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Crowd sourcing through games

 
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Crowd sourcing through games - 3/13/2013 1:10:17 AM   
Paul Vebber


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Joined: 3/29/2000
From: Portsmouth RI
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There have been a few attempts by the U.S. Navy to "crowd-source" generating tactics and concepts through gaming, or "gamification". Two recent examples are:

http://archive.darpa.mil/actuv/

An attempt to learn about how an unmanned vehicle might try to trail a submarine by humans "playing the vehicle".

http://portal.mmowgli.nps.edu/

MMOWGLI stands for "massive multi-player online game leveraging the internet". Technically not a game, it is a "Gamification" of a "yellow sticky drill" where people offer ideas and others counter, revise, extend or otherwise heckle the original author. The "gamification" comes in by giving posters of ideas to the "virtual white board" points based on how many responses their ideas generate. I'm interested more in the former than the latter, but the latter might be a potential "after action report" discussion tool.

These attempts have met with limited success, but some folks in the Navy's "Innovation Enterprise" are asking if more can be done with "Crowd sourcing" things like, given a particular operational objective, "what capabilities would I want" and "what new ways can I use the things I have", and what could teh bad guys do about either".

The issue is, just how big a crowd is there out there for participating in such and effort? It struck me that asking the Modern Naval fans here what they thought of the idea.

I caveat this be stating that his is a personal request for information on my part, and is not meant to imply any "official Navy interest". I do work for the Navy since I left Matrix, and we can all dream ;)

The intent of such a game, (like the ACTUV game only higher echelon) would be place the player in the role of a high level tactical commander (like a carrier strike group or amphibious ready group) or potentially in the role of one of the ashore commands supporting them (Patrol aircraft, submarines, or Intelligence, surveillance and recon". Perhaps an individual ship commander, but probably not the "Dangerous waters" level of manning stations within the ship (or maybe so??? convince me ;)

The idea would require some effort on the part of the players over and above "just blowin' stuff up real good". I'm painfully aware of the need to keep the learning curve shallow, of focusing on tactical decision-making, not creating a "Clickfest" or a "gee, do I really have to sit here and watch the 98% of the pure boredom to get to the 2% "blowin' stuff up real good" part. But a big part of the value of the game, would be chat windows where players would "type out what they would say on the radio", or as we have gone to chat in the real Navy, for some things, what they would chat to the other commanders about. Thus there would be not just a log file of "what happened kinetically" but WHY the players did what they did, who got confused about what, etc.

To get to the "what works" and "if I only had X it would ROCK" players would sign up to play a series of games over time (A scheduling "app" would help players juggle that) probably on the order of playing a scenario 10 -15 times to fully explore the possible ways to reach the objective. The time to complete is not really a problem the idea is to have a "train of thought" from each set of players over say play a scenario 10 times over a 3 month period, the gist being to have them think the trough the "action, reaction, counter-action, counter-counter-action, etc..." line of thinking enough times to get past the initial learning curve and get really creative.

It could be structured so "clans" of mutual friends to manage times among themselves and other clans (i.e instead of me singing up to play Eric at a particular time, my clan would challenge another clan to a series of games, and whomever could make it form each clan would duke it out.

The fidelity of the game would likely be at the "technology generation" level, (a La EW in Harpoon the miniatures game) but extended to the other warfare areas as well. This gets away form issues of classification (and program offices getting P.O. 'd for "not portraying my system as God's gift to Naval warfare").

That would also allow for some "fog of war" as to "just how effective my weapons are". Is your Gen 5 fighter really a game changer, or do 20% of your pilots get asphyxiated while flying...

"Wow, that would be cool" at least some...er...a few, er...maybe me and... somebody, somebody, Buehler, anybody... are thinking.

But my intuition tells me that getting consistent pairs or small groups, to commit to probably 60+ hours of play time over a 2-3 month period, to play the same scenario over and over, and do what would amount to a "real time AAR" each time is, well not something likely to constitute "crowd sourcing", more like "me and maybe a dozen hardcore players". BUt wait there's more? Players who don't find the first scenario compelling, could wait to the next one, as they would come out say, every quarter. And did I say it was FREE ;)

Am I wrong, do you guys think such a thing "is what we have all been waiting for - I can be Ender!" or "wow, that sounds like more work than playing War in the Pacific...by email..."

Whatayathink?? Convince me this is a good idea..or not...
Post #: 1
RE: Crowd sourcing through games - 3/13/2013 5:32:02 AM   
TonyE


Posts: 1507
Joined: 5/23/2006
From: MN, USA
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Paul Vebber
But my intuition tells me that getting consistent pairs or small groups, to commit to probably 60+ hours of play time over a 2-3 month period, to play the same scenario over and over, and do what would amount to a "real time AAR" each time is, well not something likely to constitute "crowd sourcing", more like "me and maybe a dozen hardcore players". BUt wait there's more? Players who don't find the first scenario compelling, could wait to the next one, as they would come out say, every quarter. And did I say it was FREE ;)

Am I wrong, do you guys think such a thing "is what we have all been waiting for - I can be Ender!" or "wow, that sounds like more work than playing War in the Pacific...by email..."

Whatayathink?? Convince me this is a good idea..or not...


Experience shows getting even one pair of players to commit anything like that amount of time is rare at best. There may be thousands playing Harpoon but painfully few actually doing anything to keep the game alive, more actively trying to kill it actually.

I'm not sure why you want to eliminate the boring parts of warfare, the few seconds of terror don't feel nearly the same when not surrounded by hours of mind numbing tedium and minutes of scrambling. Harpoon often shows you the difference between living and dying is how you deal with the non-action times.

Overall I'm not sure what you are trying to accomplish. By your own admission it isn't crowd-sourcing. It reads like trying to put a bunch of lipstick on a few arm-chair admirals. Granted arm-chair admirals are going to come up with some intriguing approaches since they aren't hemmed in by politics, chain of command, or so many of the other influences that make intelligent real commander's look like imbeciles. What is the goal?

_____________________________

Sincerely,
Tony Eischens
Harpoon (HC, HCE, HUCE, Classic) programmer
HarpGamer.com Co-Owner

(in reply to Paul Vebber)
Post #: 2
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