Social Simulation for Serious Games – Call for Members & Call for Papers for Special Track @ ESSA 2014

Call for Members

Special Interest Group on Social Simulation for Serious Games


There is an important distinction between simulations and serious games: the latter provide abstractions and include game mechanics to entice players and let them learn or practice. Certain serious games try to ‘gamify’ social simulations, for example negotiation training systems, systems that help children cope with bullying and skills training for alcohol screening. Certain forms of serious games (e.g. role-play) also enable researchers to simulate and experiment with social situations otherwise difficult to reproduce in real life, thus allowing them to study human behaviour. This kind of gamified simulation was for example successfully used in the management of natural resources when studying the behaviour of stakeholders when faced with new fishing regulations.


In the SS4SG SIG, we investigate how the fields of social simulation and serious games are linked. In particular, we focus on the following topics:

  • Serious game design. Which level of abstraction is chosen for a serious game? Will it be close to a strict simulation or will it incorporate extensive metaphors? What are the factors based on which this choice is to be made? Which (serious) game mechanics are useful?
  • Modelling the social situation. Which approach captures the situation with sufficient granularity? How should a choice be made to include specific theories and models that describe the situation? For example, using a data-driven methodology, how can the steps be made from data to theory to application (and game mechanics)? For agent-based modelling, how can artificially intelligent agents be made that act according to a specified model?
  • Example implementations. Stories of success and failure: which elements in a serious game that includes social interaction turn out to be useful and which are counter-productive to the game’s goal? Which elements of social simulations can be used in the design of serious games?


We intend this SIG to be an active platform for discussions and information dissemination (e.g. relevant papers and events, exchanging knowledge and experience). Depending on the level of activity in the SIG and of the interests of its members, we plan to organise special tracks at future conferences, for example at (serious) game conferences such as GALA, VS-Games and ISAGA, but also at social science conferences such as ESSA and SocialCom. In addition, we are open to suggestions for other events, such as workshops or courses.


We welcome interested individuals from any field or level of education as we strive to take a cross-disciplinary approach to address social simulations and serious games.


For all queries associated with this SIG (for example wishing to join, sharing information or wanting the ability to post on our blog) please visit or contact one of the SIG co-organisers.


SS4SG organiser: Jeroen Linssen (

SS4SG co-organiser: Melania Borit (



Call for Papers for Special Track @ ESSA 2014


As a first possible event for SS4SG, we have been invited to submit papers related to our topic to ESSA 2014 at Barcelona, Spain, this year’s conference of the European Social Simulation Association. If at least 3 full papers get accepted, a special track on Social Simulation for Serious Games will be organised.


The official Call for Papers for ESSA can be found here: Please notify us if you intend to submit a paper to ESSA related to the topic of SS4SG.


Types of contributions accepted:

  • Full papers – in the length of 10 to 12 pages, should be comprehensive and consists of detailed presentation of theory, methodology and simulation results.
  • Extended abstracts – in the length of 3 to 4 pages, which presents the current topic in progress with enough detail to ensure proper evaluation and discussion, or
  • Posters – maximum allowed size A1 (smaller sizes are acceptable), should present the current work in progress. An abstract (1-2 pages) should be submitted before contributions deadline.


Important dates:

  • (Extended) deadline: April 11th, 2014
  • Notification of acceptance: May 15th, 2014
  • Early registration closes: May 23th, 2014
  • Final paper due: June 15th, 2014
  • Conference: September 1st-5th, 2014



Kind regards,


The SS4SG organisers


Jeroen Linssen (University of Twente, The Netherlands)

Melania Borit (University of Tromsø, Norway)