Dubai University to Use Crytek Tech

Educators in the United Arab Emirates are attempting to push fledgling game developers towards making more socially conscious games and now one school will be able to create such applications using one of the most powerful game engines available.

The Khaleej Times reports that American University in Dubai has inked a deal with Crytek in order to use the developer’s CryEnginge as a basis for developing Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC “edutainment” titles. UAE teachers are trying to get students away from creating violent action games in order to “create content that imparts values, culture and critical thinking skills to digital natives.”

Dr  Basel Dayyani, Associate Professor of IT at the American University in Dubai on the movement:

We are currently working on creating multiplayer games where people learn values like honesty, loyalty and helping others. Within two years we will also have developed games that will allow children to experience history, providing lessons in the Arab and Muslim culture.

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  1. 0
    Magic says:

    Seriously, I’m wondering why they seem so concerned about violent games, as if they … just don’t understand them, or see them as some sort of immoral vice. Is it really as simple as (in relative terms of the Middle East) conservative thinking, of resisting change and something new? Or disdain for all questionable ‘Western’ culture? Or honest, wishful thinking for there to be non-violent games like many parents do?

    "Academics in the UAE are now honing a breed of socially responsible virtual application developers, who are moving away from traditional content of action and violence, to create content that imparts values, culture and critical thinking skills to digital natives."

    For some reason I’m reminded of Mass Effect. You mix with different alien cultures who have different values and cultures, encounter the conflicts of them coming together, then get a chance to apply critical thinking in the games many moral conundrums*.

    *Here’s one that caused my to stop and think for literally one minute (Minor spoilers): terrorists have launched two huge missiles on a human world. You get to one of the control bays but only have the ability to stop one of the two missiles. One target is the space port (with lots of Alliance workers), where all of the infrastructure is based, while the other is a residential hub (full of civilians). If the world loses the space port, development will be enormously slowed for years. If they lose the residential area, colonisation can resume but obviously thousands of people will die. Which do you save?! (I went with the spaceport, believing that those military workers knew what they were getting into while the civilians are truly innocent)

    Meanwhile, it would probably result in disdain from the Dubai professors to find that the game has a lot of shooting and killing. However, that doesn’t stop my Cmdr Shepherd justifying himself, my paragon (Good) version usually remarks that he only kills when he has to and he usually doesn’t shoot first.

    I’m happy for them to try. There are plenty of great non-violent games, but I disagree that this means discouraging people from making or playing violent ones. I think they under-estimate the appeal of those relatively violent games – people just aren’t interested in them as much (based on sales figures). And that’s why all good, entertaining drama is based on conflict.

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