7 Simulation Games That Have Real-Life Applications

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When we talk about games, we usually think of entertainment – gamers spend all night in front of their PCs while drinking copious amounts of energy drinks.

However, many do not realize that games are also used for real applications. There have been cases where games have derived from training software and training software has been created from games.

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Here are seven simulation games that had an impact on real life.

1. Flight Training: X-Plane 11

Laminar Research released the first version of X-Plane 11 in 1995, allowing players to experience flight in a realistic simulation. The company sells consumer versions of the simulator for macOS, Windows, and Linux, and it has also created versions for Android, iOS, and webOS.

However, what sets this title apart from other flight simulators is its use of blade element theory. Instead of emulating the aircraft’s performance and reaction from a predetermined database, the software uses computing power to model its performance in real time, allowing the simulation to have a more realistic feel. than other simulators.


For this reason, Laminar also provides FAA certified versions of X-Plane. If you pair it with FAA tested hardware and set up a flight simulator on your PC, you can log training time on that game and the FAA will recognize it.

2. Driver training: Euro Truck Simulator 2

Although there have been no documented cases of a trucking school using Euro Truck Simulator 2 (ETS2) to train their students, there are several instances on Reddit where ETS2 players switch from driving trucks to their PCs. to actual driving.

One of these players is Zdenko Martinovic. It was interviewed on AltChar after discovering that he had converted his passion for driving digital trucks into driving trucks in real life. Although he didn’t have a driver’s license when he started playing ETS2, he eventually got the license for the biggest truck possible, with a maximum load capacity of 44 tons.

When asked how hard it was to get a license and how ETS2 helped him, he replied:

Well, I had a hard time on the first day of riding. I couldn’t even imagine myself sitting in a truck and driving down a highway with the other drivers around me. But thanks to my steering wheel, my gearbox and my Logitech pads, I understood the basics. So it was pretty easy in the end, to be honest.

3. Race Training: Gran Turismo

Gran Turismo is a popular racing game simulator developed by Polyphony Digital exclusively for the PlayStation. As of 2022, it has had eight major releases, with Gran Turismo 7 being the most recent.

One of the things Gran Turismo is known for is its realism. In reality, Motor1.com reported that Polyphony Digital laser-scanned the Nürburgring to offer its players the closest track to reality. And if you set up a racing rig sim at home, you’ll feel like you’re driving the real thing.

For this reason, Nissan has seen fit to use the game to find its future motorsport drivers by setting up the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy. It’s a virtual-to-real competition that pits the best Gran Turismo players against each other, with top international drivers being offered a place in Nissan’s comprehensive driver development program.

4. Autonomous AI Programming: Grand Theft Auto V

The real world is chaotic and random, so much so that it is difficult to anticipate the actions of another road user. This situation is a problem for autonomous AI systems, where they must navigate their way through the chaos, trying to predict the unpredictable. Doing this kind of AI experimentation and programming is dangerous, especially since it involves lives and the public.

However, where else can you find a chaotic world where you can run amok freely with no real consequences? Well, you can find such a world in Grand Theft Auto V.

The Deep Drive Project, a research team focused on integrating vision and vehicles to create self-driving cars, used Grand Theft Auto V to train AI to drive autonomously. And although Forbes reported that the group received a letter from TakeTwo, the publishers of GTA V, asking them to stop using the game’s code to share it with others.

And while TakeTwo is right, particularly because the researchers are working with copyrighted game code, it has helped push the use of games to safely develop autonomous artificial intelligence technology in the world. enthusiast level.

As of this writing, Deepdrive 2.0 is giving everyone access to a driving simulator to help test AI research.

5. Military training: ArmA 3

Bohemia Interactive created the ArmA military simulation franchise as a subsidiary of its core business, Bohemia Interaction Simulations (BISim) military simulation software for training. The company developed it so that military personnel – from the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marines – can practice and develop tactics digitally before employing them in real-world scenarios. .

By doing so, the organization can save on training costs, ensuring that they can first prove their plan digitally before investing in fuel, logistics and manpower.

6. Business Training: Capitalism 2

Business concepts can be quite difficult to learn, especially if taught in an abstract way. But one way students learn is to apply their lessons in a practical way. That’s where Capitalism 2 comes in. This business simulation game allows students to apply theories and better understand the effects of their decisions without risking large sums of real money.

Additionally, Capitalism 2 lets students play against each other, forcing them to think creatively and figure out how to beat other teams.

7. Oil Refinery Management: SimRefinery

When Maxis created the first SimCity game, it became an instant hit. His game allowed players to become mayors of cities, manage small towns and turn them into megacities.

Many companies saw potential here, where they could ask Maxis to create simulations of their respective industries. This way, these companies could experiment with plans and policies to see what their approximate effect would be before executing them.

One such company, Chevron, wanted to teach its employees how the refinery works as a whole. While Chevron knows that simulation play is no substitute for real training, it does at least help its staff understand the big picture.

According The darkThe history of Maxis Business Simulations and SimRefinery:

Refinery operators sometimes struggled to see the big picture of what was happening at the plant beyond their particular area of ​​interest. “The goal was to teach operators that they are part of a larger system,” Skidmore said. “Their concern at the time was that operators tended to be very focused on their one plant and the one thing they were doing, and so [they] did not keep in mind that what they were doing affected other parts of the plant. So they wanted a training tool that allowed operators to manipulate the inputs and outputs of different elements of the refinery process to see their impact.”

Games go beyond entertainment

These seven games are just a few examples of how the game is used in real life. In fact, simulation games could be used for just about anything, from training pilots and soldiers to testing new processes and procedures. Even high-quality historical games, like the Age of Empires series, can be used to teach world history.

So if you take gaming seriously enough, you’ll find that some titles go above and beyond to entertain you.

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