Thursday, December 20, 2012

Serious Play Conference 2013: Save The Date


Serious Play Conference new workshop  integrating games into the K12 curriculum 


Via: Serious Games Association Save the Date

The 3rd edition of the Serious Play Conference will be held Tuesday – Thursday, August 20-22, 2013 at the DigiPen Institute of Technology, in Redmond, WA (please find also First-Ever Serious Play Conference Covers Most Of Serious Games Taxonomy)

At Serious Play Conference, heads of workforce development programs in corporations, healthcare or the government can get a good understanding of how Serious Games can be successfully applied to education, workforce or executive training and consumer learning programs. 

At SPC, attendees can rub shoulders one-on-one with the experts, learning how game mechanics are moving across the various Serious Games sectors, revolutionizing training and education contexts in every industry.

Next year SPC will also offer 4 introductory workshops:

Using Games to Develop Talent, Engage Workforce

Integrating Games into the K-12 Curriculum

Using Location-based Games to Engage Audiences

Teaching Serious Games Development



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Serious Games International Being Set For Market Dominance


Serious Games International aims to grab a significant share of the Serious Games Market


According to Ambient Insight’s report 2011-2016 Worldwide Game-based Learning Market: All Roads Lead to Mobile, the worldwide game-based learning market reached $1.2 billion in 2011 and revenues will more than double to $2.5 billion by 2015, implying global sales will grow at 15.4% CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate).

(Please find also Serious Games, Serious Money: A Sizeable Market and Serious Games A Sizeable Market - Update)

These figures underline the growing dependency on games to convey learning content that engages users more fully and increases their knowledge retention. Although Serious Games have become a crucial part of the learning process, they have not been harnessed to their full potential. 

Serious Games International (SGIL), the commercial spin out from the Serious Games Institute at Coventry University in UK, aims to grab a significant share of this marketplace with a) the unique strategy of harnessing heavyweight games industry experience alongside senior academics to create world beating solutions in the corporate simulation and 3D immersive environments and b) the value proposition of “bringing a fresh but proven perspective to the business of applying games techniques to serious software solutions”.


Redefining Success Within The Serious Games Market

Tim Luft, formerly a director of the Centre for Urban Intelligence and the Serious Games Institute at Coventry University, is the architect and managing director of Serious Games International. He has pulled together an impressive team from the interactive entertainment industry to create a company that has ambitions to dominate the Serious Gaming sector.

“Uniting experts from the games industry and academia under one roof gives us a unique platform to develop creative applications that will redefine success within this market”, says Luft.

Senior Team Aiming At An Immediate and Significant Impact In The World of Serious Games

Mike Hayes, a long-term industry veteran and previously head of SEGA West, was appointed as executive chairman and has been joined by five industry veterans to help the company create its slate of future Serious Games:

Commercial Director Mark Stanger has 20 years experience in interactive entertainment having worked for a number of major publishers, including Eidos and Warner Bros. Most recently he was responsible for establishing European operations for the social web analytics firm Kontagent. Mark will co-ordinate all commercial operations at SGIL.

SGIL has brought in Gary Knight as a Content and Branding Consultant. Gary is a former senior vice president of marketing for Sega, where he oversaw the company’s content and brand strategy across Europe and North America.

Development Director Paul Ranson is in charge of the Creative Studio at SGIL. Before joining SGIL, Paul was Managing Director of Slam Productions, a former Develop ‘Top 100’studio. Prior to that, Paul was founder and MD at two other games studios, Aqua Pacific, and Big Red and also worked at the games publisher Codemasters.

Felix Bradshaw is leading the Business Development efforts at SGIL. Felix spent eight years in videogames publishing with stints at Codemasters, South Peak and 7Sixty before joining the new studio.

And finally, Mark Cottam heads up SGIL’s new US office as VP of Business Development and Operations, having joined the company from MumboJumbo where he was CEO. Under Mark’s direction, MumboJumbo became a leading developer and publisher of games for online and mobile distribution and the preferred publisher of premium casual games for the retail channel.

“From both a commercial and development perspective we have quickly established a world-class team here at Serious Games International,” says Mark Stanger. “We look forward to making an immediate and significant impact in the world of Serious Games, games-based learning and corporate apps.”

Serious Games International Impressive Market Offer

Services

The company has the development expertise to support projects on mobile devices, tablet PCs and web browsers. Its range of proprietary technologies can be modified for an almost limitless range of applications.

Serious Games International has partnered with the Coventry University ACT UK Simulation Center and utilizes this technology to deliver simulated training experiences.

ACT UK Simulation Center
 

Products

Serious Games International establishes new approaches to 3D product/ process development, training, recruitment and marketing - from individual solutions all the way through to fully integrated process support. Serious Games International understands 3D visualization not only as a technology, but also as a way to deliver engaging simulations.
Serious Games International has four product offerings: 

RealVue
3D, High Fidelity Landscapes, Architecture and Environments


Chatterbox

The SGIL 3D Avatar technology offers companies a 3D computer generated character to accompany the voice and act as the ‘face’ of the business. Knowledge is added by means of a search engine which enables the Avatar to search a company's database or the internet.  Chatterbox is able to build additional knowledge over time using its artificial intelligence and responding to the input of customers, employees or guests. 

Intelligent 3D Avatar
 

Matrix

MATRIX is SGIL’s game-based learning platform. 
Holodeck
Immersive Training

 

 
About Serious Games International

Serious Games International Ltd (SGIL) combines industry leading games development talent with world class academic research in the arena of serious games, games-based learning, visualization technologies and corporate apps.

From its headquarters in the Coventry University Technology Park SGIL is approaching the market globally with offices in Singapore and the USA with innovative technologies and applications.

Visit the company’s website at http://www.seriousgamesinternational.com for more details.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Serious Games To Practice Prosthetic Control


 Zooming in on Unity Serious Games New Highlight Reel at I/ITSEC 2012
 

Unity put together a new highlight reel to demonstrate their Serious Games capabilities in celebration of their attendance at this year’s I/ITSEC, early December.

Among the embedded Serious Games clips is the Virtual Prosthesis Trainer (please find also Serious Games Enhancing The Rehabilitation Environment – Update) to help individuals with upper-limb amputations learn how to use their prostheses.

The prosthesis manufacturer Ottobock has teamed up with researchers from the Interactive Media Systems Group at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Vienna), Austria, to develop the virtual reality training environment.

Development of the VR training application, the brainchild of Andrei Ninu, an engineer at Ottobock, and Hannes Kaufmann, PhD, associate professor at TU Vienna, started in spring 2011 by Ninu and Michael Bressler, a TU Vienna master’s student.


 
 

Wearing a VR headset and sensors to track arm movements, users can practice controlling their myoelectric prosthesis without risking damage to themselves or their surroundings. The system uses the iotracker optical motion-capture system with electromyography (EMG) to generate input for grasping control of the virtual prosthesis, creating a realistic simulation. Data from the iotracker and EMG signals are then fed into ARTiFICe, a VR framework for mapping the real world onto virtual objects using the Unity3D game engine. The iotracker and ARTiFICe were developed at TU Vienna.

The team implemented two mini Serious Games to motivate the patient to practice myoelectric prosthetic control. The first game allows the beginner prosthesis user to practice grasping various shaped object, such as cubes and cylinders. The second game is more advanced; it involves grasping spherical objects with different virtual-hand orientations as well as learning how to adjust grasp force with the myosensors. If the applied grasp force is too strong for the selected sphere, the sphere explodes. The grasped spheres must then be moved into a box.
 

The team plans to implement a more complex Serious Games based on the underlying technology in the next months.

A preliminary study using able-bodied individuals will test the system’s robustness and usability with people who do not have any specific technical background. This will be done in cooperation with the Vienna General Hospital and will be supervised by medical experts. The results will then be used to optimize the system so that it can be used in the future for upper-limb amputee patients. The project roadmap includes tests with amputee patients, but no date has been set.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Nevermind: Serious Games For Psychological Trauma Patients


Serious Games using biofeedback sensor technology to challenge players in uncomfortable situations


Nevermind, developed by the University of Southern California, was selected as finalist in the 2012 Serious Games Showcase & Challenge under the Student Category (Please find also SeriousGames Showcase & Challenge 2012 Awards To Be Announced Today). 

Nevermind is a psychological horror puzzle game set within the minds of psychological trauma patients that uses biofeedback sensor technology to help the player learn how to better manage his or her stress levels: the game uses a heart rate sensor to challenge the player to stay calm in uncomfortable situations. 

It is an independent game developed within the USC Games Program by a team of students with diverse backgrounds led by Erin Reynolds, in collaboration with industry experts and advisers from a variety fields, and with additional support from artists at the Atlantic College University. 

The game is currently a PC-only Proof of Concept. Although there is no set release date at this time, the team looks forward to making the game fully public at some point further on down the road. 

Nevermind’s world exists primarily within the heads of trauma victims who do not remember or cannot process the traumatic event that forever changed their lives. It is the player’s goal to explore deep inside the dark minds of these patients to discover and identify the origin of the forgotten trauma so that the players may be able to reconcile their past and begin their path to healing. 

Gameplay

You are a new agent at the Neurostalgia Institute – a psychiatric clinic that uses advanced neuroprobing technology to reveal the dark shadows locked away in the mind.


The player must delve inside the subconscious of these patients to unlock these buried memories. Player’s goal is to force him/herself to proceed into scenarios he/she knows will cause stress or fear, experience the natural reactions and then quickly temper his/her response to return back to a state of calm. 

When the player becomes stressed or fearful, the game will increase in intensity and difficulty. When the player calms him/herself, the game returns to its default state. If the player is unable to calm him/herself, then the game becomes increasingly more difficult and intense until he/she is removed from the level (“the patient’s mind”) and is returned to the calming “hub” area of the game (“the clinic”). 

The puzzle piece section of “Spilled Milk,” is the first and so far only level. Solving each of the puzzles will give you the clues you need to solve the bigger puzzle of what memory your patient is repressing. These clues come in the form of Polaroid pictures with captions. Your job is to solve all the puzzles, collect all ten Polaroid pictures and put five of those pictures in the correct order to reveal the repressed memory for the patient.



The biofeedback-enhanced gameplay is most explicitly clear in the “Dark Kitchen” portion of the level. To reach this area, the player must proceed through the initial “Clinic” area of the game, go into the house, turn off the light within the upstairs room, solve the puzzle there, and go into the room at the very end of the hallway. However, any portion of the game after the “Clinic” (in which the biofeedback is not active as it is a calibration area) will demonstrate the biofeedback feature.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

WhyPower: STEM Serious Games Creating Career Pathways


 Serious Games integrating Education and Career Pathways from Middle School to College


Whyville and Numedeon (please find also Serious Games Helping Kids Understand Food Labels) have announced a new project WhyPower: a middle school program and supplemental curriculum that teaches the math and science of energy. The platform for instruction is Whyville, the learning-based environment for teens.

WhyPower teaches core academic math and science content, and also career content, all matched to standards, helping middle-students to understand why math and science matter and encouraging them to plan ahead and take challenging STEM courses in their high school program.

Students learn about: fractions, ratios and proportions, unit conversions, graph reading and data interpretation, measurement, mental math, rate of return, and problem solving. They also learn about the science of the energy industry: kilowatts, kilowatt-hours, R-Values and housing materials, Energy Star ratings and appliance selection, and sources of power including coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydroelectric, solar and wind energy.

Students in WhyPower are in effect doing virtual jobs. In each lesson, students earn career badges for the jobs they accomplish! Students earn "Whyville clams" for completing jobs, and build up a "clam salary" tied to their demonstrated knowledge and accomplishments. WhyPower can integrate information about local education and career pathways: students see the math and science classes they need to complete high school, and details of the local college programs they can enter.

Whyville’s Energy Serious Game: WhyPower
WhyVille has now its own power grid! As part of the WhyCareers program, Numedeon is “electrifying” Whyville with a power grid that uses traditional and renewable energy sources. 

Students manage the power grid to select the right mix of energy sources. They will build homes in Whyville, observe and measure power use and form good energy behaviors and habits.

Finally, they explore the math, science and career topics related to energy. Just like in real life, success in WhyVille is not pre-programmed! Students’ skills, initiative, creativity and teamwork determine the rewards they receive in WhyPower.

About WhyCareers Energy - Education and Career Pathways from Middle School to College

WhyCareers is designed for use in 8th Grade Career Portals, math and science classes, and other middle school classrooms. Students use WhyPower to explore energy issues and learn about reliable and responsible energy sources.


 WhyCareers is in use in 6th, 7th and 8th Grade classrooms.  


Integrated into WhyCareers is the exploration of real, local career pathways that run from school, through local high schools, and into Alamo Colleges and other Texas college programs. Under the guidance of teachers, students learn what classes they need to complete in high school, explore college programs, and communicate with the teachers, program directors and program recruiters for these pathways. The project team works with pilot schools to define these career pathways.

About Project Partners and Sponsors

DaVinci Minds and WhyVille have partnered to develop the WhyPower Project. 

DaVinci Minds wants middle school students engaged in rigorous and relevant learning that intentionally leads to high-tech careers. Their technology platform is Whyville, the learning-based virtual world for teens and tweens, founded in 1999, with 7 million users served and 50+ activities in math, science and other areas. Whyville is based on the pedagogy of constructivist, inquiry-driven learning. DaVinci Minds core competency is the development of cross-discipline curriculum, including the integration of career education and connection to real, local careers. Through the motif of virtual world careers, they connect middle students to local career pathways and high tech jobs.

WhyCareers is funded by the Texas Workforce Commission through funding from the U.S. Department of Labor. It is provided at no cost to Texas participants for the two-year period of the grant.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

VRUM: Serious Games To Learn Traffic Rules


Serious Games chellenging players to get driver’s permits in a fictional city


VRUM is an Educational Serious Game developed by ThinkBox Games that allows kids and teenagers to learn the main traffic rules in a fun and intuitive environment (Please find also Brazil's Video Game Ecosystem: Superior Serious Games Products).

The game complies with Brazilian National Educational Traffic Guidelines from the National Traffic Department and utilizes a 3D interface where the player experiences several real life traffic situations both as a driver (for cars and motorcycles) and as a pedestrian.



Players are to act according to traffic rules while accomplishing game missions along the fictional Santa Fe city.

Educational Content and Context

VRUM Serious Game presents a broad traffic-related educational content, building knowledge around 30+ Brazilian traffic rules. It also inspires players to reflect about several traffic issues, aiming at promoting a culture of peace and respect in public spaces among participants.

Players shall control a 18 years old character who dreams about participating in Santa Fe Big Annual Race. In order to achieve that, players are first required to obtain a driving license and parents’ approval. Along the game, players will also attend driving school classes and driving license tests. Once players get a permit, they will be given a number of quests, experiencing the traffic as a driver and as a pedestrian.



 Have a taste of it!



About ThinkBox Games

ThinkBox Games is a division of Vsoft dedicated to digital games development. Based in the state of Joao Pessoa, Brazil, ThinkBox Games was founded in 2011 with the primary aspiration of creating Serious Games that can produce a positive impact on education.

The division is composed by Masters in Computer Science, Education Specialists, Software Developers, Artists and Businessmen with solid experience in their respective field.

All team members have grown up playing games and they believe that digital games are essential tools for NextGen education and society as a whole.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Serious Games As Information Assurance Adventures


Serious Games to experience safe information assurance best practices


Cyber Awareness Challenge, developed by Carney, Inc., was selected as finalist in the 2012 Serious Games Showcase & Challenge under the Business Category (Please find also SeriousGames Showcase & Challenge 2012 Awards To Be Announced Today). As a finalist, Cyber Awareness Challenge could be experienced at the Serious Games Showcase & Challenge pavilion (booth #3263) at the Interservice/Industry Training Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) last week.
 

Cyber Awareness Challenge is a Serious Game that simulates the decisions Federal Government information systems’ players make every day as they perform their work.

Rather than using a narrative format, the Challenge presents the instructional topics for information assurance awareness through first-person simulations and mini-games that allow the player to experience information assurance concepts and best practices in an interactive manner.

The goal of the Cyber Awareness Challenge is to capture an unnamed hacker (referred to throughout the game as the “adversary”), who is targeting Federal government information systems in order to access sensitive government information. To capture the adversary, players complete a series of tasks within the game that challenge them to engage in safe information assurance practices to protect government information systems and sensitive information. 

The game relies on a plethora of life-like situations to build awareness around information assurance and information system’s security, replicating the decisions that authorized users of Department of Defense and Federal information systems have to make every day.

The player’s learning is measured through the completion of the series of tasks that make up the game. The data logging on player’s completion of the series of tasks that cover all required and approved information assurance content provides fully synchronous feedback on player’s successes and failures vis-a-vis safe information assurance best practices.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Serious Games To Solve Science Mystery About Epidemics


Serious Games to solve authentic meaningful problems
 

Crystal Island: Lost Investigation, developed by North Carolina State University, was selected as finalist in the 2012 Serious Games Showcase & Challenge under the Business Category (Please find also SeriousGames Showcase & Challenge 2012 Awards To Be Announced Today). As a finalist, Crystal Island: Lost Investigation could also be experienced at the Serious Games Showcase & Challenge pavilion (booth #3263) at the Interservice/Industry Training Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) last week.

Crystal Island: Lost Investigation is a game-based learning environment for middle-grade science and literacy.

Crystal Island, with its 3D interface, fully immerses players in the role of an Intelligence Officer who is conducting a research to solve the science mystery about the epidemic that has struck a team of researchers stationed on a remote and mostly uninhabited tropical island.

Students solve a science mystery by investigating an outbreak on a remote island research station

 
 

The diversity of “gathering clues” situations introduced by the game compels players to adopt a systemic approach to investigate the spreading illness and diagnose the disease by synthesizing  information gleaned from the in-game pedagogical agents: players solve the science mystery by gathering clues from sick patients, recovering scattered pieces of a previous investigator’s notes, viewing digital posters on microbiology concepts, reading complex informational books, running laboratory tests and recording diagnostic predictions.




Another merit of the game is giving players a large amount of freedom. The theory that student motivation will rise when the sense of freedom within a game increases is perfectly demonstrated.
 
Additional attribute of Crystal Island is to present recurring and effective embedded assessments within the context of an engaging interactive story-world. Players use critical thinking and decision-making skills as they work to solve authentic, meaningful problems.


Students test hypothesis about potential transmission sources in a virtual laboratory


Have a taste of it!