A foray into the use of serious games in controlled research on crisis management

Michael E. Stiso, Aslak W. Eide, Antoine Pultier

ABSTRACT

Controlled experiments on crisis management could provide many insights into the human factors that lead to effective performance in the area. However, the challenge of establishing a controlled environment directly relevant to the chaotic settings in which crisis management occurs means that such experiments are scarce. Here, we describe our attempt to use a videogame (ARMA III) as a realistic but controllable environment for research in this domain. We successfully developed a testbed linking the game world to the front-end of a prototype command-and-control system, so that one can use the latter to monitor events in the former. However, when it came to developing controlled scenarios for the experiment, we discovered that too much realism can be a problem. This paper outlines the challenges we encountered and provides recommendations for researchers and game designers interested in the use of serious games in scientific research.

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