On the design and integration of education simulation games in engineering business management
Manufacturing has evolved from production-oriented to customer-oriented in the last century. The modern management approach is 'total integration' which is the integration of 'functional optimization', 'internal integration' and 'external integration'. Nowadays, Engineering and Business can no longer be viewed as two separate entities. Engineering Business Management (EBM) becomes the norm of modern manufacturing management. In universities, simulation games have been identified as one of the best teaching media in teaching EBM concept. Hundreds of good simulation games are thus required for different subject areas and education objectives. However, game design procedure is always a 'black box' and game design philosophy of EBM games is even a 'black box' within a 'black box'. This research attempts to develop a new generic approach in designing education simulation games in Engineering Business Management. The approach is broken into two phases: micro and macro level. In micro level, game design philosophy is studied. The appropriate levels of formats and features of EBM games are determined and the weaknesses commonly found in games are examined and rectified. The findings are confirmed and evaluated by conducting three surveys between 1992 to 1994. In macro level, a standard interface is established for all EBM games so that functional games which are built on this platform can be integrated together to form internal management games which can be further integrated into a supply chain network by hierarchical modular structure. The hierarchical structure allows the games to cover some EBM areas that have never been mentioned by any other games before. Two functional games, a production game and a marketing game have been built as prototypes to demonstrate the design approach. In micro level, the established design criteria minimize the chance of developing a 'bad' game. In macro level, the formation of internal management games and supply chain networks by hierarchical modular modeling opens a new platform for game design.