How Simulation Games are Being Incorporated into Training
by Jonathon Kaufman
Most games transport the player to a fictional world, which has no semblance of what real life entails. However, there is a genre that not only takes the player into a fictional world, but that world also acts just like the real world and the activities of the real world. These games are simulation games. Simulation games are based on real world situations and can mimic conditions associated with events players may encounter when in similar situations in the real world; this is what makes these games the perfect space to test and train individuals.
Simulation games have been used by businesses and the military to train people in situations that they would encounter on the job or the battlefield. A benefit of using a game to train people is that there is less risk involved. Training military officers how to respond in a combat situation can not only be monetarily expensive, but injury or death are also possibilities. The same could apply to first responders or other emergency personnel.
In a corporate setting, a company wouldn’t just say, “Here are the keys to the newest and busiest store located next to the Capitol, now go and sell.” If they did, they’d run the risk of not just losing money from the store’s operations, but having to close the store and possibly lose more money on relocating employees or paying unemployment. One way of training them could be having them shadow another manager. However, that would only teach them how to do the technical job skills. Management requires a lot of soft skills. A simulator could be used to help enforce desired soft skills such as performance management, delegation, and negotiation.
An example in the world of first responders is the job of firefighters. Firefighting is a very dangerous and physically demanding job. Training can not only be costly with having to create facilities which, while effective for some kinds of situations, cannot prepare them for everything they may come across. Some departments are beginning to use simulation programs to take the cost and risk to their firefighters out of the equation. Using a virtual environment, they can create any type of situation that they may need without the expense or danger of the real thing. They can create a simulation that trains the fighters what they need to do when they first arrive at the scene of a fire. They can teach how to safely assess the situation of a fire, without the need to put the lives of the fighters at risk during training.
Simulation training is already being implemented in businesses, government agencies, and by first responders to aide in training. The needs of the world are becoming more advanced; training should change with it.
Jonathon Kaufman grew up a typical gamer kid, who turned his passion into a career. He is a graduate of the Art Institute of California-Sacramento and holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Game Art & Design. When he is not working, he is a co-founder and instructor for Sprite Tech Labs, a community organization which seeks to encourage kids to explore their interests in game development and STEAM. He is the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer at SacTown Interactive.