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Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Guardian: Games Have A Serious Role To Play

Britain harnessing Serious Games Skills


Via: The Guardian - Games Can Have A Serious Role To Play
Victor Keegan
Thursday 11 December 2008


In this article, Victor Keegan provides some hard evidence that Britain has special skills in Serious Games which need to be harnessed if they are to fulfill their potential and reach a global audience.

Here are the excerpts…

“Last week I saw two small examples of what might be the future.”

At a seminar organized by Digital Public, I met the young people behind
Dead Ends, a videogame commissioned by Channel 4, which enabled kids from at-risk London areas to work with RollingSound, a multimedia education provider, to create a game about knife life on the city's streets with a serious underlying message.”

“For 17-year-old Ollie Edgington, one of several kids to get their first full-time employment on the game, it was a chance to use his experiences on the streets.”



In this full 3D game produced exclusively for Channel 4's 'Disarming Britain' season, you play on both sides of the law, as Keith Wilcox, a new gang recruit caught in a deadly situation he can't handle, and Detective Jameson, an officer investigating a gang killing that's turning up nothing but dead ends.

“In Plymouth I visited TwoFour, an interesting company embracing everything from TV production to virtual worlds, which has linked with Stoke Damerel Community College to conduct entire lessons in Second Life for 13- to-17-year-old kids lacking motivation, with surprisingly encouraging results.”


Students log on to learn in Second Life: a pioneering educational project which has been launched in Plymouth, late September 2008.

Technology and education experts have joined forces to create the new learning area in SL. TwoFour and Plymouth City Council bought space in the web-based three-dimensional world, where Second Life developer Andrew Jinman has been working with Darren Towers, a media advanced skills teacher at the college, and students to develop the island.

“Meanwhile, Sony Computer Entertainment has released to critical acclaim the UK-developed Little Big Planet, a PlayStation 3 game developed by Media Molecule, where players can learn elements of physics or other disciplines.”


TruSim, a division of Blitz Games Studios in the UK, has developed Interactive Triage Trainer, a 3D virtual representation of a real-world situation designed to train professionals how to prioritise their treatment of casualties after a catastrophe.”


Find also my prior post Serious Games To Test Triage Sieve Speed And Accuracy

“These are a few examples of what could become a mass market under the watchful eye of the recently established Serious Games Institute at Coventry University.”

“David Wortley, director of the institute, is hopeful that their work will dispel some of the social stigma around videogames to highlight positive applications that can deliver genuine solutions to real social and economic issues.”

“The point of all this is that Britain has special skills in Serious Games which need to be harnessed if they are to fulfill their potential and reach a global audience.”

“The videogames industry is already lobbying to get the government to reverse the worrying migration of the UK's skills base to Canada, where government subsidies have established one of the strongest gaming sectors in the world (
A case of arrested development, October 23). While it is pouring vast amounts of money into a failed banking sector, the UK government ought to nurture what could become a huge growth industry for Britain.”

“As Ray Maguire, head of Sony Computer Entertainment UK, told at last week's seminar, Britain has the infrastructure, the devices and, increasingly, the content to generate success in Serious Games - but something is lacking.”



Friday, December 26, 2008

Economic Turmoil and Serious Games

Serious Games challenging us to deliver on value



I must confess I had not dedicated too much thought to the impact of the recent economic turmoil on Serious Games market size until some of my Blog readers brought this up.

My latest post on the subject Reconciling Serious Games Market Size Different Estimates, projecting the figures for the Serious Games market size short term, have probably become obsolete – at least in terms of "timing". As we know, in a scenario of contingent budgets, organizations tend to defer discretionary costs.

My best guess at this point:


  • Major impact would be felt by the projects that either require significant investment in infrastructure or can not demonstrate immediate value creation, especially in the corporate training segment.
  • In defense applications and game-like simulations for medical training (e.g., training for surgery, for emergency medical response, and for managing surgical teams), such expenditure could be justified, since the cost of mistakes in these areas would far outweigh the cost of Serious Games adoption.
  • Academic education would have a lower impact, due to its long term implications.
  • Moving away from the-work-for-hire model to a large-scale-distribution model, enabled by COTS and leading to exponential growth for the segment, could feel the effects of a global slowdown.
The Upside

Given recent history, slowdowns would appear to be part of the global economy. During a slowdown, it is even more important for companies to continue innovating in their respective markets.

Delivering value in the workplace has been a consistent theme for debate over the last years. In the wake of the financial turmoil and economic uncertainties we are currently experiencing, demonstrating value has become a necessity rather than a nice to have approach.

This could translate into more robust propositions for Serious Games adoption mid term.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Proof Of Concept: Serious Games Through Social Networks

Developing 3D games for social networks



Via: Caspian Learning - Not A Serious Game - YET!

Caspian Learning has been experimenting with immersive games through social networks.

The Caspian team has just launched a proof of concept for a client that shows technically and in usability that this is possible.

Its not a serious game - YET! They are tracking progress this month to understand this space better.



Caspian was getting asked for this a lot by clients who are seeking to provide games to learners where ever they may be.They now know that it is possible to deliver on this demand through the browser on a social network, rapidly and for low cost, which  should open the door for developers to expand into this market in 2009.

Caspian has been asked to present technical papers at IGDA casual games and is open to share this knowledge with developers to create the market.

Check out the game on Facebook at http://apps.facebook.com/urchinaspnet/. Santa's Elves have stolen all of his presents so you have 5 minutes to search the XMAS town and whack any elves that you can catch. You'll find special presents along the way - 20 different - which you can then send to your friends. Its also a personalised 3D Christmas card.

Caspian would be interested in receiving any ideas for co-development if developers are interested in developing 3D games for social networks.
Merry Christmas ho ho ho!

About Caspian Learning

Launched in 2002, Caspian Learning is a provider of 3D learning based games applications to the education, public sector and private industry. Caspian Learning combines research into learning and memory processes with the interactivity and engagement benefits offered by 3D computer games technologies.

The outputs are highly advanced eLearning applications for computer-based teaching. Caspian Learning can take content from any subject area and utilise its technology to create specific learning applications within a tailored 3D games based environment.