First Person Cultural Trainer Wins Serious Games Showcase Award

The First Person Cultural Trainer (FPCT) has been awarded the Best Game award in the Government Category of the 2011 Serious Games Showcase and Challenge. FPCT is sponsored by U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command G-2 Intelligence Support (TRADOC). The Serious Games Showcase was part of the Interservice/Interindustry Training and Simulation Education Conference (I/ITSEC), and was held in Orlando, Fla., from November 28 through December 1.

FPCT is a research project from the University of Texas Dallas Arts and Technology (ATEC) program, has won a national award for serious gaming. FPCT is a four-level simulation game that allows Army leaders and other personnel to practice interacting with civilians in "culturally correct" ways. The game features a branching conversation system, methods for displaying non-verbal communication, and environmental perception. Its creators also claim that it can be ported to different game engines with "minimal redevelopment."

"This honor and the overall visibility that FPCT, UT Dallas and ATEC received at I/ITSEC this year is a real tribute to our sponsors at TRADOC, students, faculty, project staff and administrators who have nurtured this project for going on four years," said Dr. Marjorie Zielke, ATEC assistant professor.

As part of the award, the development team received a floor space at the conference where live gameplay was demonstrated. Developers from other ATEC serious games projects gave demonstrations throughout the entire conference.

In addition to winning the award, Zielke, Dufour and ATEC Research Manager Gary Hardee presented a paper titled "Creating Micro-expressions and Nuanced Nonverbal Communication in Synthetic Cultural Characters and Environments," which highlighted some of the new FPCT development recently completed in October.

Earlier in 2011, FPCT earned first place in the Innovations in DoD Gaming Competition at the GameTech Users’ Conference in Orlando. In 2010, FPCT won the cross-function award from the National Training and Simulation Association (NTSA).

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