Sunday, 20 March 2016

When is a sim not a sim?

This question comes up every now and then, whatever the title, and whatever the type of sim.

Now, clearly, some titles are more sim than others, regardless of what the developers might state. And in general the community can agree on that. But the really interesting debate centres around whether even a title that the community agrees is a simulator, is actually a simulator.

And that is clearly a pointless discussion. At the end of the day whether a simulation is a simulation is a personal definition.

But wht I find interesting, and I'm not at all sure why, is the group of people that define a simulation not by the design, or the implemenation, but by the context.

If the same software, couple with the same hardware, is used in a home environment, it's a game. But in another environment it then becomes a simulation.

Let's for a moment take the example of a racing simulator. Assume for a moment a professional racing driver has the same simulation software and hardware at home as he does in his working environment. Does the sim then become a game?

But then if the context isn't the location, it has to be a frame of mind.

However that raises the question, what if someone is using a simulation at home, as a learning experience, rather than as simple entertainment? They might not ever fly a fast jet, but they're interested in learning about the process. Would that not then qualify as a simulation?

I return to the original point. It's a personal definition. The only question worth asking is what is the user getting out of the experience? Pure entertainment, or an entertaining, challenging, learning experience?

And learning new things is always a good thing.

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