We keep writing it: serious games have to be taken seriously. Need a proof? The university research world finally gave birth to several thesis and other initiatives on the subject.
For a few years already, serious games have been a topic of choice for the researchers who wanted to explore a new research line yet still in the ICT department.
If you follow our news stream, you will probably remember that in 2012, we had already advertised Damien Djaouti thesis, a Ph.D. from Toulouse University (http://192.168.1.118/peri/seriousgameblog.com/?p=2505&lang=en).
The trend is maintained and reaffirmed in 2013: numerous research labs have been created and not just in the USA! France is also a leader in this domain, as there have been many research teams assembled and facilities created.
One of the oldest is the Play Research Lab in Valenciennes that assigned itself with the study of evaluating gamified uses such as serious games or gamification processes. The singularity of this research lab is in joining forces between the professional world, the CCI grand Hainaut (local chamber of commerce and industry) and several universities. An initiative that will certainly affect all the serious games actors.
However, it’s only recently that the Serious Game Research Lab has been created, a pluridisplinary group of researchers from Midi-Pyrénées. The organisation wants to rapidly develop digital tools to improve the quality of the training. Three projects are already running!
- Mecagenius “is a learning game dedicated to mechanical engineering. It allows the players to discover a workshop, learn how to machine pieces on NC machine-tools, manage a virtual manufacturing project and optimize production”.
- 3D Virtual Operating Room “is a simulation platform project, multilingual and accessible online, focused on managing risks in an operating theatre”.
- Easy RMM “is a software dedicated to helping conduct RMM (reviews of Morbidity and Mortality). It simplifies systemic analysis of causes leading to a serious unwanted event and offer the possibility to produce an anonymous file to comply with the law”.
No doubts that these initiatives will give serious games a chance to secure their place as a favoured tool among the learning methods. These experiences will also permit to find new scope of practice for the professional world. The professionals will just have to wait for the researchers’ findings and why not apply unseen development techniques.