P. Edronkin

Comments on Simulation Systems (II).

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"Simulators as well as simulation processes are essentially simplifications of reality in order to provide a better classroom or test lab in which to work. Therefore, participants and instructors should bear in mind that some limitations exists and that they cannot expect absolute fidelity in the simulated scenarios.

In other words, while you can certainly expect to be better prepared to confront a real emergency or danger after you have simulated it and analysed your mistakes, you cannot take for granted that you will react in the same way during the real event, and the key to any effective simulation is to minimise those differences to a minimum.

Moreover, simulators have their own peculiarities as well, and these characteristics - with no real-life counterparts - could induce behavioural changes as well. Such - mostly - undesirably training treats are known as side-effects or vices.

Therefore simulation designers as well as instructors should keep a constant eye on the elements that could likely induce unrealistic behaviours in the participants of the different sessions run in their simulated environments.

There are basically two ways to minimise the impact of these undesirable traits acquired thorough the use of simulators and simulated environments:

1)-To change the design of the simulator: in a flight simulator, the design of simulated joysticks provide a good example. A joystick applied to simulation is only good if it reproduces not only the response of the aircraft to its movements, but its weight, hydraulic or mechanical resistance, and other aspects as well.

2)- To change some rules of the simulation process: the perfect example of this is provided by the adaptation of paintball games, rules and equipment for real combat training. As is, paintball equipment provides a fairly good simulation of a real firefight, however, some key aspects of such a situation cannot be reproduced unless certain aspects of paintball competition are modified."

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