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Paper lc3-2017-058:
The Need for Enhancing Earthquake Evacuee Safety by Using Virtual Reality Serious Games

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Ruggiero Lovreglio, Vicente Gonzalez, Robert Amor, Michael Spearpoint, Jared Thomas, Margaret Trotter and Rafael Sacks

The Need for Enhancing Earthquake Evacuee Safety by Using Virtual Reality Serious Games

Abstract: Enhancing evacuee safety is a key factor in reducing the number of injuries and deaths that result from earthquakes. This can be achieved by designing safer buildings taking into account behavioral factors and by training occupants. However, traditional approaches such as evacuation drills cannot be used in buildings in which occupants cannot easily leave the building (e.g. hospitals). In addition, these traditional approaches may not provide the intended learning outcomes and do not allow for the investigation of the impact of multiple evacuation factors on behavior. Virtual Reality (VR) and Serious Games (SG), i.e. games having education (in its various forms) as the primary goal, represent novel and effective alternatives to overcome the limitations of traditional approaches.We discuss the advantages and limitations of using VR SGs to investigate how building occupants behave during earthquake evacuations and to train building occupants to cope with such emergencies. We explore the key design components to develop the VR SG framework namely (a) what features constitute an earthquake event; (b) which types of buildings can be selected and how they should be represented within the VR environment; (c) how damage to the building is to be determined and represented; (d) what factors need to be included for agent behavior in earthquakes; and (e) what level of interaction should there be between agents and the human players. We highlight the important aspects that need to be addressed in further research to effectively develop VR SG tools for earthquake evacuation training.

Keywords: Serious Game, Virtual Reality, Earthquake Evacuation, Human Behavior, Occupant Training

DOI: https://doi.org/10.24928/JC3-2017/0058

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