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Beyond Simulation: Student Built Virtual Reality Games For Cellular Network Design

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Computer Gaming and Virtual Reality for Education

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.229.1 - 15.229.17



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Paper Authors

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James Jaurez National University

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Peilin Fu National University

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Ronald Uhlig National University, San Diego


Shekar Viswanathan Ph.D., M.B.A., P.E., received a Bachelor of Technology in chemical

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Shekar Viswanathan, Ph.D., M.B.A., P.E., received a Bachelor of Technology in chemical engineering from the University of Madras, India, and Master of Applied Science and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from University of Windsor, Canada. He is currently Professor and Chair of Applied Engineering in the School of Engineering and Technology, National University, San Diego, California, USA. He formerly served as Vice President and General Manager of Clayton Environmental services, ABB Environmental Systems and Wheelabrator Technology.
Dr. Viswanathan is well known for his technical contributions in the fields of sensor development and environmental control. He has over 60 peer reviewed journal publications and 100 conference presentations in the areas of environmental measurement and environmental control. He is on the editorial board of several journals.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Beyond Simulation: Student-Built Virtual Reality Games for Cellular Network Design Abstract

This paper reports on experience with modifications to National University’s “Wireless Engineering Software” and “Radio Systems Modeling” courses to enable students to gain experience in wireless communications engineering through designing, building and then using simulation games for network design and radio design. Game design has been incorporated as a primary learning tool into these courses in the Master of Science in Wireless Communications degree program.

Laboratory experiments and simulations are already used in some engineering curricula. The introduction of interactive simulation games in virtual environments goes a step further. The games simulate real world engineering dynamics and improve retention of complex concepts. Furthermore, the depth of learning increases as the students design and build the games, instead of just playing them.

The processes and principles of game design have been adapted from National University’s School of Media and Communications (SOMC). SOMC currently uses this approach to successfully teach game design in its digital entertainment and interactive arts program, with the core objective of creating “playcentric” video games.

To expand this process to engineering courses, faculty from SOMC and the School of Engineering and Technology (SOET), collaborated to combine engineering processes with game design techniques to teach interactive games for designing a cellular communications network and digital radio design to engineering students. Game rules, built by the students, must incorporate principles of mathematics, physics, and engineering, including the dynamics of wave propagation, binary logic, and the architecture of wireless systems. Students become game designers as they create original games including content from the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum. This process makes students more effective system designers by bridging experience to the real world.

Teams of students design and build the games on HP Tablet computers. They then “play” the games in teams, as they compete to design the “best” network and radio receiver for a particular set of conditions. This approach changes student focus from learning of theory to practical application of the theory. The introduction of constructive competition provides an additional element of motivation, as it enhances realism and amplifies student ideas.


This paper reports initial findings from taking existing video game design techniques and processes and integrating them into the wireless communication engineering curriculum. Using

Jaurez, J., & Fu, P., & Uhlig, R., & Viswanathan, S. (2010, June), Beyond Simulation: Student Built Virtual Reality Games For Cellular Network Design Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15713

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