Hazardous Training Scenarios in Virtual Reality - A Preliminary Study of Training Scenarios for Massive Disasters in Metaverse

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Mika LuimulaJarmo MajapuroFahmi BellalounaAnis JedidiBrita SomerkoskiTimo Haavisto

Abstract: Simulation training in aviation and maritime is widely used in competence training and assessment. These simulator centres have suffered a lot because of COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the rapid progress in technology development and the pandemic disruptive solutions are intensively searched in vocational and professional training. Flight and maritime simulators are examples of training environments where even hazardous scenarios can be trained in safe conditions. In the previous studies, we have shown that virtual reality offers for other fields tools to create training solutions which can be again hazardous such as our virtual fire safety application used in fire escape. In addition, virtual and augmented reality can be used to create digital learning environments in fire safety prevention training combining physical, psychological, social and pedagogic dimensions. In this paper, we will focus also on virtual fire safety training. Aircraft fires require special treatment in firefighting with regards to the burning materials. This is due to the fact that about half of the aircraft consists of fibre composites, which can release many fine particles that are harmful to the lungs during combustion. However, the training of aircraft firefighting is currently only possible with great effort on a few special training grounds. This training application with multiplayer functionalities was created with Unity game engine. In the design phase, emphasis in the creation of the game was in setting up environment where teamwork and leadership is needed to accomplish the scenario. This approach is quite close to the metaverse concept where social communication is combined with hands on training activities among a large group of participants in an immersive digital training environment. The task of the participants is to first assess the situation, extinguish the fire and prevent the fibres from spreading to the surrounding area. This is done by collecting individual smaller pieces of composite debris or covering larger ones with foam so that they can no longer be carried away with the smoke and wind. Aside from distinguishing the fire at the crash site, the firefighters are also trained to collect debris from the crash site and discard it into the bin. Both tasks are equally as important and require a Standard Operational Procedure guideline in order to realistically implement them in the application. Research was needed to find appropriate solutions for multiplayer functionalities, for fire and smoke behavior, and for extinguishing the fire. Photon Unity Networking framework was used to enable multiplayer functionalities. Fire Propagation plugin in turn enabled to make the fire spread, to configure the appearance of the fire including the size, and the location of flames, the amount and the shape of smoke and sparks based on given requirements. Extinguishing the fire required the use of the water particle system with suitable collision detection. We found multiplayer functionalities to be an important element in virtual training. Scenario was designed so that participants had to communicate well with each other to ensure a fast firefighting. Our application is still in a prototype phase and more efforts will be needed to make the training more realistic. We will in the next phase present the story of the scenario more in details, and increase the stress level of participants by adding more tasks. In addition, our aim is to improve the assessment system analyzing user data, including difficulty levels, high score list, and feedback system. This solution can also be seen as a preliminary study for a massive catastrophe training experiment where tens or hundreds of professionals will be trained in the metaverse environment utilizing in-house metaverse technology.

Keywords: Virtual Reality, Fire Safety Training, Multiplayer Functionalities, Metaverse

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1002062

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