Friday, September 08, 2006

In Case Of Emergency, Play Serious Games - III

Serious Games challenging us to play a better future


The 3D game called Fireslayer Challenge: Thermal Response, requires players to react to instructions given by an incident commander. With the help of MSA's Evolution 5200 Thermal Imaging Camera (TIC), the player must navigate a smoke-filled environment in order to rescue several victims and find the seat of the fire.

Following my previous posts In Case Of Emergency, Play Serious Games - I, dedicated to "Hazmat: Hotzone Game", and In Case Of Emergency, Play Serious Games - II, dedicated to "Incident Commander Game", here is one more example of games either developed or further adapted to train emergency responders who are forced to make life-and-death decisions in the blink of an eye.

Global safety products manufacturer MSA and Carnegie Mellon University spin-off firm Sim Ops Studios announced a partnership to bring video game technology to be used within firefighter training. For the fire service industry, the partnership marks the first such effort involving a safety equipment manufacturer and a video gaming technology firm.

"While developing HazMat Hotzone at Carnegie Mellon University, which is currently being tested by members of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), we envisioned the value of using game-based training technologies to assist emergency responders in preparing for dangerous scenarios," said Shanna Tellerman, CEO and Executive Producer at Sim Ops Studios. "In a world of newly emerging threats combined with the challenging demands of a new generation of learners, this interactive method for training in the field of emergency response is in high demand."

The game, MSA's FireSlayer Challenge: Thermal Response which is now available online, was first introduced at the annual Fire Department Instructors Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, and since then has attracted interest from the fire service community. In addition, the game has seen increased interest from the gaming community as well, with companies recording more than 13,000 games having been played so far, and 87 percent of those players requesting new "levels" or additions to the game.