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Rapid prototyping a virtual fire drill environment using computer game technology.

By Shamus P. Smith and David Trenholme

Abstract

Conducting fire evacuation drills in modern buildings under realistic fire conditions can be difficult. Typical fire drills do not feature dynamic events such as smoke filled corridors, fires in unexpected places or blocked fire exits that require on the spot decisions from evacuees. One alternative is the use of virtual environments. Virtual environments can support the training and observation of fire evacuee behaviours in 3D virtual buildings. However complex virtual environments can be difficult to build. This paper explores how the reuse of computer game technology can aid in the rapid prototyping of virtual environments which can be populated with fire drill evacuation scenarios. Over a three week period, a single developer constructed a realistic model of a real world building to support virtual fire drill evaluations. While participants in a user study found the simulated environment realistic, performance metrics indicated clustering in the results based on participants’ previous gaming experience

Topics: Virtual reality, Virtual fire drill, Fire evacuation, Game engines, Rapid prototyping, Evaluation.
Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.firesaf.2008.11.004
OAI identifier: oai:dro.dur.ac.uk.OAI2:5488
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