Friday, July 18, 2014

Game-Based-Learning for a smarter transfer of enterprise practices

In today’s highly competitive market, companies are required to adapt and respond nimbly to change in order to survive and grow. Constant introduction of new technologies, international competition, new and emerging markets, changing customer behaviour and a highly fluid workforce mean that successful companies are constantly learning and transferring this learning to leverage them across diverse geographies and businesses.

The two essential classes of ‘learning’ that enterprises need to transfer are ‘knowledge’ and ‘practice’. While existing platforms can be equipped to transfer enterprise knowledge they are not equipped to handle the transfer of practice.

Common criticisms of standard e-learning as a platform for acquisition of skills and practice are the abstraction of content and concepts, lack of contextual and applied understanding, limitations of choice and dryness of material. These create conditions of inefficient and insufficient practice transfer which in turn lead to accidents, mistakes and loss of profitability.

Familiar tools such as Instructor-led-training, or On-the-job-training, often, either don’t fully support transfer of Practice of skills (soft and/or hard skills) or are too cumbersome, expensive and may even carry elements of risk.

A well deployed practices transfer program can help a company accomplish strategic objectives such as drive step-change improvements in performance and also accelerate its development into a learning organization. It helps in identifying superior capabilities; transferring them across business units and then provides tools for the systematic monitoring and realizing of results.

By focusing on not only sharing knowledge but also applying it, practice transfer allows enterprises to tap the power locked in by its current structures, process and systems. Opportunities to leverage the transfer of good practices span the value chain and exist in all organizations across every industry.
At the heart of an effective transfer of practice program are the following methodologies:

Guided experience
Guided experimentation
Narrative transfer
Scenario Based Practice

Game-Based-learning is an effective vehicle for all these methodologies and more (such as teamwork, problem based learning). Through extensive research, led by early adoption and experimentation in Military and Healthcare sectors (symbolizing both ready-for-anything and life-long learning), Game Based Learning is fast gaining adherents in mainstream education and corporate learning.

Game-Based-learning supports desirable practice by translating an idea or concept into an action or choice; "a hard theory to put into practice". By a process of repeated performance and systematic exercise it helps its user in acquiring proficiency. From navigating complex decision processes to internalizing established best practices and procedures it motivates its users to think and reflect on their actions and understanding.

Today companies are successfully using Game-Based-learning for transfer of practice in the following ways:

To help staff apply their learning more effectively
To provide staff with rich feedback in the learning experience and create a more authentic context
To reduce the time to competency
To reduce risk in the workplace
To encourage team work and competitiveness

Built on top of the cutting edge technology, 3DHive is a cloud based, social, m-learning platform that allows enterprises to embrace ‘Smarter-Transfer-of-Enterprise-Practices’ on-the-go through the use of Games-Based Learning.
Developed by Playware Studios Asia Pte Ltd in a four-year collaboration with the Infocomm Development Authority and National Research Foundation of Singapore, it has everything an enterprise needs to create and manage training and up skilling of its workforce. It even has in-built tools for assessment of the users’ performance and progress over time. It is cloud-hosted which means “anytime” availability without any setup or overhead costs. It has built-in tools for collaboration, management and assessment.
Some of the distinctive advantages offered to enterprises on 3DHive include:

Mobile Learning
Better Transfer of skills and practices
Content Management by enterprise
Consolidated Assessments
Self-Directed Learning
Natural Language Interface
Camera Based Interaction

The platform has been utilized by several organizations such as Jurong Health Services, Health Promotion Board and Civil Service college, Ministry of Education etc. and the results are compelling.

To find out more about 3DHive and try it click here!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

RTS Game Design Issues

I am a huge fan of RTS games and have been disappointed to watch the diminishing reach of this once popular genre. 

A few of my colleagues at PWS share my enthusiasm for the genre and we conducted an informal yet extensive survey of people, who match the profile of probable Strategy Game players, but were not playing contemporary real time PC strategy games. (We also collected feedback from disgruntled real time PC Strategy players).

We found a lot of consistency in terms of why a large number of players found the contemporary real time PC strategy game experience dissatisfactory.

Two of the Key Issues are elaborated here:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Writing a Mystery Game

A New Knowledge base article series titled 'Writing a Mystery Game' has just been published by me on the 4Di Blog.

This article is meant for Teachers and other designers who wish to design an engaging learning game. One of the ways to generate audience interest in any narrative is to add intrigue and mystery into it.  

Click here to read the article

Friday, September 16, 2011


A few days ago I was invited to speak at the inaugural South Asian Diaspora Convention held at Singapore. I got to hear many distinguished academia and prominent business leaders.

Honored to be amongst such august company I observed at the start of my own talk; “I feel a bit like that pinch of salt in really great chocolate; I’m afraid no one will notice I was here!” Eventually though the domain of my subject connected with and interested most of the people in the audience and my session was well received with a lively debate in the question and answer session.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Three simple Steps to your first 3D Game

The first in the series of Knowledge base articles introducing the process of multiplayer interactive serious game design. The articles are available for review and discussion on the Playware blog at the web address

This first article deals with the conceptualization and design planning stage and helps you get started with the initial documentation you need to flesh out your idea. 

Click here:

Or paste this URL into your browser address bar:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A new emerging technology and interaction design blog

Is a blog covering a new immersion social learning game technology developed by my company  Playware Studios.

Monday, June 8, 2009

4Di makes it debut on Youtube. We have plans to keep everyone updated on its progress with similar short clips. Thanks to the great folks at IDA for their support and input.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

How I started my game studio (the first one)

As long time computer enthusiast and an avid Gamer I always hoped to work in the Computer Gaming Industry.

With my background being mostly of Advertising and Television; my mother ran an Ad Agency and my father though a finance man established a TV Studio and Channel, I was one of the fortunate few who got an exposure to Computers very early on in life (At the time it was quite a unique position. Nowadays kids learn computers as soon as they leave the cradle).

I got my First 286 back in 1987 and have always had PCs at home since, which I have been upgrading and maintaining myself. Even though initially most of the time on them was spent in either playing games or making documents for my mom or dad I did get to experiment a lot with all kinds of graphics and multimedia software, programming languages and various system utilities.

Getting into Mobile games (outsiders view)

Mobile Gaming is one of the most fast changing, lucrative and exciting space to be in today. The mobile gaming industry in Europe alone is worth about $ 7 Billion. China, Korea etc are also large Mobile gaming markets and even networks in India are pushing this industry offering thousands of games to their subscribers.

The Mobile gaming market is a very attractive market for most startup developers because of apparent simplicity of the content. New developers are often fooled by the fact that being simplistic platforms with major technology restrictions themselves, mobiles are thought to be a medium where simple games developed with small budgets do well. The truth however is that the industry itself is very resource intensive and not as easy to survive in.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

PC Gaming for Defense

Modern Defense Forces around the world today are rapidly adopting these systems to train their personnel. Defense Forces in USA, Erstwhile USSR, UK and India to name a few have been using specialized Computer based simulations to train their Commanders & Strategists. Simulators have been used for training in vehicle operations such as Aircrafts, Ships and Submarines etc. for more than a decade now.

Although PC games are traditionally deemed as entertainment tools, the Singapore Army and its key technology partner, the Defense Science & Technology Agency (DSTA), have recognized that they can effectively complement the conventional training methods such as field training. Soldiers here are the first outside the US Army to start training with PC strategy games.

Example of purposes for which PC Games can be used:


AdverGaming is advertising through the promotion of the brand and goods in video game content.

“People are starting to realize it's a much more effective way to advertise by embedding the brand in the gaming experience because that's what the users pays attention to," says Bill Pidgeon, an analyst with research firm Jupiter Media Metrix.

"It's not unusual for some games to produce a viral compounding rating of 400 percent," reports Jane Chen, a strategy manager at KPE Interactive, which claims to have coined the term "advergames."

There is little data so far on the branding power of gaming, but most experts point to stickiness rates far higher than for other forms of advertising.

"It's very difficult to imagine anyone staring at a magazine ad or banner for three to eight minutes," observes Chen.

Adds Pidgeon of Jupiter Media Matrix: "People just play those games for a long period of time, so if you embed the exposure within the brand you're getting mindshare."

That kind of attention is responsible for the rapid deployment of brand-focused games. And it's not only kids they're after. From beer to basketball shoes, product marketers are latching on to games as the Next Big Thing.

Connected Games Today

In today’s online world connected games are not simply games as products but rather games as a service.

Connected Games offer developers a way of bypassing several layers of content aggregators and distributors and come closer to their target audience and hence are an attractive proposition for most development studios.

With the massive success of online games, ranging from games such as EverQuest to Bejeweled to Pogo and Shockwave, it's pretty clear that this opportunity is real and here to stay. Online features are now starting to take hold in the console wars. It's no longer a question of whether the console world will embrace online, but how much. For the independent developer, the online world offers opportunities ranging from contrarian business models, to a less risky way to try out new ideas, to simply a way to work on different and cool projects.

ARG (Alternate Reality Games)

Many ARGs in recent times begin as an innocuous, seemingly misplaced item that piques the interest of several individuals out of thousands. It only takes one curious person to explore the unusual link, advertisement or other medium to discover something that they then share on the web, where it proliferates wildly, pulling in an entire devoted community dedicated to breaking the code. ARGs use various forms of media to communicate with the player, including printed media, telecommunication devices such as the Fax or Telephone, websites, etc.

As one of the core rules, all ARGs do not classify themselves as a game. Although distinctions are made between reality and fictional content, most of these rely on a player’s common sense to distinguish and even then many players often lose their way, although a good ARG will constantly nudge them along the right path. In many cases, a PuppetMaster (PM) similar in role to a GameMaster of a typical classic RPG controls the actions within the game, the characters, and plot development.

A strong narrative is required for a successful ARG, together with the PM’s ability to innovate and adapt according to the arbitrary nature of the game’s players, as a too-rigid storyline would break immersion, while a too-loose storyline would be unsatisfying, confusing, or worse, create backlash for the product meant to be promoted.

A lot of the players are often required to partake actively in various ‘tasks’ assigned to them, or are self-assigned tasks, that help move the story forwards, often adding unexpected twists to the plot. This organic growth of the story is what keeps players interested as it involves a ‘real’ human element that prevents stagnation and is often an indicator of current real-world trends, which means it is relevant and interesting.

Similar to viral marketing, awareness for an ARG relies on a people-to-people network to spread and therefore must have a clearly defined audience to begin with in order to achieve maximum initial market penetration. In fact, many of these games are created as partial Viral Marketing campaigns. In a world connected via the World Wide Web, almost any given phenomenon will find an audience within minutes, making it a perfect place for such marketing efforts.

Courage Vs Power (Game design Blurb)

Powerful is easy, to make a Player feel powerful in a game is easy. Give him enough extra Hit points or Armour or Attack or strategic bonuses and you have him taking down enemies five times his size. Agreed balancing the whole environment to make it just challenging, enough to be exiting, requires skill. Yet on the whole, making a player feel powerful is, by far, easier than making him feel courageous.

Sniping rules, in almost all games sniping / guerrilla warfare will win you the day. This is because you are able to take away a percentage of the enemies with little risk to your own self. Therefore telescopic rifles, silenced guns and other long ranged or stealth weapons are popular. Even in RTS games the race is to get your enemy at a disadvantage like getting at him early before he has resources, technologies and troops often is enough to win you the match.

We (Game Designers) tend to overlook the moral aspect of what we are doing. It is complicated to incorporate things like honor and courage into a game and therefore we simply set them aside with the explanation: who wants to be educated while playing games.

Courage and honor, Stuff that heroes are made of, are mostly ignored in the video game world for a quick design fix. Players like to win and to make them win we make them strong and make them act ruthlessly.

Few games like Sega’s Virtua Cop actually incorporate the justice shot (shooting in the wrist or knee to disable rather than kill) that police forces around the world use in real life. In war games we have to utterly destroy our opponent and that means wiping out entire towns and killing off all his villagers, a far cry from reality we are striving towards where despite Fidayeen attacks American soldiers maintaining peace in Iraq do not open fire on civilians.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Computer Games Industry

In the modern world the most popular, economical and easily accessible mode of entertainment and recreation is the electronic games medium. The concept of electronic games started with the porting of all time favorite board games into the software medium with the advent and proliferation of the home PC. This was recognized as a major industry after the successes of ‘Atari’, ‘Nintendo’, ‘Sega’ etc. who were manufacturing and selling consoles dedicated solely for the purpose of electronic gaming.

Today the games have matured from humble 4-bit mono color simple arcade games to full fledged 128-bit Multimedia experiences boasting of Dolby sound and high-resolution graphics. From simple reflex action games to a full-fledged continuous interaction that immerses the player into a virtual world with complex plots, storylines and realistic scenarios that require 100% involvement to overcome. In fact the situation has changed so much that the PC manufacturing industry is being pushed to come out with newer and faster technologies to keep up with the growing demands for increased processing power of the computer gaming industry.

With the growth of LAN and the Internet, the computer gaming has discovered an entire new aspect of its interactivity. From being a person playing against the computer, it has grown to be a major social activity with large numbers of people interacting with each other in multiplayer competitions. Computer gaming is now being considered for a recognized form of sport. Internationally many events are hosted where people from all over the world participate in electronic contests of dexterity and strategy with major prize money at stake.

Computer gaming has also been recognized by other entertainment medias. We already have movies being made on the themes of popular games (e.g. Tomb Raider, Super Mario Brothers, Mortal Combat etc.) and massive growth in the publication and subscription of dedicated computer gaming magazines and journals (e.g. Computer Gaming World, PC Gamer, Strategy Gamer etc.)

Computer gaming is also being recognized as an effective medium for increasing awareness about computers and their usage amongst children and even adults new to computers. It is an established fact that playing games on computers improves not only the concentration and quick response but also hand-eye coordination and general knowledge.