Serious Games Developement with CryENGINE and Feasibility Study

Masterarbeit von Felix Specht 

The posttraumatic stress disorder(PTSD) is a widely distributed mental disease which can affect children, teenager and adults likewise. It occurs as a consequence of a traumatic incident (e.g. War, crime, accident, ...) and expresses itself thorugh symptoms like sleep disorder or social isolation. Treatment of other mental disorders using computer games as a supporting tool is already approved and in academic examination.

This thesis presents an approach that attempts to combine the playful aspect of video games with therapeutic guidelines to develope a serious game prototype. The target group contains kids and teenagers who suffer PTSD resulting from traffic accidents and car crashes.

The game concept was evolved using various requirements from therapeutic and playful directives. In the result the player undertakes the role of a photographer. While accomplishing tasks for an artificial character he explores a large virtuel world rich in variety. During the game the player/patient is confronted with elements of exposure in a casually way. This exposure methods are partitioned in multiple levels with different intensities.

The implementation was done using the CryENGINE which belongs to the most famous game engines world wide and is used in many developments of video games and different graphical applications. During the deployment process new software components were developed for realising the game concept. The engine specific flowgraph scripting was used for game logic, while user interfaces were implemented with Flash and Actionscript 2.0. Using the provided Sandbox Editor a virtual world was created which contains three different types of areas: a forest region, a country region and a city. In these areas variations of exposure methods are provided which base on traumatic trigger stimuli.

The following feasibility study examines the implementation of a serious game prototype using the CryENGINE considering the experiences acquired during the developement period. Conclusively the options to customise game elements to requirements and trigger stimuli of a specific patient were inspected and solution approaches presented.