Decisionware set to deliver Magnus - Just in Time Production to Ngee Ann Polytechnic

By AMRITA VALECHA | 22 September, 2009 - 17:36

SINGAPORE: Come August and Singapore based educational simulation and game development company Decisionware, is all set to deliver a production cycle based online multiplayer game, 'MAGNUS - Just-in-Time Production' for Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore.

The objective of the game is to emphasize the importance of accounting and decision-making behind the production process of most manufacturing firms. In the game students have to run a manufacturing sector company with their team mates, competing with other companies run by other students. The goal being , 'to be the most profitable company at the end of a specified number of turns.'

Speaking to AnimationXpress Asia Pacific, Kevin Low, Business Development Manager, Decisionware shared that, "In the Magnus - Just-in-Time Production each company owns a factory with a certain manufacturing capacity, for instance 1000 units per game cycle. With this, companies have to bid for manufacturing contracts and each contract varies in size and deadline. Bidding for more contracts may increase the chance of securing more business, but may result in the company being unable to fulfill the contract in the required time. The company can choose to outsource to other players to top-up the shortfall. To make the gameplay more dynamic, other aspects like scarcity of raw materials and joint agreements between competitors have been added."

The game is a customization of Decisionware's own game engine MAGNUS which has been used in a number of local and foreign universities such as National University of Singapore, Singapore Institute of Management, Universidad Panamericana Guadalajara in Mexico and University of Antwerp in Belgium. It has been used as an educational tool as well as a platform for conducting nation-wide competitions.

'MAGNUS - Just-in-Time Production' is completely developed in-house, with a team of 4 and since it is a customization of Decisionware's own game engine, the estimated cost is lower, around SGD 40,000 - 70,000," informs Kevin.

Decisionware has collaborated with approximately 12- 15 local and overseas institutions and conducted about 6 competitions using their games. It has developed different types of simulation games like MAGNUS, Ice Cream Factory (a business management game for teenagers, where players learn business concepts by playing and competing with virtual ice-cream companies), Zooba Island (a math games portal for young children, which features a number of games on Math topics approved by the Ministry of Education), ExLibris (a management game where the player has to learn and manage a library network). The company is also looking to develop a healthcare services simulation game.

Talking about the advent of games in the education sector Kevin shared, "In the recent times, the Government and the Institutions are recognizing games as a useful tool in classrooms, and allocating more budgets to the development and purchase of simulation games. With the increasing use of the Internet and multiplayer games, interaction between many players is possible, creating many levels of learning. In addition to the basic concepts, students have to adapt and apply what they learn and a game is constantly evolving due to inputs from other players."

"We also see a changing trend in the consumer sentiments, as the next generation of parents grew up playing games, they too will recognize the learning value of games for their children. We see that in the next 5 years, more parents use or purchase educational games for their children." He concluded.