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The Simulation-Game Controversy: What is a Ludic Simulation?

J. R. Parker and Katrin Becker
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J. R. Parker: MinkHollow Media Ltd., Cochrane, AL, Canada
Katrin Becker: MinkHollow Media Ltd., Cochrane, AL, Canada

International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations (IJGCMS), 2013, vol. 5, issue 1, 1-12

Abstract: Games use the same base technology and design strategy as do simulations, but add a few items to the mixture. Understanding this gives ‘new’ (read borrowed) tools for game creation and testing. The idea that simulations are implementations of a model, for instance, leads to a focus on the model rather than the code when designing a game. Similarly, the verification/validation pair used in simulations can be extended by adding playtesting for games, thus giving an educational game (for example) viable, demonstrable educational characteristics as well as playable (and thus engaging and motivating) characteristics. Productive work on improving games for specific purposes (serious games) can be advanced if the authors can agree on a common terminology and concept set (Shaw & Gaines, 1989), and if games can be seen as a valuable extension of a simulation that has specific characteristics that make them useful in specific circumstances. The idea of ‘fun’ is often thought of as the enemy of ‘learning’ in educational literature, and this needs to change if progress on serious and educational games is to be made. This paper will describe the hierarchy of computer simulation objects within which ludic simulations can be understood.

Date: 2013
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