What is their role and how can they affect our lives for the better?
A word of advice: while talking about simulations in this article, the focus is given on professional and realistic simulators only. Those that are made simply for entertainment purposes (Bread Simulator, Goat Simulator, etc.) are not subjected to the discussion, and should absolutely not be considered as such!
When entering the topic of “Simulations”, things really start to get hairy. That is because there are two possible outcomes: if you are talking with someone who has never been into sims or just barely knows the argument, you might be discredited as a lunatic spending a fortune and much of his free time pretending to be replicating the reality, but in truth just playing a game. If, instead, you are talking with someone who actually knows simulations, who shares your same interest, you might get then into the argument of which sim is better replicating the real thing and which does not. The latter being already discussed extensively, I would like now to focus on the former chance.
While simulations are becoming more and more popular today, there is still a lot of misconception around them. That is coming from people who never actually tried them or just question their usefulness. Their perspective is based on the idea that “you are just playing a game”, so “how can you possibly pretend to be taken seriously?” This kind of statements may come from our friends, our parents, our partners or even our families. Caught in the rage of hatred or despair that such accusations might provoke, we rarely question the issue thinking of a reasonable answer, or maybe looking back at our very own experience.
There have been articles covering this issue already, some stating that in the end our time and money is just spent on well-designed games. I believe things to be different. A discussion between friends reminded me of how deep sim titles go into my past. My first sim experience was when I was, in fact, just three years old, thanks to my father. He made me play Falcon III. From there, I played a plethora of sims, mostly military flight sims but also a couple of racing sims, until I was old enough to have a PC of my own and buy my own games, dedicating myself mostly to driving titles. My whole life has been shaped, if we might say so, by this particular game genre. What happened to me then? Well for starters, I learned to drive safely and efficiently much more rapidly than all my friends did. When I sat for the first time in a proper car, in the driving seat, while nervous, I knew the reactions it could have based on my inputs. I was ready going into traffic practice after a short while. Given also my acquantaince with AI, I was somewhat prepared to the erratic behaviour of traffic drivers too, managing just fine! Jokes aside, people talented in driving managed in their youth to get the same result I had, much before me. However, the point here is that I am not a talented driver. It was not talent that allowed me getting comfortable in a car so fast. It was practice with sims that made me a better and safer driver. Imagine if all of those who are about to get a driving license could try and train extensively at home before actually hitting the road, just as much as they to have to study the necessary books to pass the test. It would surely help creating a better environment, traffic wise.
When I flew with my girlfriend on a commercial line for the first time, while scared to death (ironic given I have a father who, on the contrary, loves flying), I was relatively calm observing from my window what was the pilot doing with the aircraft. Since I extensively played flight sims too in the past, I knew exactly what was happening at every moment and that helped me alot easing off my stress. Much of our fears come from the unknown. Knowing what is going on kills or vastly reduces your panic.
Summing it up now, what can we learn from my own story? We can learn that every one of us can take advantage of sims and the knowledge they can provide. It can dramatically improve your life. How? By getting a much better understanding of how things work. Independently from which sims do you play, it will still affect your experience of the outside world. It will make you better aware of what is happening around you, conditioning your decisions and giving you a different approach to matters and problems. Beware though! When I say that you will get better, I do not mean compared to other people in general. You get better compared to not having dedicated to sims instead. It is always a matter of improving one-self, to “become a better version of yourself”, and not just getting into competition to prove you are actually better than the others are.
These are just the personal possible outcomes of dedicating to sims. However, there is more. Simulations can offer you the chance to have a try at something that instead would be virtually inaccessible and impossible for you to experience otherwise, because too young or not fit. There are many very young lads and lasses, which train hard on home sims to become pilots or drivers. They do it for years. They get such an experience and preparation that when they finally are of age to take that road as their career, it all becomes a trivial matter. Once they are out there, they are fantastic professionals at their job (which means, again, a safer environment too!). We can also see more and more cases everyday of people with disabilities getting into simulators, which is fantastic.
Some instead discover their true passion through sims (I lost count of how many people became truckers thanks to SCS Software titles), and get the chance of changing their life dramatically. To those who already have a job and set their life happily, simulations mean the possibility instead of getting as close as they can get to experience daily something they love, but would not take as their career work or be dedicated as a sport. In both cases, it is an effective way to relieve stress, be better performing, both at home, and work. It gives you something to look for when you are in the middle of a nerve-racking week, helping you relax.
All of this without taking in consideration those that even make a living out of sims, like content creators on all media platforms, doing what they love and at the same time providing entertainment for people to look for!
Oil and Gas Simulation Facility
Let us not forget then the vital importance of professional grade simulators too, which allow manufacturers and companies to test their solutions, coming up with a working final product, without polluting or wasting resources as much as they should otherwise. On the other hand, maybe even giving them a chance at a business they would not be able to sustain financially if they were not to resolve to simulators to extensively test their projects. It allows nailing every detail, proving every possible combination or idea. Alternatively, professional simulators can be used for educational purposes, training employees to be always up-to-date, efficient and prepared at their job. These are more general, but substantial and valid all the same, outcomes for simulations shaping a better humanity.
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