Games have been capable of doing all manner of good things in recent years, from helping with physical rehabilitation to tackling PTSD. A new project from a team at Trinity College Dublin is being used to train personnel in peacekeeping tasks such as communication and gender awareness.
The game, called Gaming for Peace, will help to train personnel that are deployed in a range of conflict prevention and peacebuilding missions around the world.
Gaming for Peace
Users will be placed into a range of simulated scenarios to replicate the kind of situations they might face on the ground. The users will enter the game as avatars and will role-play as members of other organizations, people with different genders or nationalities in a bid to provide a variety of different contextual experiences.
The project, led by Trinity, features participants from academia, the military and the video game industry, with support also given by the European Security and Defence College, who oversea the training of all EU personnel on peacekeeping missions.
“Current training for personnel involved in conflict prevention and peacebuilding missions does not prioritise the critical softer skills of communication and gender and cultural awareness. Most missions require a variety of organisations to coordinate and cooperate together – militaries from different nations in Europe, police from all over Europe, civilian actors from different countries. Success in preventing conflict is to a considerable extent dependent on their ability to work together well in the mission,” the team say.
The game will allow players to test out their communication strategies in a safe environment before putting their skills to use in more challenging fields. The virtual nature of the tool will allow players to walk in a range of shoes and thus gain a number of different perspectives.
For instance, a male police officer could play the role of a female police officer, and thus hopefully afford fresh insight into effective communication.
“Training a large number of personnel before deployment on a mission is expensive and logistically difficult, with most training involving travel and fixed times, and consequently, many personnel get little or sporadic training, particularly in the area of soft skills such as communication and gender and cultural awareness. ‘Gaming for Peace’ will produce a game that is accessible to all personnel before deployment at minimal cost. The only thing that is required is an internet connection,” the team say.
The game also offers players the opportunity to add to the ‘curriculum’ with their own experiences from the field. It can be accessed from anywhere with a web conection, and is due to be finished by 2018.