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Visual search patterns in digital games
The operation environment for the Swedish Armed Forces and its war fighters are today varied, complex and demanding. The operation environment of tomorrow will be even more so. In this environment Swedish Armed Forces are likely to conduct, not only war related operations, but also anti-terrorist operations, catastrophe aid, humanitarian operations and peacekeeping operations. Each one of these operations requires different configurations to achieve optimal war fighter performance; a configuration usually starting during mission training.
Mission training is designed to fulfil many purposes, including acquiring technical, leadership, interpersonal and conceptual skills; improving and maintaining proficiency from individual to unit levels; and inculcating values and beliefs.
In general, mission training time-demands exceed available time to train, so the Swedish Armed Forces set priorities for training time on the basis of their missions’ essential task list and assessments of training needs.
In these settings, the deployment and use of training tools have increased. These training tools cover a wide range of applications, from live simulations and advanced simulators to even include commercial and defence developed digital video games, making it a continuum of optional and available training tools. In this continuum do advanced simulators constitute one end of the continuum, and un-advanced simulators, such as digital video games, the other end.
Independent of how the training is performed or what the training aims to achieve, one overall concept guides all training, namely the development of war fighters’ situational awareness. Situational awareness is a critical element for successful performance in the operation environment. The operation environment poses a variety of challenges to situation awareness; information overload, non-integrated data, rapidly changing information and a high degree of uncertainty br §ought on by lack of information. An important objective with all training tools is therefore to support and develop individual and group situational awareness.
2. Problem area
To guarantee that a digital training tool support and develop individual and group situational awareness is not evident, especially if the digital training tool is in the low-tech end of the continuum. The increasing number or digital video games used, creates a number of issues needed to be furthered explored, such as;
• Does live training really correspond to similar training in a digital video game environment?
• Does the training experience really increase by using a digital video game i.e. do they use it?
• Do digital video games really increase training effectiveness or are they simply a funnier way to train?
• If digital video games do not increase training effectiveness, how does one guarantee that they not lead to a negative training experience?
These questions are only examples needed to be asked and considered when choosing a video game based training tool complementary to live training. Essential overall issues to consider during the work regards key words such as, validity of scenarios, training quality, negative training etc. these additional questions will be defined in cooperation with the Swedish Armed Forces during the start-up of the work.
3. Description of objectives
The purpose with this work is to initiate an exploration of some of these problems, in order to create a basis for further research in the area, by using eye-tracking technology to study how war fighters actually search for information in a digital game environment. More explicitly, the following topics should be regarded and tested in the proposed study.
• Perform a literature review regarding the problems to exercise shooting and navigating in a virtual environment
• Perform a study of how war fighters search for information in a digital video game with an eye-tracker
• Propose guidelines for ho
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