Special Track on SS4SG @ ESSA 2014 with invited speaker: Alexander Verbraeck

We are happy to announce that our Social Simulation 4 Serious Games SIG has a special track at the ESSA conference at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona next week. In total, we have three talks, one given by an invited speaker, Alexander Verbraeck from TU Delft; one by Setsuya Kurahashi and Keisuke Kuniyoshi from the University of Tsukuba; and one given by Jeroen Linssen from the University of Twente. The special track will take place on Wednesday the 3rd from 17:30 to 19:00 (see the programme). The talks are described below.

Invited speaker: Alexander Verbraeck

Alexander Verbraeck (MSc in applied mathematics 1987 (cum laude); PhD in logistics 1991), is a full professor at Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, Systems Engineering and Simulation Department. His research focuses on modeling, simulation, and serious gaming, especially in distributed environments and using real-time data. Examples of research on these types of simulations are real-time decision making, interactive gaming using simulation models, and the use of 3D virtual and augmented reality environments in simulations for training. The major application domains for research are logistics and transportation, and safety and security. He chairs the Freight Transport and Logistics domain in the interdisciplinary TU Delft Transport Institute, and is a Fellow in the Research School TRAIL for Transport, Infrastructure and Logistics. In addition Alexander has a position as adjunct professor at the R.H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, USA. Here, he applies the modeling, simulation and gaming research for studying real-time supply chains.

“Social Computer Simulation and Serious Gaming: What Can we Learn from Each Other?”

It seems such a small step when a computer simulation model for a social phenomenon is available: creating a serious game by just adding a few things to make the simulation interactive. Reality is different, however. Every time it turns out that it is very difficult to transform a simulation model into a game, even when the simulation model already includes behavior and social issues. In the presentation, we will explore a number of root causes, and see how we can address these. We will look for instance at the services that a (computer) simulation environment offers, and how these differ from the services that a (computer supported) serious game needs. Furthermore, the goal of a simulation and the goal of the game differ fundamentally. We will explore what this means for the design and construction of a simulation model that we expect to turn into a game later, or that will be used as the “calculation engine” in a serious game. Where simulation models typically run much faster than reality, the game often asks for a real-time or even slower time advance to stimulate learning and insight. Many games create rounds (jumps in time) to still be able to cover a sizable time duration, but this often creates issues with loss of understanding of the game participants. A final difference we will look into is the limited ability for humans to process information in the same way that computer simulation models can process information. Based on several project examples, we will explore the complex – but fascinating – relationship between social computer simulation and serious gaming.

Presenter: Setsuya Kurahashi and Keisuke Kuniyoshi

“Teaching Simulation on Collaborative Learning, Ability Groups and Mixed-ability Groups”

In this research, a teaching simulation model is built where the understanding status, knowledge structure, and collaborative effect of each learner are integrated by using a doubly structural network model. The purpose of the model is to analyse the actual conditions of understanding of learners regarding instructions given in classrooms. The influence of teaching strategies on learning effects is analysed in the model. Moreover, the influence of the seating arrangement of learners on collaborative learning effects and ability groups are discussed. As a result of the simulation, the following points were found: (1) the learning effects depend on the difference in teaching strategies, (2) a teaching strategy where learning skills, material structure, and collaborative learning are integrated is the most effective, (3) the seating arrangement affects collaborative learning, and (4) ability groups have adverse effects on learners in collaborative learning.

Presenter: Jeroen Linssen

“Beyond Simulations: Serious Games for Training Interpersonal Skills in Law Enforcement”

Serious games can be used to improve people’s social awareness by letting them experience difficult social situations and learn from these experiences. However, we assert that, when moving beyond the strict realism that social simulations offer, techniques from role play may be used that offer more possibilities for feedback and reflection. We discuss the design of two such serious games for interpersonal skills training in the domain of law enforcement. These games feature intelligent virtual agents with which trainees have to interact across different scenarios to improve their social awareness. By interacting with the virtual agents, trainees experience how their behaviour influences the course of the intervention and its outcomes. We discuss how we intend to improve the learning experience in these serious games by including meta-techniques from role play. We close by describing the current and future implementations of our serious games.