Serious Game Interoperability: the good, the better & the optimal

Wouldn’t it be good not to start from scratch when developing a serious game?  Wouldn’t it be better to be able to integrate your serious game into the Learning Management System implemented at your university and automatically retrieve feedback on how well your students play a game? Wouldn’t itbe nice to be able to develop more at lower costs? Interoperability is the solution that can get you from good to better and even more, the optimal blend!

The lack of a stable  framework that would enable serious games developers harness the benefits of the digital  technologies has been identified by many researchers.  With the rapid advancement in the serious games field, the need to refine a sense of which tools will support optimal levels of interoperability emerges as critical. This approach originates from the acknowledgment of the fact that interoperability solutions require consistent, cost-efficient customization.

Interoperability aims to help developers define the optimal level of interconnectedness and to lay a path for achieving it. For this, it is necessary to develop a new lens for analysing how complex systems, components, applications, etc. are connected – or sometimes, inexplicably, still separated.

Based on these premises, the research of the GALA Technical Committee 2.5 Interoperability and semantics has focused on the development of a Serious Games Multidimensional Interoperability Framework (SG-MIF) that would ease the comprehension and the adoption of SG interoperability through the integration of three core dimensions: the components included in a serious games like graphic objects, game mechanics, gameplay; the ecosystem where the serious game will be implemented that include developing platforms, programming languages, LMS communication; and external factors that go beyond the core technical aspects of a serious game such as evaluation, classification and applicability.

SG-MIF

Figure 1. Serious Games Multidimensional Interoperability Framework (SG-MIF)

Previous researches have focused mainly on interoperability issues of singular components, like game engines, while specific technical areas, such as distributed simulations like HLA have not been taken into consideration. This research takes a holistic approach and the SG-MIF answers the need for collaboration on multidimensional tiers that reunite user communities (such as teachers and developers), software, hardware, standards, etc. At the same time, the framework enables the instantiation of different interoperability scenarios, correspondent to the objectives set for the development of a particular serious game and to the prerequisites of the implementation environment. The researchers consider that such frameworks enable prior evaluation of alternative interoperability scenarios by providing an overview on interoperability-based SG development.

Join us on the interoperability adventure to discover how to balance costs and benefits both in the short and long term and to assess how much interoperability you should aim to achieve.

References

[1]          Stănescu I.A., Ştefan A. and Roceanu I. Serious Games Interoperability, ISI proceedings, the 7th eLSE Conference, Bucharest, Romania, April 15-16, 2010.

[2]          Bergeron, B. Developing Serious Games. s.l. : Cengage Learning, 2006.

[3]          Benson, T. Principles of Health Interoperability HL7 and SNOMED (Health Informatics). London : Springer, 2009. p. pp. 25.

[4]          Roman P., Bassarab R. The Simulation Interoperability Framework – Mapping Interoperability Requirements to Coalition Outcomes , NATO, 2008.

[5]          Morris Jr., John B. Injecting the Public Interest into Internet Standards. [book auth.] Laura DeNardis. Opening Standards: The Global Politics of Interoperability (The Information Society Series). Cambridge : The MIT Press, 2011.

[6]          Desourdis, R., Rosamilia, P., & Jacobson, C. (2009). Achieving Interoperability in Critical IT and Communication Systems. Artech House Publishers.

[7]         Stănescu I. A, Roceanu I., Ştefan A. and Martinez-Ortiz I. Principles of Serious Games Interoperability. ISI proceedings, the 6th International Conference on Virtual Learning, Cluj Napoca,

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