Lighter Side: Law school to launch virtual reality criminal law game

by Sol Dolor16 Sep 2016
Law students at the University of Westminster will soon be playing a game during their criminal law class and be potentially praised by their professors.
The UK university will launch a virtual reality game called REal and Virtual Reality Law (REVRLaw) in November for their LLB and LLM students to brush up on their skills in criminal law.
Computer science senior lecturers Markos Mentzelopoulos and Dr. Daphne Economou as well as games development student James Parrish worked with law school senior lecturer and criminal law module leader Dr. Paresh Kathrani to make the game.
Played via the Oculus Rift and rendered via the VR Unity engine, the game puts players in a scenario where they interact with their surroundings to try and determine whether a murder has been committed.
In an interview with Digital Trends, Mentzelopoulos said that the game gives students a way to learn from material other than books.
“Instead of students only learning from books, the idea was to give students the chance to understand criminology by actually interacting with a crime scene environment,” Mentzelopoulos said.
“It’s a way for them to explore case studies in different ways, taking advantage of VR’s immersive properties.”
The senior lecturer stressed, however, that the game does not intend to replace books and lectures.
“This isn’t a way of replacing existing teaching materials, it’s about supplementing them. Books and interactive lectures are still very important. But younger students are also more willing to try out new technologies. This is a chance for them to do that,” he said.
The game is still in beta, but the paper written about its development has already been awarded the best paper at the 2016 immersive Learning Research Network (iLRN) conference.