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Learning Small Talk in a Virtual Afghan Village

Learning Small Talk in a Virtual Afghan Village

PhD candidate Mikhail Fominykh and Associate Professor Ekaterina Prasolova-Førland have just finished a project where they developed a virtual Afghan village in Second Life for the Norwegian Armed Forces.

The virtual environment was created for the Cultural Awareness in Military Operations (CAMO) experiment at the Norwegian Military Academy (Krigsskolen). The CAMO project was a joint effort between the Norwegian Military Academy, the University of Oslo (UiO) and NTNU. The development of the village had to be completed at a low budged, but without compromising design details too much.

The game was recently tested by cadets from Krigsskolen. Their mission; to go to an Afghan village and talk to the village's elder. The test was run to find areas of the game to improve before using it in training.

The virtual village will be used to help cadets learn the small talk and appropriate interaction in a controlled environment, without putting people at risk. It will be a great supplement for learning cadets how to interact with people abroad, but it will not replace normal training.

Fominykh and Prasolova-Førland have been studying both images and video footage of Afghanistan to create a detailed virtual rural village. Fominykh's ongoing PhD work has been a great foundation for the two months work he spent, designing the virtual world. Prasolova-Førland role in the project has been experiment design and scenario development.

Illustrations: Screenshots from Second Life.

Relevant news:
Høgskulen inn i den virtuelle verda - CAMO (in Norwegian)

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By: Kai Torgeir Dragland     Published: 24.02.2012     
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