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Ford using game designers in Smart Mobility Game Challenge

Ford using game designers in Smart Mobility Game Challenge

 

The annual Gamescon conference is usually all about the
latest developments in the computer games industry and more concerned with what
makes gamers better, faster, more competitive and delivering new gaqme-related
products to market. So it isn't the kind of place you would expect to see Ford.

But this year, Ford had a presence at Gamescon in Cologne,
Germany. They, along with games designers Cologne Game Lab have come up with a gamification
challenge that encourages games developers to put their skills towards helping
urban transportation.

Called the Smart Mobility Game Challenge, the idea is to use
some external creative thinking to help solve some of mankind's more pressing
problems such as traffic and the urban commute. As an incentive, Ford are
offering €10,000 and the chance to present the winning solution at the 2016
Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Gamification of transport

Gamification is where a game-like principles are built into
something other than a game to help engagement or solve problems. Principles
such as game lives, levels, character or item advancement, rewards and many
other elements are used. These elements are known to have powerful
psychological effects and are used widely in education and learning, product
testing and development and many other sectors.

 “The Smart Mobility
Game Challenge is designed to harness the creativity of the gaming community
and empower gamers to take a fresh approach to tackling today’s global mobility
issues” said Vice president of Ford Research and Advanced Engineering Ken
Washington.

“Applying the fun, engaging and rewarding aspects of games
to journey planning can allow people to improve their commutes, track their
success and become aware of how their behaviour impacts the transport
infrastructure as a whole."

"The Smart Mobility Game Challenge is designed to
harness the creativity of the gaming community and empower gamers to take a
fresh approach to tackling today's global mobility issues," said Ken
Washington, vice president, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering.
"Applying the fun, engaging and rewarding aspects of games to journey
planning can allow people to improve their commutes, track their success and
become aware of how their behaviour impacts the transport infrastructure as a
whole."

While this approach may seem like a PR stunt or a bit of
fun by Ford, there is a serious side to this approach.

“Games are designed to entertain”, Bjoern Bartholdy,
professor for media design and co-director for Cologne Game Lab said, “but for
the developers it’s a serious business that requires astute problem-solving
abilities as well as creativity – exactly the qualities needed to tackle the
challenge of integrating existing transport systems.”

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