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Let’s Get Serious: Gaming Techniques for Simulation and Training. Jeff LeBlanc, MAK Technologies. About MAK. Who we are Founded in 1990; Based in Cambridge, MA Founders worked on SIMNET team Pioneer in adapting game technology for military tactical trainers What we do

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let s get serious gaming techniques for simulation and training

Let’s Get Serious:Gaming Techniques for Simulation and Training

Jeff LeBlanc, MAK Technologies

©MÄK Technologies, Inc.

about mak
About MAK
  • Who we are
    • Founded in 1990; Based in Cambridge, MA
      • Founders worked on SIMNET team
    • Pioneer in adapting game technology for military tactical trainers
  • What we do
    • Develop distributed simulation tools & toolkits for developers
    • Use our tools to build military tactical trainers

©MÄK Technologies, Inc.

serious games
Serious Games
  • Computer and video (console) games can be used for more than just entertainment
    • Education / edutainment
    • Marketing and advertising
    • Social policy and management
    • Training
  • The Serious Games marketplace is huge, rivaling the gaming or entertainment industries
  • Serious Games aim to provide training and education to the user, while also providing and engaging and entertaining experience
    • The latter supports the former

©MÄK Technologies, Inc.

serious games history
Serious Games History
  • Army Battlezone, by Atari in 1980
  • Late 80s saw SIMNET, by BBN, distributed real-time simulation
  • Edutainment was tried as a business model in the 1990s. It failed to be profitable…
  • Marine Doom, 1998, early attempt at training
  • Serious Games Initiative launched in 2000
    • goal: "to help usher in a new series of policy education, exploration, and management tools utilizing state of the art computer game designs, technologies, and development skills"
    • Use game development techniques and technologies to build ‘serious’ tools

©MÄK Technologies, Inc.

simnet
SIMNET
  • Military simulations have tended to be a bit "heavy"
    • Dedicated hardware
    • Physical proximity
    • Expectations of mechanical accuracy
  • SIMNET changed that, providing a networked multi-user interactive simulation
    • Support for hundreds of simultaneous users
    • Grandfather of today's MMOs?

©MÄK Technologies, Inc.

sons of simnet
Sons of SIMNET
  • Close Combat Tactical Trainer (CCTT)
    • Improved visual displays, networking
  • Spearhead (MAK, 1998)
    • Used many of the same underlying technologies
    • Showed a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) PC could be used for training
    • Gamespot gave it a 7.4!

©MÄK Technologies, Inc.

seriously unreal gaming
Seriously Unreal Gaming
  • Gaming technology began to drive the simulation world
  • America's Army (2002), initially released as a recruiting tool
    • Based on the Unreal 2 engine
    • Adopted as a platform to build trainer apps on
  • MAK Game-Link, a toolkit to allow Unreal games to interoperate with sims and trainers built to industry networking standards (DIS/HLA)

©MÄK Technologies, Inc.

game link
Game-Link

©MÄK Technologies, Inc.

dis hla protocols
DIS/HLA Protocols
  • Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS) is a standard conducting “massively multiplayer” simulations
    • Entity state information encoded into Protocol Data Units (PDUs) and broadcast over the simulation network
      • Damage state, direction/orientation vectors, articulations, etc
    • Entity Type information encoded as 8-bit enums describing platform, country, and capabilities
      • Example: “1:2:225:1:3”1” is a US F-16 Falcon
    • Dead Reckoning is performed between updates

©MÄK Technologies, Inc.

dis hla protocols10
DIS/HLA Protocols
  • High Level Architecture (HLA) came around in 1996, providing an object-oriented specification for distributed simulations
  • Communication is managed by a Runtime Infrastructure (RTI)
    • “middleware”
  • Individual members of the simulation are called federates. The total environment of the simulators is a federation.
  • The Federation Object Model (FOM) describes what the shared objects and events (interactions) are allowed in the simulation

©MÄK Technologies, Inc.

interoperability issues
Interoperability Issues
  • By adhering to the standards, simulations / trainers can be developed independently and work together
  • Important issues
    • Acceptable entity types
      • Models, if required
    • Terrain database
      • Coordinate systems
    • Thousands of entities
    • Expected visuals
      • Non-realistic display
      • Symbology (2525B)

©MÄK Technologies, Inc.

types of serious games
Types of Serious Games
  • Social Impact Games lists over 200 games in a variety of categories:
    • Education ("Algebots", "MeCHem")
    • Public Policy ("Cyberbudget", "So You Want To Be a Brooklyn Judge")
    • Health and Wellness ("Ben's Game", "Re-Mission")
    • Business ("In$ider", "Virtual Leader")
    • Military training ("Battle Command 2010")

©MÄK Technologies, Inc.

battle command 2010
Battle Command 2010
  • Staff planning trainer built using MÄK’s VR-Forces simulation engine
  • Users role-play staff officer positions in distributed game environment
    • Maneuver, Intelligence, Fire Support, Engineer, Logistics
  • Rehearse tactics & planning at brigade & below

©MÄK Technologies, Inc.

vr forces
VR-Forces
  • Object-oriented toolkit for
    • Networked synthetic environments
    • Requirements & operational analysis
    • Simulation for strategic &

tactical decision-makers

    • Embedded trainers
    • Mission rehearsal

©MÄK Technologies, Inc.

mak stealth
MAK Stealth
  • 3D virtual environment visualizer
    • Provide the “God’s eye” view of the total simulation
    • Built on the Vega Prime graphics engine
    • Game-like appearance, but different goals
      • Non-realistic rendering
      • Thousands of entities
      • Gigabyte-sized terrains

©MÄK Technologies, Inc.

demo time
Demo Time!
  • Time for a demonstration of VR-Forces and Stealth

©MÄK Technologies, Inc.

in conclusion
In Conclusion
  • The Serious Games industry is entrenched, and growing
  • Game technologies are providing a low-cost alternative to the old ‘do it yourself’ solutions
  • Be aware of, and involved in, existing standards
  • Questions?

©MÄK Technologies, Inc.