MORE ON SERIOUS GAMES
Because of the vast complexity of virtual worlds created for serious games, we need tools that enable us to better record, visualize, and understand player interactions. In "Discovering 3D Surface Information Values from Gameplayers," Priyesh Dixit and Michael Youngblood present a new method and tool to determine the probability that a surface has appeared in the player’s view during gameplay. This can be particularly important in serious games, where designers might wish to place information in the game to maximize the probability that players will see it. This technique has applications for advertising in games and for maintaining player immersion. It also provides insight into how in-game analytics can help us better understand player experiences.
Serious games benefit from artificial intelligence (AI), but can also contribute to the field. In "Suitability of Searching and Representing Multimedia Learning Resources in a 3-D Virtual Gaming Environment," the authors propose a method to present search results through a 3D metaphor. In "Bots Get Smart", researchers explore the use of artificial intelligence in video games. They also discuss how a surge in this area could reinvigorate AI research and lead to new advances in machine learning. "Geogames: Designing Location-Based Games from Classic Board Games" examines how AI can be leveraged to create balance in games, which can be particularly important for location-based games.
Culture, diversity, and society are broad areas where serious games can make an impact through new technologies for detecting affect and representing people and places. "Online Affect Detection and Robot Behavior Adaptation for Intervention of Children with Autism" discusses the use of a robot basketball game to explore affect detection’s potential to help children with disabilities engage with the world. Marjorie Zielke and her colleagues propose building a 'living world" to express the richness of place, culture, and society. Their article, "Serious Games for Immersive Cultural Training: Creating A Living World," describes a game for learning Afghan culture that incorporates the culture’s physical and societal aspects.
Although some games explore real places, others are meant to explore virtual spaces that reflect reality. In "Procedural Urban Modeling in Practice," Benjamin Watson and his coauthors demonstrate ways to generate content for games that reflect what architects and geographers know about urban spaces. A major bottleneck for serious games is content generation, and this article demonstrates how knowledge from other domains can be formalized to automate some parts of content creation.
New technologies for games are an exciting way for serious games to have a greater impact on society. "Toward Next-Gen Mobile AR Games" explores augmented reality techniques, whereas "Multicore Made Simple" showcases a new processor for games. Both standards and middleware can have a great impact on the quality of software made for serious games. In her article, "Innovation and Value," Anne DeMarle highlights the need for standards in game development, and Jonathan Funge tells us about the value of middleware in "Let Us Entertain You."
As we seek ways for serious games to have a greater impact, it is important to keep returning to evaluation. "Experimental Validation of the Learning Effect for a Pedagogical Game on Computer Fundamentals" demonstrates a rare controlled study of the educational use of games, comparing games to paper and textbook instruction.