Racing Academy: A Futurelab Prototype Research Report

Ben Williamson, Richard Sandford

01 December 2004

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Racing Academy is a prototype for a massively multiplayer online (MMO) engineering and racing car simulation. Based on the most realistic vehicle physics and surface simulation yet developed, it gives players the capacity to manipulate the set-up of vehicles, and then to race them against an AI driver. In the prototype, Racing Academy was played as a standalone game, with a bespoke online messageboard providing players with opportunities to discuss their performance and to share advice about playing the game.

The prototype was trialled with two Year 10 groups at two secondary schools in Bristol. In total, 40 students played the game. One group was an engineering GCSE class, the other a GCSE science class. Each group completed a questionnaire about computer use, interest in video games and interest in cars/racing; they played the game twice; completed a questionnaire about their experience of the game; and four students were interviewed on DV tape about their experience of the game. While playing the game, two students from each group were recorded on DV tape, and transcripts from the messageboard were captured.

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