Gaming monitor

+ Serious games using fire, structural and transport simulation data could improve emergency management and training.

Computer games are no longer just about play – serious games could help unlock further value from engineers’ design data.

A serious game or applied game is a game designed for something other than pure entertainment. They’re already used by the military and the health sector – for example to train soldiers. But I believe they have much wider applications.

Engineers and designers create and own a huge amount of simulation and design data. Shouldn’t we look for ways to get more value from this data? One way would be to create realistic scenario-based games for training and further validation of the design.

Serious games can also be used to educate trainee engineers. Our project management and design knowledge from successful and not-so-successful projects can be used to create games that ask players to make design decisions and then show their consequences. The games on ASCE’s Just for Fun site and at SimPort work on a similar principle.

This wouldn’t be a massive leap. Novice programmers and even non-programmers can build simple games with the tools available today. And ready-made gaming content has accelerated the game-creation process. If, as engineers and designers, we combine our engineering data and expertise with the gaming technology, I’m sure we can create interesting applications.

Imagine, for example, how serious games using design data could benefit emergency management and training. Fire, structural and transport simulation data for a project could be combined to create game-based training programs for fire fighters, paramedics and residents of a building.

So I think this is something that could be not just a game-changer but also a life-saver.