FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Aren't life-like simulations a better
way to learn than games?
Not necessarily. Some make the argument that the airplane simulator
is the greatest training tool ever invented -- and want all training
to work in the same way and be just as detailed and accurate.
There is no doubt that simulators are a great way to learn to
do things like drive machines such as airplanes or tanks. For
one thing, a machine is a closed system whose behavior is well-known.
Yet even here turning the simulation into a game makes the simulator
much more interesting as a learning tool. Corey Schou reports
that Fed Ex pilots wouldn't use the simulation he designed until
he made it competitive. The Navy is experimenting with turning
a periscope simulation into a less realistic but more fun shooting
game to increase the participants involvement. Studies have shown
that beginners prefer and learn better from an abstracted version
of a control panel than a realistic one, while advanced users
prefer the real thing.
When simulations involve people, the terms "real-life" becomes
harder to define, since people are extremely hard (many experts
would claim impossible at our current levels of understanding
and technology) to simulat, even with video. The same goes for
very complex systems such as business.
So what builders tend to do is build in some rules and algorithms
based on historical cases and data, and combine that with rule-based
automata and/or video to make it seem "real-life." However it
isn't, and cannot be, "real-life" in the same sense as an airplane
Games, on the other hand, by their very nature, provide abstraction,
rules and goals, as well as more engagement than "real-life,."
and when properly combined with simulations create what Elliott
masie calls "real kick-ass situations."
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