Paper: State of the Art Report on Serious Games

State of the Art Report on Serious Games: Blurring the lines between recreation and reality.
Eirik Vik [2009]

In this paper, Eirik gives a broad overview of Serious Games in general as of September 2009. Aside from general considerations like the target audience and advantages of using games to teach, what I found most interesting were two sections: The Serious Games Taxonomy and the AI , Character Development section.

In the serious games taxonomy, Eirik references a table constructed by Ben Sawyer, in which it is extremely easy to see the different types of genres and sectors in which serious games can be used. The genres he proposes are:
  • Games for Health
  • Advergames
  • Games for Training
  • Games for Education
  • Games for Science & Research
  • Production
  • Games at Work
This table includes how these genres can help in different sectors, which is helpful when trying to define the scope of a game to build.

In the other section (AI, Character Development), he talks about the evolution of human representation as NPC (Non-Playable Characters) in games. A representation model that has been trending is the OCEAN model, which divides a human persona into 5 different traits:
  1. Openness
  2. Conscientiousness
  3. Extroversion
  4. Agreeableness
  5. Neuroticism
A character can have different degrees of each trait, with one being the primary trait. These dictate how someone reacts to certain events.

Also, combined with this model is the dyadic model (gossip model) which is a form of artificial intelligence in which player actions create 'ripple effects' thorugh the virtual world. This means that after the player interacts with a NPC, that NPC might 'talk' about the player with other 'NPCs'. This effect makes NPCs who have never interacted with the player to have some sort of opinion about the player and also allows for characters from same groups or factions have different opinions, which makes the game more believable.

The paper provides a bit general but interesting read.

Vik, E. (2009). State of the Art Report on Serious Games: Blurring the lines between recreation and reality.

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