Sara de Freitas


By Sara de Freitas, Director of Research at the Serious Games Institute at the University of Coventry.


An interesting talk about the current state of serious games researched by the SGI group, Floodsim was shown in a quite funny video, where London was flooded – what a disaster 🙂 The term “Serious games” is really hated by the people who use it, certainly when second life and other things come up.

Session Notes

Director of Research at the Serious Games Institute. Serious games and virtual worlds. Future predictions in the area, and current trends is the aim of the talk.

Crossing between virtual and real spaces is the future aim.

Gaming is growing every year, although growth is slowing it’ll get to $48.9 billion in 2011. Serious games are around $150-200 million a year (add in the health market would make it around $1 billion, army stuff is even more).

For gaming behaviour, survey of NHS staff – 89% female, frequency of gameplay is low at higher ages, especially in females (it depends on the group being surveyed of course, the numbers for other industries would be different).

Game types vary with gender, puzzles being more puzzles for women, sports and fighting for men. Puzzles are more popular for middle aged people. Learning on the job was also picked up as a preferred learning method. Simulation of the experience is a good way to remember the content, supposedly 90% of it when it is actual work or a simulation of it (Edge Data cone of learning).

You basically learn better through doing it.

SIG are looking to better understand cognitive inputs and using games/simulations, since it should be better to actively participate in it to learn. Physiological methods need to be studied.

Will be studying the use of peripherals to study how brain detectors can be used to change/command a simulation – Neurosky (see videos online).

For the entire layout of a production of an educational or serious game is set out in the areas of process (design process), principles (what in general should be going on) and tools & techniques (building it) areas that need to be looked at. Four Dimensional Framework used on the tool side (Learner – profile, role, Presentation – the game’s world, Pedagogy, Context).

Health, education and environment serious games. Visually impressive health education game for biochemistry for example. Can view different parts of the body to learn about different aspects down to a cellular level. Remission helped children with cancer learn how important it was to take medicine (and reduce morality rates) and is a first for a proven difference of effectiveness in a learning tool compared to typical ones.

Another game was shown to teach children about social acceptance, with aliens on a space port. (I didn’t note the name down fast enough, heh).

Floodsim went online recently 2 weeks ago. 100,000 players, 27,000 completed (¼), allows control of the government funding and to stop flooding. 3:1 males to females play it. Commissioned by Norwich Union. Allows people to learn about environmental policy issues.

Serious games changing the physical world?

Visualisations and so forth of the world, 3d spaces based on the real world. Virtual worlds and games can merge, and should be collaborating. Also can build non-real world buildings (a meeting on a cell for instance). Also many social aspects for meeting and so forth.

So linking the real and the virtual?

Linking conferences/talks with streams is already being experimented with. Putting a virtual doll house of a hospital or something to parallel the real thing – creates smart spaces, a dialogue with the person using the system. Future research into virtual agents and other areas are also SGI’s aims, to enrich virtual spaces and interactions.

Serious games website:

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