Participatory simulations and serious games


Simulations are not envisaged in this case as forecasting tools. The models simulated will be used as a shared learning/serious game support for groups of stakeholders to explore and compare the impact of management alternatives, under different socio-environmental scenarios, prior to their implementation. Studies conducted have shown the advantages of participatory simulations to facilitate dialogue and social acceptance. Recent advances in visualization, human-computer interface, virtual and augmented reality allow stakeholders to more easily interpret data and gain more immersive access to simulations through a variety of devices. An example is the HoanKiemAir project, which uses tangible devices to explore the impact of urban traffic on air pollution. In these simulations, a technical challenge is to secure at least real-time interactions with participants while preserving the complexity and richness produced by the simulation of the model.


The main goal is to investigate how advances in data visualization, human-computer interactions and AI can support participatory simulation approaches and facilitate the design of serious games with tangible supports (3D maps, interactive tables, virtual reality environments… ). In each case study, the objective will also be to produce physical platforms that can be reused for dissemination, training or further discussion.


This activity will mobilize methods from participatory approaches, serious game design, and human-computer interaction to enhance agent-based simulations and improve the way stakeholders visualize indicators and data, interact with simulations, and immerse in virtual environments. Of course, the main objective is to improve the interaction between participants, their learning and understanding of the system and mechanisms that govern it. In the case studies, a wide range of interaction (3D maps, tablets or devices), visualization (virtual, mixed, augmented reality), and gamification techniques (e.g. cooperative, collaborative…) will be implemented and evaluated with the participants. The methodology is incremental, starting with simple mechanisms and adding more sophisticated capabilities if the participants are unable to apprehend, for instance, the sustainability of a scenario or the dynamics at stake in another one. Developed for each case study, these techniques will be designed to be reusable in the other case studies.


➔ A complete participatory simulation/serious gaming environment for each case study (including the model, scenarios to be explored, hardware devices, if any, for interaction and visualization)

➔ Software and hardware extensions to the GAMA platform to support advanced interaction and visualization tools regarding models, indicators, and simulation results

➔ Methodological guidelines on the use of participatory simulations/serious gaming in a sustainable development / sustainability science perspective