Simulated and Immersive Environments 2/4 (2012): Simulation and Play

This paper explores the idea of computer simulation. We attempt to uncover the relationships between simulation and play, art and the digital medium, and discuss different approaches, applications and contexts, e.g. scientific simulations, artworks, interactive installations and games.
There is an abundance of examples how the computer is used naturally for simulations. It made an immediate transition from initially pre-calculating tables of trajectories of ballistic projectiles to real-time and later to interactive simulations. We look at the history of (computer) simulation, the entertainment-war connection, experimenting in art and the simulation of chaotic/dynamical systems.
Participants are asked to research theoretical and technical aspects of simulation, create designs for a simulation game and realize it collaboratively. The game invites playful experimentation with a physical simulation system in real time. It uses 2D rigid body physics and/or particle systems. Processing or C++ with the SDL library is used for the implementation. The game focusses on interaction between people, in a collaborative setting (e.g. team multiplayer), with competitive aspects (e.g. time limit, score, levels). Every participant is expected to be involved in all aspects of the paper, i.e. the theoretical exploration, discussions, playing games, coding, testing and crit sessions.
For year 2 students the learning outcomes center on the development of a game concept and a game design, the discovery how to implement a simple physics engine using rigid body physics and/or particle systems, and the actual collaborative making of the game. In addition to that, year 3 students will be able to identify relevant conceptual questions in the area of digital simulation and to relate their own work to them; year 3 students have one extra summative exercise to initiate this.

Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath. Simulated and Immersive Environments 2/4: Simulation and Play, Course, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, 2012, Semester 2.