Serious Games in Transportation Sector
Serious games are a purpose based tool rather than a pure environment. Predominantly serious games are used for training and motivating the users. Applications of serious games span across education, medicine, military and lot more. The users of these games are exposed to a gameplay and by accomplishing the tasks within the gameplay the users tend to acquire a specific knowledge.
Learning effectiveness in serious games - Drummond, D., Hadchouel, A., & Tesnière, A. (2017). Serious games for health: three steps forwards. Advances in Simulation, 2(1), 3. https://doi.org/10.1186/s41077-017-0036-3
The automotive and transportation sectors are showing consistent improvements in trends and standards concerning the safe and convenient travel of the road users. In this growing community of road users, the driver performance is a notable factor as many on-road mishaps emerge out of poor driver performance. In this research work, I focused on a case-study and experimental analysis to improve driver performance through the deployment of serious games. The primary motive of this work is to stimulate the on-road user performance through immediate feedback, driver coaching, and real-time gamification methods. The games exploit the cloud-based architecture to retrieve the driver performance scores based on real-time evaluation of vehicle signals and display the outcomes on game scene by reflecting the game parameters based on real-world user performance (in the context of driving and mobility).
Before, I explain further let me discuss a little bit about serious games, so here comes my primary question - What are serious games?
The deployment of games in cars is the topic of interest in current state-of-the-art, as there are more factors associated with it, such as safety, usability, and willingness of the users. These aspects were taken into careful consideration while designing the paradigm of gamification model. The user feedback for the real-time games was extracted through pilot tests and field tests in Genova. The gamification and driver coaching aspects were tested on various occasions (plug-in and field tests conducted at 5 European test sites), and the inputs from these field tests enabled to tune the parameters concerning the evaluation and gamification models. The improvement of user behavior was performed through a virtuous cycle with the integration of virtual sensors to the serious gaming framework. As the culmination, the usability tests for the real-time games were conducted with 18 test users to understand the user acceptance criteria and the parameters (ease of use and safety) that would contribute to the deployment of games. Other salient factors such as the impact of games, large-scale deployment, collaborative gaming and exploitation of gaming framework for 3rd party applications were also investigated in this research activity.
The analysis of the usability tests states that the user acceptance of the implemented games is good. The report from usability study has addressed the user preferences in games such as duration, strategy and gameplay mechanism; these factors contribute a foundation for future research in implementing the games for mobility.
High-Level Architecture of Serious Games and Community Building Application
The fundamental concept of the Serious Games and Community Building (SG_CB) application is to create a virtuous cycle to improve the user behavior in mobility standards considering the various aspects such as types of users, vehicles, applications and the context of usage. On a circumstance where more number of users and applications are involved the primary aim of the SG_CB application was to support a variety of applications for improving the user performance. The social gaming typologies comprise five different games focusing on competitive grading, event-based game, and reality – enhanced gaming. Predominantly the SG_CB application was developed to assess the driver behavior and to provide the gamification/feedback for the driver performance.
The concept of serious games can be exploited to promote better user performances in multiple contexts apart from driver performance assessment (such as parking and navigation applications), so even the external applications can utilize the game services (social game typologies) to motivate users in making better choices. The centralized cloud architecture comprises the management and processing of user performance details (performance and analytics) for the social game typologies. The cloud server manages the game functionality and user performance tabulations; the reference architecture of the system is a service-oriented architecture.
Five Game Typologies for Inducing Green and Safe Driving Aspects
Competitions - Comparative analysis along with peers
Virtual Bank - Incentives to captivate better driving traits
Event-Analysis - Feedback based module for analysis of driving performance
Reflection of real-world events in games
When consolidating the need for the development of these game typologies, the initial analysis comprised of these five game typologies to cater various users but in future more games can be included in the cloud server based on user preferences. The collaborative approach in passenger game facilitates the users to engage in a live interactive game, and the gameplay is the result of real-time happenings associated with user performances. The users who prefer to engage in an interactive gameplay on basis of real-time evaluation during the journey can use passenger game. The driver game focuses more on individual performance and immediate feedback analysis with simple gaming interface accompanied by an audio feedback module. The competitions approach provides a comparative gameplay with rankings, scores, performance reports and rewards. The virtual coins gained by users can be associated with the efficiency in adapting towards the better driving behavior and also for utilizing the benefits from real-world. These gaming aspects can coach and motivate the choices of the users, as the games are a reflection of real-world performances and the users get to understand the implications of low performance. The event-analysis module spotlights the harsh driving events in more detailed aspect, where the user can visualize/analyze the impacts of harsh driving maneuvers and how it reflects on the game scene. Thus SG-CB application offers more gaming options for users based on their performance, and the features of gaming application such as incentives, collaboration, comparative analysis and real-time visualization will interest users in adapting towards the safe and green driving behaviors.