Sunday, 31 March 2013

Games As Tools For Evaluating And Teaching Real-World Skills

A federally funded R&D center in a reputed university in the US focuses on solving real-world problems through the applications of technology. Such technology includes video games, though the types of games being developed in this research center do not resemble the first impression which comes into our minds when we hear of the term video games.

Scientists from the research center hosted a special panel to discuss the increasing use of games as aids to solve problems of national security, which is the major purview of the center. The discussion of the panelists revolved around the applications of the games for the types of issues which the research center is tackling as well as some of the special challenges faced by creators of such games.

A member of technical staff for security at the research center said that a prime application of games is in the evaluation of the problem-solving and decision-making skills of officials. He provided the example of managing a wildfire in California specifically the swift thinking needed in such a situation. When administrators of such situations were later asked how they made a certain decision, they were not able to offer a specific reason other than instinct. It was pointed out that decision making in the real world is usually never captured digitally, so there would be very less data for researchers to analyze from actual situations. This is where games come into the picture.

The research center tends to build games which mimic the different operational environments in which people make the decisions. A cognitive scientist said that the idea was to utilize games as tools to construct quantitative models which predict the decisions which people make based on the information provided in the game. In order to achieve this, game makers should construct a simulation of the real-world environment which is believable. This is easier said than done.

If the real world environment is not recreated exhaustively, then you could argue that the actions taken in the gaming environment by participants differed from those taken in an operational environment. So, the challenge is to utilize novice data from this low-fidelity simulation environment for predicting operational behavior in a high-fidelity setting.

To create such video games, a render farm setup is needed. Rendering services are one of the prime technologies which have come into existence. A render farm is a collection of computers which are used to render images. Rendering is crucial for any industry which requires the creation of high resolution computer graphics. Most modern industries utilize rendering services. Most of the movies we see today are made of graphics which would not be possible without the use of rendering. Many videos have got details which would not be visible to the eye without rendering. Render services are vital for the film industry and industries which rely on computer graphics, such as the video game industry.

Fox Render Farm is a well-regarded online render farm company with several render nodes standing by. Their services have been recognized by various high profile CG companies and you could expect a service of exceptional quality at an affordable price.

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