Andersen, David F. Andersen with IK Jae Chung, George P. Richardson, and Thomas R. Stewart, "Issues in Designing Interactive Game Based on System Dynamics Model", 1990

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:The advent of the micro-computer revolution brings about the potential for people to increase their understanding of our environment. Technologies are becoming available that enable people to become more active learners about their environment. Along with technological advance, system dynamics modelers are paying more attention to gaming environments as a means to increase the interactions that a wide variety of game-players or audiences have with system dynamics models. That is, by creating easy to use and graphical gaming interfaces, users are able to interact directly with a model with little or no prior training. Throughout the iterative gaming processes, they can learn not only the system under investigation, but also the relations that give rise to the phenomenon of interest: “Learning by playing around.”However, it is difficult to find general guidelines on how to create computer-based games, or, how to design gaming screens. Many researchers wishing to move into the area of gaming can look at existing gaming situations and attempt to emulate the best features of existing games. Although the “How to” depends upon the research purpose, the researchers and the game-player’s interests, the time frame of game, etc., general principles for designing games would reduce the ambiguity and the uncertainty in designing games in new areas, and heighten the utility and the applicability of the state of the art. This research proposes to advance our understanding of how to create gaming screens to support simulation-based games such as one linked to the STELLA software package. The research will document the experience of two teams of experts – one system dynamics modeling team and the other team of psychologists expert in human judgment and decision making – as they interact to create an interactive gaming simulation. In other words, the main purpose of the research is to examine issues that will be of use to modelers who are beginning the process of building system dynamics-based games. These issues will both reflect on “best practice” and attempt to articulate unresolved issues based upon interactions with the two expert teams.The case chosen for study will be the financing of solid waste disposal in New York State, focusing on the mutual responses of the state and local governments in the presence of a waste crisis. The research proceeds by documenting the various versions of the gaming screens that have been developed during several iteration of the development process. After this history of the project is given, reactions and suggestions from both system dynamics and judgment experts are summarized into a series of issues. These reflections are based upon a research journal that documents how and why various versions of the gaming interfaces were developed.

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  • 1990
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