Playing with Biology: Making Medical Games that Appear Lifelike

Playing with Biology: Making Medical Games that Appear Lifelike

Thomas B. Talbot (Institute for Creative Technologies, University of Southern California, Playa Vista, CA, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/jgcms.2013070106


Game-based medical simulations differ from other training modalities in that life processes must be simulated as part of the experience. Biological fidelity is the degree to which character anatomical appearance and physiology behavior are represented within a game or simulation. Methods to achieve physiological fidelity include computational physiology engines, complex state machines, simple state machines and kinetic models. Traditional games also employ health scores that can also be employed for medical gaming. The selection of technique to is dependent upon the goals of the simulation, the types of input expected of the user, the amount of development work possible and the level of fidelity required. Apparent biological fidelity, responsiveness to user inputs and the ability to correct mistakes is often more important than actual biological fidelity.
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Physiological Fidelity

Many training scenarios involve demonstrations of physiological action with an expectation that the learner diagnose a condition based upon the demonstrated physiology, make interventions and receive a realistic physiological response as would be seen in a patient encounter. A variety of mechanisms exist that can do with tradeoffs in the fidelity, dynamism and effort involved in their creation.

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