Better results require better games.

Better games require better knowledge.


Games and simulations are becoming serious business with serious applications. They are being used in more and more public and private realms, with the added meaning that results from these games and simulations are increasingly affecting real world affairs. By association, there is a growing demand for knowledge about the design and application of games and simulations, especially for serious applications. This demand currently far outstrips supply, because the knowledge is dispersed over many organizations, business and academic disciplines, because it is strongly individualized, and because it often is anecdotal in nature lacking clear and consistent guidelines explaining design or application. This topic area aims to improve this situation by creating a platform that brings this knowledge together and makes it accessible. By providing this platform, the topic area should contribute to building better and more effective games and simulations, improve the effectiveness of their application, and the validity and utility of their results.



Ambition and Professional development


At any time that a new technology or science is discovered, created and developed standards will eventually evolve about concept and languages to discuss it, as well as about the best practices for building and creating new stuff with these technologies or sciences.

Games and simulations have been around for a very long time, and have been seriously used for at least 200 years now. Therefore it is about time that we articulate and share our combined knowledge and experience to improve the state of the art in design an application of games and simulation. Especially as the use of games and simulations grows exponentially and as results are applied to real world problems.

This topic area is created to foster, facilitate and support the development and evolution of the state of the art in gaming and simulation, and perhaps in particular in the evolution game-simulations that combine the two in serious applications.

At the moment knowledge and experience in game design and application is dispersed over many different user communities, design companies, and academic disciplines. If we want to really raise the state of the art in game design and simulation we need to bring together this vast amount of knowledge and experience. Our ambition is to support and improve the development and evolution of Standards in the Design, the Applications, and the Science of entertaining and serious games, simulations and game-simulations. In this manner we intend to become the premier Website for collecting, sharing and transmitting knowledge and experience about the ‘State of the Art’ in gaming and simulation. We will facilitate, support and improve access & utilization of the knowledge and experience available through this topic area. At all times it will present the ‘State of the Art’ in gaming and simulation. We expect to support this effort next year with the establishment of a Peer Reviewed Journal, with paper versions on demand.



Intended Audience


The topic area on Gaming and Simulation is intended for a broad audience of Designers, Practitioners, Educators and Researchers involved in research, design or application of games, game-simulations, and simulation models. At this stage of development we need the multiple perspectives that this broad audience will bring in order to build a comprehensive, relevant and useful knowledge base for developing and improving standards.








Defining games, game-simulations and simulations


Games and simulation is a broad topic with many elements covering many disciplines. To improve the state of the art in game technology and simulation models, we need to understand what the composing elements of games and simulations are and how they fit together in games and simulations and how they affect behavior of games and simulations. These composing elements form the fundamental & standard building blocks of each and every game and simulation. By focusing on these building blocks we can accomplish two things:


1)    We are enabled to cover and debate each design and application, establishing effective architectures, design specifications and user-requirements.

2)    By focusing on the standard building block we enable, support and facilitate the evolution of a standard vocabulary for the effective exchange of knowledge and experience. In this manner it will improve the standard in the science and art in game design and application.


This can be illustrated by a car metaphor. We all know about cars, we see them everyday in all kinds of shapes and colors, and many different types (lorry, fire-engine, police car, ambulance, etc). To understand how all of these cars work we do not need to understand each and every type. What we do need to understand are the elements that constitute a car, and further, how we can adapt each car to its purpose. For the first we need to understand the building blocks of a car (wheels, engine, frame, body, seats, steering wheel and gearbox) and how these can be fitted together. Secondly, we need to understand the application domain and the functions that the car needs to fulfill. Together these two knowledge area’s enable us to discuss the design and application of cars for any application.


Figure 1


Figure 1 shows a graphical definition of gaming and simulation as presented by Richard (Dick) Duke and later expanded upon by Ivo Wenzler and Swen Stoop. It shows that game and simulations are abstracted representations of reality, the level of abstraction being depended on purpose we aim to achieve. The orange circle in the middle shows the game-simulation and its application environment. To the left and right we see the 5 most basic building blocks of games and simulations. These are:







There is a growing fuzzy overlap involving games and simulations forming something we identify as game-simulations. is are blurring, particularly with serious application in education, training, research and innovation. In these cases the concept of more appropriate. Still, the concepts of game and simulation are used because they relate to different aspects. Games are activities that are mostly oriented at improving human cognitive and tasking skills, while simulations are activities that are mostly oriented at representing reality as good as possible. Here the concepts of games and simulations help us understand and communicate the capabilities, functions and utility of games and simulations.





At DS Online the topic area Games and Simulation is about games and simulations in a digital environment. We would also like to focus on distributed online games and simulations and on standardization.



Feedback & Contact


We want your feedback and comments on this topic area, its content and format. The success of this topic area relies on the development of a community that reads and contributes to its development. The development of standards for game technology and simulation models depends on practitioners, designers, educators and researchers communicating and sharing knowledge and experience about the best practice in design and application.


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Edited April 2007, version 0.1 Swen