An Overview on the Use of Serious Games in the Military Industry and Health

An Overview on the Use of Serious Games in the Military Industry and Health

Jorge Brandão (Portuguese Catholics University, Portugal), Tiago Ferreira (Portuguese Catholics University, Portugal) and Vítor Carvalho (University of Minho, Portugal & Polytechnic Institute of Cávado and Ave, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0149-9.ch009

Abstract

For bringing together the capacity to inform, educate, and train their users through the interaction with the player and simulation environments very close to reality (in which the acquisition of new skills is the primary goal and fun to play secondary), serious games became the ideal tool for health applications and training military personnel as well as for improving their techniques. In this chapter, a general point of view is presented regarding the use of serious games in the military industry and health. Moreover, it also discusses what serious games are and in which areas they can be applied, which steps a serious game development involves, as well as which platforms and technologies can be used in its development. A description on successful military serious games is also provided, as well as the results of an interview with the psychologists of the Association “ENCONTRA-SE” (Oporto, Portugal) about the use of health serious games as a therapy for patients with mental illnesses.
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Evolution Of Serious Games

During the 80´s Professor Seymour Papert from MIT gave a strong boost to serious games developing Logo languages and express on his book “Mind storms: Children, Computers and Powerful Ideas” that computers with strong calculation processors could help to expand students learning without physical limitations from the class room. Seymour also predicts that capability of large mathematical equations would grow in an extreme way, as it did (Seymour Papert,1980).

One of the major promoters was the US Army who since early invested in the creation and development of serious games, spending around 4 billion dollars a year in simulation equipment and war games (Alvarez et al., 2008). According to the Global Firepower website, the USA´s army budget is at least equal to the sum of all the rest of world’s armies. In 2010, the USA President Obama approved a 660 billion dollars budget for the army. This grows happened in the last year because military industries have become more stable and hardware performance became better especially in graphics where images are with a very good level of realism. Initially this kind of knowledge was confined to the military industry. Although, like most of technology that is developed by armies, later has been brought to civil society. So, opening and sharing military serious games with a commercial side has naturally gave another boost to them, has the commercial market responded very well obtaining a huge success around the world on games like Quake, Unreal and Half-life.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Mental Illness: Examples of games that works with serious mental illnesses, such as depression, bipolar disorders, poor memory, lack of attention and it uses to treat them.

Platforms: Platforms used by companies involved in the development of serious games.

Health: This kind of games are designed to offer a tool of teaching and learning more effective for students and professionals in the field of biological sciences, medical and surgical

Military: one of the most important areas in terms of investment and development of serious games. It was the military defense that gave great impetus to their development.

Serious Games: - Serious Games are applications of interactive technology that extend far beyond the traditional videogame market, including: training, military exploration, analytics, visualization, simulation, education, health and therapy.

Technologies: Technologies used by companies involved in the development of serious games.

Game Industry: Refers to military and health areas referred to in this paper regarding its involvement and evolution.

Serious Games Advantages: The two sides of Serious Games, the good and the less good of Serious Games.

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