Saturday, December 3, 2011

Designing Sim(ulation)s

Life and Death Screenshot
This week is gaming and simulation week (if you haven't guessed from the posts that I've been posting and responding to) on Change11 with guest Clark Aldrich. As usual, I've skipped the live session since there is more than enough content on the blogs and what's been provided by the guest facilitators. The reading matter for this week is a short book by Clark titled Designing Sims the Clark Aldrich way.

The book was quite succinct and on the small side, perhaps an abbreviated version of  The Complete guide to Simulations and Serious Games, in other words a good quick read to get you situated in what one needs to do in order to get simulations off the ground for instructional purposes.  This book, for me, was quite interesting because it bridged my computer science and UI design backgrounds, with my management background, and my instructional design background - it was pretty cool to see all of these converge in an area (simulations) that I don't have a ton of experience in.

In the last couple of Sloan-C conference there was a vendor there whose company sold a simulation building engine. It was interesting and it reminded me of a game that I used to play on my old Mac Performa 635 running System 7.5. The game was called Life and Death where you'd play a doctor making the rounds in the hospital, checking up on patients, diagnosing them, prescribing medications and when needed perform surgery.  It was an interesting game, a simulation of a hospital. Maybe it wasn't fully realistic, but I consider it to be an interesting paradigm for learning simulation games. What if you did want to use this in nursing or medical education, how could you build upon this model? Interesting thing to think about.

By the way, I am sure you can download this game for free now. There were Mac and DOS versions, so with DOSbox you could probably run it without any issues :-)
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