by a guest professional game developer, will receive a top prize of $10,000.

To help support those students who want to get involved but perhaps don’t have the technical skills necessary, the company behind the award-winning Thinking Worlds rapid 3D games design tool, Caspian Learning, has announced their support for the competition by offering students at ISU free, extended trial licences to Thinking Worlds for the duration of the competition.

Caspian Learning’s Marketing Executive, Lee Rushworth said “the competition is a fantastic opportunity for budding game developers to get some real experience in games design with some real rewards and if our software can help more students get involved in this then we are absolutely delighted with that.”

Anson Call, Professor of Integrated Studio Arts and organizer of the competition said "Students are already doing game design in their spare time and not earning academic credit for it. The interest is there. We just need to provide the opportunity and the Innovation Generation grant is a perfect way to do that."

The competition officially began on September 8th and final judging and a public exhibition of the finalists’ games will be held at the end of ISU's spring semester.

Anyone can download a free 30 day trial of Thinking Worlds from but students of the ISU taking part in the competition are asked to make contact with Professor Call to claim their free, extended licence.

About the Iowa State University Game Design Competition

The 2010-2011 Iowa State University Game Development Competition offers students a chance to put creativity, technical knack, and business sense together into creating a complete digital game. Teams enter their games into one of three categories: PC/console, mobile/browser, or serious. At the end of the academic year, in spring 2011, teams will present their games in person to a panel of judges who will choose the top three games in each category. Cash prizes are awarded.

About Caspian Learning

Caspian Learning was founded in 2002 and is Europe’s leading developer of immersive learning simulations and serious games for performance and training. Their award-winning 3D authoring tool, Thinking Worlds, is a globally unique software application that allows instructional designers to create fully immersive 3D simulations at costs previously restricted to 2D development. Caspian Learning has worked with clients such as IBM, BBC, QinetiQ, Volvo, The Ministry of Defence and the European Union.

Related News:  Serious Games At ISU Receive Motorola 2010 Innovation Generation Grant

Via: Iowa State University


ISU Design, Computer Science Collaboration Receives Motorola Foundation Grant For Game Development Competition

Highlight: Students will be invited to form teams of three or more members from different majors. Each team will act as a startup game development company, drawing on their experiences in such areas as art, psychology, marketing, programming and project management to build and sell games. They will focus on games in one of three categories: PC/console, mobile and Serious Games.

AMES, Iowa - The Iowa State University College of Design and Department of Computer Science will use a $50,000 grant from the Motorola Foundation to host a yearlong game development competition for ISU students majoring in design, technology, communication and business disciplines.

The Motorola Foundation's Innovation Generation program provides more than $7.5 million to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education programs across the U.S. Iowa State received funding in the university grant category, which supports hands-on, innovative seminars and design competitions for undergraduate and graduate students.

Anson Call, ISU associate professor of integrated studio arts, and Chris Johnson, lecturer in computer science, will serve as advisers for the Iowa State competition.

Chris Johnson "I see a significant number of my students with interests beyond the technical," said Johnson, who teaches first-year computer programming. "Many are musical, many are artists, many love to write. When Anson suggested we put on a game competition to break down the walls between our respective academic programs, I jumped at the idea."

"Students are already doing game design in their spare time and not earning academic credit for it," said Call, an avid gamer who teaches digital media and animation courses in the College of Design.

"The interest is there. We just need to provide the opportunity. The Innovation Generation grant is a perfect way to do that," Call said.

Anson Call Students will be invited to form teams of three or more members from different majors. Each team will act as a startup game development company, drawing on their experiences in such areas as art, psychology, marketing, programming and project management to build and sell games. They will focus on games in one of three categories: PC/console, mobile and Serious Games.

"Traditional gamers may want to write their own Xbox 360 game using Microsoft's XNA Game Studio," Johnson said. "Android and iPhone present new opportunities and challenges for those interested in mobile applications. While technically no different, Serious Games are games that educate or train, which might be more motivating to others."

Beginning in September, interested students will meet with Call, Johnson and other faculty to go over the competition rules and expectations, and participate in workshops on the design, programming and business aspects of the contest. Other communication will take place via the competition website, which will be online by September.

Call and Johnson anticipate that students will focus on research and team building in the fall, while teams will actually develop their games during the spring. They will then present their work to a panel of game developers from the industry. Winners will be selected and cash prizes awarded to the top three entries in each category.

The competition will be announced to students at the beginning of fall semester via publications such as the Iowa State Daily and Toons, as well as learning communities and other campus networks.

"We're excited because we see such great potential for this campus to do game design in a collaborative way," Call said.

The Motorola Foundation is the charitable and philanthropic arm of Motorola. The foundation focuses its funding on education, especially science, technology, engineering and math programming. Since 2007, more than $20.5 million has been awarded to STEM programs through Innovation Generation funding.