Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Simulations I Learned from Video Games

Conference Archive

FocusOn Learning 2017 Conference & Expo - June 22, 2017

Bianca Woods

Sr. Manager of Programming
The eLearning Guild

We know that simulations are a fantastic way to allow people to practice skills in a realistic but safe environment that gives them the opportunity to learn from mistakes. However, actually sitting down and creating a simulation that feels real to your audience is definitely harder than it sounds. So learn from the industry that’s been successfully simulating real and imagined situations for years: video games! Video games aren’t just a fun diversion, there’s also a lot in common between how they’re created and the way a strong simulation should be designed.

In this session, you’ll take a look at how video games developers have overcome some of the same major hurdles that we experience when developing simulations for training, such as deciding what your simulation structure should be, narrowing down potential ideas to just the ones that work, and making player choices matter (or at least seem like they matter). You’ll also learn about game design techniques that will make your simulation development process run smoother, such as iterative design and prototyping. Whether you’re a seasoned gamer or someone who couldn’t recognize Pong if your life depended on it, you’ll still learn a lot about what video games can teach us about making simulations that are fun and effective.

In this session, you will learn:

  • How the audience you’re designing for should influence the game you create
  • How to decide how much choice to give your players
  • How to avoid the “uncanny valley” of sims
  • How prototyping and iterative design can lead to better game experiences
  • What games to check out when you’re looking for simulation design inspiration

Novice and intermediate designers and developers.

Technology discussed in this session:
Branching and simulation games, including The Walking Dead, Papers Please, and Lifeline.


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