Ross Kukulinski--ASTi

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"Serious Communication for Serious Games"

For decades, military and commercial aviation have been using flight simulators to help teach pilots to fly. Over the years, it has been shown that augmenting real-world training with virtual training results in cheaper, safer, and more effective training. These and other training devices have spread and evolved and now can be found throughout the military being used to train a wide variety of individual skills as well as complicated joint-operation teamwork skills such as convoy operations and Call for Fire.

This talk will explore some of the technological challenges faced when building high-fidelity multiplayer training games for a global dynamic training network. Stringent military requirements include linking disparate training devices together such as serious games, full-fidelity flight simulators, and live-fire ranges so that soldiers may train in real-time with other units around the world in the same virtual world.

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Ross Kukulinski--ASTi

  1. 1. Ross Kukulinski Serious Play Conference 2013 1
  2. 2. 2 Photo by Derek Jensen
  3. 3. 3 Photo Courtesy of U.S. Military
  4. 4. 4 Serious Games are Powerful Tools
  5. 5. Serious Games …  Allow soldiers to experience situations that are impossible in the real world1  Provide improved hand-eye coordination, multi-tasking, and teamwork2  Are uniquely flexible to support varied training needs 5 1 Corti, 2006; Squire & Jenkins, 2003 2 Michael & Chen, 2006
  6. 6. Fundamentals of Teamwork The Big Five Core Components of Teamwork1 1. Team Leadership 2. Performance Monitoring 3. Backup Behavior 4. Adaptability 5. Team/Collective Orientation Hypothesis: Communication key element? 6 1 Salas, Sims, & Burke, 2004
  7. 7. Communication and Performance  America‟s Army experiments  Researchers measured team communication ○ Communication network level ○ Number of report-ins ○ Number of normal communications  Teams with regular organized reports had:  Higher performance  Higher estimated situational awareness 7 Schneider & Carley, 2005
  8. 8. DARWARS Ambush!: Authoring Lessons Learned in a Training Game1  Communication skills are critical for success  Communications capabilities differ widely across varying military units  Training system should be similar to real- world communication system 8 1 Diller, Orberts, Blankenship, Nielsen, 2004
  9. 9. „Good‟ Serious Games Six Ingredients to a good game1 1. Mechanics 2. Rules 3. Immersive Graphics 4. Interactivity 5. Challenge 6. Risks 7. What about communication? 9 1 Derryberry, 2007
  10. 10. 10 Team Building Examples
  11. 11. U.S. Army Grafenwoehr, Germany 12 Photo Courtesy of U.S. Military First responder training with Live & Virtual Training
  12. 12. Live-Virtual-Constructive 13
  13. 13. 14
  14. 14. Incident-Management Training 15
  15. 15. A Training Transfer Study of Serious Games “Our work in this project demonstrated consistently through all five experiments that communications is fundamental to the training experience and one of the most important aspects of the exercise.” Major Ben Brown MOVES Institute Naval Postgraduate School 16 Brown, 2010
  16. 16. On a personal note:  My biggest failures typically come down to one of two things:  I didn‟t communicate  Or I didn‟t communicate effectively 17
  17. 17. So what?  If we‟re building games to train or teach  and teamwork is a determining element of success or failures  Then our games need to accurately reflect real-world communication 18
  18. 18. 19 Real-world Communication
  19. 19. 20 What types of communication do you use in your workplace?
  20. 20. My short list:  Email  Instant Messaging  Telephone / Cell Phone  VoIP / Video Calling  Face-to-face  Twitter 21
  21. 21. Acceptable Fidelity • What is the training goal? • What is the real-world communication? • “One can debate the level of fidelity needed for useful training, but fidelity must certainly be high when it relates to the specific task being trained” 22 1Brown, 2010
  22. 22. Types of fidelity  Communication simulation  Communication user interface 23
  23. 23. 24 Communication Simulation
  24. 24. And now for a military example… 25
  25. 25. Basic Intercom 26
  26. 26. Intercom and Individual Radios 27
  27. 27. Geolocated Individual Radios 28
  28. 28. Geolocated Vehicle & Individual Radios 29
  29. 29. Highest Fidelity 30
  30. 30. Team building examples:  Compound & IMTS  „Intercom‟ only for all players  Grafenwoehr First-Responders  Simulated radios & Earshot 31
  31. 31. 32 Communication User Interface
  32. 32. “Quite simply, communications should be as seamless as all other aspects of [the serious game]. Communications should be internal to [the game] with seams between vendor production transparent to the user.”1 Major Benjamin Brown, MOVES Institute, Naval Postgraduate School 33 1Brown, 2010
  33. 33. Depends on fidelity  Players shout over their monitors  In-game text-chat  Simple press-to-talk key for voice  Or communication „items‟ are playable objects  Intelligent agents? 34
  34. 34. User Interface  Heads up display  Simple and intuitive  Flashing icon over avatar heads  Avatars‟ mouths move  Not realistic – does it break flow?  In-game objects  e.g. walk-up to a virtual computer and interact with it  Higher realism – but does it impede training? 35
  35. 35. Regardless of design decision  Quality of the audio is paramount  Dropped or garbled audio is not acceptable  Scalability can really be an issue  Latency also matters 36
  36. 36. Audio Latency • End-to-end Latency – Time for audio to travel from one user to another • Effected by many factors – Network link – Packetization delay – Operating system delay – Hardware device delay • Maximum 150ms one-way latency1 • Latency <100 ideal 37 1ITU-T G.114
  37. 37. 38 After Action Review
  38. 38. After Action Review • “Both simulation groups commented extensively on the AAR tool. Both groups believed the AAR tool was critical in providing a big picture view of what happened during the exercise.” 1 39 1Brown, 2010
  39. 39. After Action Review • Communication playback synced with visuals • Seek, Pause, FF, RW, Bookmarks • Export audio/visual for later analysis and study • BIG data? 40
  40. 40. 41 Final Thoughts
  41. 41. A Common Myth  High fidelity means hard to use  (and expensive?) However:  Does require insight into operational environment 42
  42. 42. Summary  Communication is critical for teamwork  Serious games require high-fidelity and high-quality communication for effective team-based training  Repetition is important, but so is analysis 43
  43. 43. Resources  Brown, B., (2010) A Training Transfer Study of Simulation Games  Carpenter, R., White, C., (2005) Commercial Computer Games in the Australian Department of Defense  Corti, K. (2006) Games-based Learning; a serious business application.  Derryberry, A. (2007) Serious Games: online games for learning  Diller, D., Roberts, B., Blankenship, S., Nielsen, D. (2004) DARWARS Ambush! Authoring Lessons Learned in a Training Game  Hussain, T., etal (2010) Development of game-based training systems: Lessons learned in an inter-disciplinary field in the making  Hussain T. & Ferguson, W. (2005) Efficient Development of Large-Scale Military Training Environments using a Multi-Player Game  McGowan, C., Pecheux, B. (2007) Serious Games that Improve Performance  Michael, D., & Chen, S. (2006) Serious games: Games that educate, train and inform  Sims E., Salas E., Burke S. (2004) Is There a „Big Five‟ in Teamwork  Snider, M., Carley K., Moon, I. (2005) Detailed Comparison of America‟s Army and Unit of Action Experiments  Squire, K. & Jenkins, H. (2003) Harnessing the power of games in education 44
  44. 44. Thank You! Ross Kukulinski @rosskukulinski ross.kukulinski@asti-usa.com 45

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