When we think of games, we normally think of entertainment—players staying up all night in front of their computers, guzzling energy drinks.
Many people are unaware that games are often employed for real-life applications. There have been instances when games spawned training software and training software spawned games.
Here are seven simulation games that have had a real-world influence.
1. Flight Training: X-Plane 11
In 1995, Laminar Research published the first version of X-Plane 11, which allowed players to fly in a realistic simulation. The simulator is available in consumer versions for macOS, Windows, and Linux, as well as versions for Android, iOS, and webOS.
The application of blade element theory, however, distinguishes this game from other flight simulators. Instead of simulating aircraft performance and response from a preset database, the program leverages processing power to represent its performance in real-time, providing a more realistic simulation than existing simulators.
As a result, Laminar also offers FAA-certified versions of X-Plane. You can register training time on this game and have it recognized by the FAA if you combine it with FAA-tested hardware and build up a flight simulator on your PC.
2. Driver Training: Euro Truck Simulator 2
While there is no confirmed occurrence of a trucking school using Euro Truck Simulator 2 (ETS2) to instruct its pupils, there are multiple Reddit threads where ETS2 gamers transfer from driving trucks on their PC to driving actual trucks.
Zdenko Martinovic is one such player. He was interviewed on AltChar when it was revealed that he had turned his enthusiasm for driving digital trucks into real-life driving trucks. Despite having no driving license when he began playing ETS2, he finally obtained a license for the largest truck imaginable, with a maximum carrying capacity of 44 tons.
When asked how tough it was for him to get a license and how ETS2 assisted him, he replied:
So, on my first day of driving, I struggled. I couldn’t picture riding in a truck and traveling down the highway with the other drivers. But, owing to my Logitech wheel, gearbox, and pads, I mastered the fundamentals. To be honest, it was very simple in the end.
3. Race Training: Gran Turismo
Gran Turismo is a prominent racing game simulator created specifically for the PlayStation by Polyphony Digital. It has eight main releases as of 2022, with Gran Turismo 7 being the most recent.
Gran Turismo’s realism is one of its distinguishing features. In fact, Motor1.com said that Polyphony Digital laser-scanned the Nürburgring to provide its gamers with the most realistic circuit possible. You’ll feel like you’re driving the genuine thing if you put up a sim racing equipment at home.
As a result, Nissan decided to leverage the game to identify future racing drivers by establishing the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy. This is a virtual-to-real tournament that challenges the finest Gran Turismo players against each other, with the top international drivers receiving an invitation to Nissan’s extensive Driver Development Program.
4. Self-Driving AI Programming: Grand Theft Auto V
The actual world is chaotic and unpredictable, making it impossible to predict the activities of other road users. This is a dilemma for self-driving AI systems, which must navigate their way through chaos while attempting to foresee the unexpected. Doing this kind of experiment and AI programming is risky, particularly when it concerns people’s lives and the general public.
Where else can you discover a chaotic environment where you may run wild with no actual consequences? One such planet may be found in Grand Theft Auto V.
The Deepdrive Project, a research team focusing on merging vision and vehicles to produce self-driving automobiles, trained self-driving AI using Grand Theft Auto V. Although Forbes stated that the organization got a letter from TakeTwo, GTA V’s publishers, instructing them to cease sharing the game’s code with others.
While TakeTwo has a point, particularly given that the researchers are working with copyrighted game code, it has helped to expand the usage of games to securely build self-driving AI technology at the hobbyist level.
Deepdrive 2.0, as of this writing, allows anybody to use a driving simulator to assist evaluate AI technology.
5. Military Training: Virtual Battlespace 4 (VBS4)
Bohemia Interactive published Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis in 2001. This tactical shooter game was so realistic, according to GameSpot, that the US Marine Corps employed a modified version of it dubbed VBS1 (Virtual Battlefield Systems 1) for training.
The original game creator eventually founded Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim) to specialize on generating simulations for military training. Currently, the 2022 version of the original military simulator, Virtual Battlespace 4 (VBS4), enables military professionals from the airforce, army, navy, and marines to train and develop strategies digitally before utilizing them in real-world circumstances.
For example, according to a statement on the BISim website, the Netherlands just bought VBS4 licenses. Bohemia Interactive Simulations also offered the VBS4 and VBS Blue IG for the United Kingdom’s Defense Virtual Simulation system.
6. Business Education: Capitalism 2
Business topics may be difficult to grasp, particularly when presented in abstract form. However, one method for pupils to learn is to put their studies into practice. This is when Capitalism 2 enters the picture. This business simulation game helps students to apply ideas and better comprehend the consequences of their actions without putting actual money at risk.
Furthermore, Capitalism 2 allows students to compete against one another, requiring them to think imaginatively in order to outperform the other teams.
7. Oil Refinery Management: SimRefinery
When Maxis released the original SimCity game, it was an instant success. Its game let players become mayors of cities, governing tiny villages and expanding them into megacities.
Many businesses viewed this as an opportunity to commission Maxis to construct simulators of their specific industries. This allowed these organizations to test strategies and procedures to understand what their approximate impact would be before implementing them.
Chevron, for example, sought to educate its employees how the refinery functions as a whole. Though Chevron recognizes that the simulation game is not a replacement for real-world training, it does assist its employees in understanding the larger picture.
The Obscuritory reported on Maxis Business Simulations and SimRefinery:
The refinery’s operators had difficulty gaining a comprehensive picture of what was going on at the facility outside their own area of expertise. “The whole purpose of this was to educate operators that they are part of a larger system,” Skidmore said. “Their issue at the time was that operators tended to be extremely focused on their one facility and the one thing they do, and so [they] weren’t considering how their actions influenced other portions of the plant. As a result, they desired a training tool that enabled operators to modify the inputs and outputs of the different components of the refinery process to observe how they affected the process.”
Games Go Beyond Entertainment
These are just a few instances of how games are employed in real life. Simulation games, in fact, might be used for almost everything, from teaching pilots and troops to testing new processes and procedures. High-quality historical games, such as the Age of Empires series, may also be used to educate global history.
So, if you take gaming seriously enough, you’ll discover that certain games go beyond just entertaining you.
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