07 December 2010

NDU/CASL Strategic Wargaming Roundtable (UPDATED)

Notes / comments on the NDU/CASL Strategic Wargaming Roundtable

The discussion opened up with a look at MMOWGLI, an online MMORPG for examining two-party conflicts. It's a fairly nifty tool with a look into the way that people make the decisions that they do, based on crowd-sourced recommendations. The original solicitation for the project can be found here on FBO.gov
It's set up as a 3-move turn-based strategy game. The first move will be the Red Team doing something "bad". The second move is the blue team(s) self-organizing into ad-hoc teams to respond, by assessing themselves and seeking assistance in filling their deficiencies.
Adjudication from round-to-round is done by game-masters behind the scenes over the weekend - it is not AI.
The 3 moves take 3 weeks total - start on "MMOWGLI Monday" and go on from there.
The first run of this is planned for early March.

The discussion following the presentation of MMOWGLI was the more interesting one.

Right now, MMOWGLI only supports two sides, rather than a multi-headed monster, which we've seen today is the norm. While there may be modifications coming in the future to support this, it didn't sound like it was a priority.

Another concern was with the 'technological determinism' of the DoD - the focus that if it's a cooler, more techno-whiz-bang gadget, then it must be better than the current techno-whiz-bang gadget. it doesn't matter if it's any more or less effective than the previous one, it's all about the technology.

A quote being attributed to someone working on DARPA's Real World program: What Microsoft Word became to document creation, and what PowerPoint became to presentation creation, they hoped that Real World would become to scenario creation and that MMOWGLI would become to game creation.
--- Now, this part makes me cringe... "Game creation" can't be limited to one toolbox. It absolutely has to look outside at other things. Otherwise, you're not creating games, you're creating scenarios.
Concerns about how to control access to the tool to ensure that you get quality product back, and not endless crap/dreck, as has happened with so many PowerPoint shows.

Partnering w/ NPS MOVES Institute b/c of their commitment to open-source software. Seems odd when juxtaposed with the previous statement.

How to evaluate "impact" and evaluate it based on feedback of likely/proposed alternative 'futures'? Aliens = off the reservation!

Funny comment: "Love the idea of crowd-sourcing as a way to get away from groupthink". Not sure why that strikes me as funny, but it does.

A question about how a turn-based structure is necessary or desirable in a paradigm that's essentially an open forum discussion. The idea being described is actually very similar to the "interactive games" run in the game forums over at Armchair General.

A very, very good point about mixing and matching interfaces by splitting the participants into multiple groups and running a statistical analysis to see if the interface determines what decisions the players make. Also, a question about thousands and thousands of people "playing" and what controls are in place for someone cheating in the game, where a single person screwing around could potentially ruin the game (and the learning experience) for everyone. The MMOWGLI team's mitigation factor at the moment is to put a robust moderation/control team in place on the game - with at least five people monitoring the game 24-7 they hope that's the control.

(lots of admin discussion... leaving it at this for tonight so I can join the conversation a bit more)

EDIT: Here are Rex Brynen's comments from PaxSims

By: Brant

1 comment:

GladiusMagnus said...

>>Funny comment: "Love the idea of crowd-sourcing as a way to get away from groupthink". Not sure why that strikes me as funny, but it does.

I laughed, too. WTF is that supposed to mean?