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Games for Change

Gamification

There is an awful new word doing the rounds at the moment “gamification” . That’s the last time I will use in this article. but it provides a starting point for looking at how games and gaming technologies can be used for purposes alongside entertainment, in particular raising awareness and encouraging behaviour change.  Trainers and coaches have long used “games” as a way of engaging people in the subject whether in a classroom or in some form of role play or simulation. Today’s online environment’s provide even greater opportunity to use these sorts of techniques by immersing the player in the subject in a way its often difficult to do offline because of the many distractions. Social and gaming virtual worlds like world of warcraft  and second life have demonstrated their ability to hold players attention for many hours, so why not make use of those approaches for more “serious” purposes.

Take the subject of “intelligent mobility” ,  an online game or competition could either challenge  players to either get from A to B within certain constraints and encourage similar thinking in the real world or could engage players in the design of a city or regional  transport network to help understand the challenges.  If the game could be further informed by real world data which is in some senses out of control , eg the weather or the economy , then the game really does start to have a serious and real edge.

One application of the above thinking is the creation of a shipping race featuring the proposed B9  (www.b9energy.co.uk ) low carbon cargo ship, which uses a mix of sails and engine power. The challenge is to sail and configure the ship to minimise the carbon usage, whilst the conditions are set by the real external weather. A kind of mixed reality application

 

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1 person has had something to say so far

Transport systems are complex and interconnected. Powered by oil and emotional attachment. How can we envisage them? What does transport look like into the future? What will drive change? How can we manage a transition with minimum impact? Whta's the best way to go cold turkey? What happens if we choose to continue to import our stuff and increasing oil prices makes imports unbearably expensive? Do we have any resilience? How soon can we get anywhere close to national/local self reliance? Who do we trust to make these big decisions for us? No one. We're addicts and our dealers are sharks. Whenever there's a possible solution we choose to argue between option 1 and option 2. Then we get stuck. Do nothing and yet there is no option. Fossils are finite.

An ideal way for us, as an international community, to explore thiese 'what-if' transition scenarios is to model a virtual world. We can rapidly develop this world, build in the myriad of variables and invite a wide audience to participate. Sim City for real. How easy is it to make these hard decisions? Why don't we all participate in making them? Or at least understand the parameters. Once we embrace the reality we can find a measured response.

What happens when fuel gets so expensive we can't run our vehicles- oh my! even just talking about petrol supply disruption looks horrible.

We are behaving like addicts.

Is this what reality looks like?

We need help. From virtually anywhere.
Posted on 29/03/12 15:03.

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