Serious Games – Skill Advancement Through Adaptive Systems

The advancement of skills is an important goal, which can affect all stages of life. Serious games trace back to Clark C. Abt in 1968, who began to connect games with the simulation of real situations to achieve skill acquisition. Today, serious games consist of computer-based games that offer game-like interaction with educational content. With today's computers' multimedia capabilities, the performance of smart phones, new peripheral devices such as the Wii or Kinect, and the pervasive availability of the internet, serious games research is undergoing a time of inflorescence. The areas of application are particularly diverse, and encompass all aspects of education in all stages of life, as well as the promotion of health, training of specific skills, and other assistive tasks.

Their practical application can also be found in the practise of action processes, wherever real-life situations pose risks, or rarely occur. For example, police or fire brigade operations, as well as dangerous laboratory work, require goal-oriented learning. Additionally, the elderly can benefit in many ways from playfully learning therapy-compliant behaviour.

The Carl Zeiss foundation has facilitated the structural development via an additional professorship, thus strengthening the empirical research of complex problem-solving, the decision-making of players, as well as the development of strategies and techniques. This leads to a focus on information processing and memory processes, as well as changes in user focus, in association with serious games that adapt to the user's current needs and skills. In the medium term, Ulm University intends to build a centrum with international visibility, capable of participating in and advancing the multidisciplinary fundamental research of serious games.