Civil engineering student presents construction site game in Japan

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Ping Lu, an undergraduate student from the Department of Civil Engineering at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, presented a paper entitled ‘Game-based active learning for built environment students’ at the 16th International Conference on Computing in Civil and Building Engineering in Osaka, Japan.

His presentation demonstrated the results of a project led by Dr Cheng Zhang of the Department of Civil Engineering at XJTLU to develop a computer game that allows students to learn abstract topics in engineering design and construction methods by interacting with a ‘virtual construction site’.


The game features questions and tasks that need to be accomplished, and a beta version is currently available for Civil Engineering students to download and play.

“Field trips to construction sites are arranged every semester,” said Dr Zhang (see picture above, centre). “However, finding suitable and convenient construction sites is not easy, and there can be time constraints. This game offers built environment students another chance to engage in active learning outside the classroom.”

With Dr Zhang’s supervision, Ping collaborated with four students from the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering at XJTLU to develop the game: Yulin Lu, Ruiyang Xu, Xiaomei Ye, and Yuwei Shi (see top picture, right). As the only student from the Department of Civil Engineering, Ping Lu (see picture below) was responsible for designing questions and tasks specific for civil engineering students.

“The project was developed over about one year from the second semester of Year Two until the second semester of Year Three,” said Ping. “The original idea was my tutor, Dr Zhang’s, and she helped me to develop it with the help of other students.”

Dr Zhang praised Ping, saying he is a hardworking student with a good academic background:

“Ping Lu’s presentation at the conference was a very good opportunity to showcase XJTLU and demonstrate student abilities in research. In terms of language proficiency and oral presentation skills, students from our University were well received at this international academic conference,” she said.

Dr Zhang plans to develop the game further using virtual reality technology.

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