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"Serious Communication for Serious Games" By Ross Kukulinski- Serious Play Conference 2012


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Ross Kukulinski speaks about "Serious Communication for Serious Games" at Serious Play Conference 2012
Voice communication is a key component of military-unit based training.
Soldiers rely on communications skills on the battlefield to share information within a unit and throughout the chain of command. Both observing proper radio protocol and verbally relaying information between unit members are essential in dismounted soldier and convoy training.

State-of-the-art solutions for serious games have been inadequate for reinforcing these important skills. While some games do offer integrated voice solutions, the implementation often fails to resemble realistic battlefield scenarios. And most in-game solutions also do not provide interoperability with the existing deployed base of military simulators or instructor stations.
In this session, the speaker will demonstrate a new communication product that provides these capabilities. Based on input from actual military training facilities, this solution is can be used to augment existing serious game training, raising the fidelity of the simulation.

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"Serious Communication for Serious Games" By Ross Kukulinski- Serious Play Conference 2012

  1. 1. Serious Communication for Serious Games Ross Kukulinski Serious Play Conference
  2. 2. Photo by Derek Jensen 2
  3. 3. Photo Courtesy of U.S. Military 3
  4. 4. Roadmap1. Serious games and teamwork2. Communications modeling3. Fidelity4. Game integration5. Network interoperability6. Final thoughts and future directions 4
  5. 5. Part 1Serious Games are Powerful Tools 5
  6. 6. 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 1 Corti, 2006; Squire & Jenkins, 2003 2 Michael & Chen, 2006 6
  7. 7. ‘Good’ Serious GamesSix Ingredients to a ‘good’ game1 1. Mechanics 2. Rules 3. Immersive Graphics 4. Interactivity 5. Challenge 6. Risks 7. What about communication? 1 Derryberry, 2007 7
  8. 8. Fundamentals of TeamworkThe 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? 1 Salas, Sims, & Burke, 2004 8
  9. 9. 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 Schneider & Carley, 2005 9
  10. 10. DARWARS Ambush!: Authoring Lessons Learned in a Training Game1• Communication skills are critical for success – Requires effective communications training• Communications capabilities differ widely across varying military units• Training system should be similar to real- world communication system 1 Diller, Orberts, Blankenship, Nielsen, 2004 10
  11. 11. DARWARS Lessons Cont’d• Primary functions of a convoy commander – Establish and maintain communications within the convoy – Maintain communication with superordinate and subordinate element commanders Diller, Orberts, Blankenship, Nielsen, 2004 11
  12. 12. A Training Transfer Study of Serious Games“Our work in this project demonstratedconsistently through all five experimentsthat communications is fundamental to thetraining experience and one of the mostimportant aspects of the exercise.” Major Ben Brown MOVES Institute Naval Postgraduate School Brown, 2010 12
  13. 13. Game Communication Options• Nothing• Text-chat• Game integrated voice communication• Third-party voice communicationNone simulate real-world communication! 13
  14. 14. Our Customer Feedback• Some were content with what they had• Some engineered custom solutions• Many were frustrated – Current game communication systems… • are not robust • are difficult to manage in large installations • do not simulate real-world radio communication • do not integrate well with other training systems • lack live technical support and expertise 14
  15. 15. Brief History Lesson• Full Spectrum Warrior – 2000-2003• America’s Army – 2002• DARWARS Ambush – 2005-2009• ‘Game After Ambush’ (VBS2) – 2009-2012/13• ‘Games For Training’ Recompete – Q4-2012 15
  16. 16. Communication Specifications• Game After Ambush (2009) – 8,118 words in technical specification – 128 words for describing communication• Games for Training (Draft – October 2011) – 5,113 words in technical specification – 128 words for describing communication• Games for Training (Draft – April 2012) – Finally requires high-fidelity voice communication 16
  17. 17. Part 2Communications Modeling 17
  18. 18. Modes of Voice Communication• Intercoms• Radios• Earshot 18
  19. 19. Intercoms• Full-duplex• One channel per ‘wire’• 1-to-1 or n-to-n participants• Phone/Conference call Photo by K!T 19
  20. 20. Radios• Half-duplex (usually)• 1-to-n participants• Many configurations possible (AM, FM, PT/CT, freq, encoding, etc.)• Variable communication link quality• Complex and hard to simulate in real-time Photo courtesy of U.S. Military• Noisy! 20
  21. 21. Earshot• Simulated voice communication – Full duplex – Volume and quality degrades over distance 21
  22. 22. Simulating Real-world Communication• Simulated radios behave like real-world radios – AM, FM, Frequency Hopping – Half-duplex radios – Full-duplex intercoms – Real-time dynamic radio noise – Realistic propagation effects due to ranging, occulting, radio power level, and terrain – Crypto system sound effects 22
  23. 23. Simulating Real-world Communication• Simulate voice communication (Earshot) – Volume and quality degrades over distance – Separate from radio simulation• Trainees limited to channels they would have in real-world 23
  24. 24. Part 3Fidelity 24
  25. 25. Acceptable Fidelity• What is the training goal?• What is the real-world communication?• Combined arms, convoy, and small unit communications “must be correct and effective”• “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” Brown, 2010 1 25
  26. 26. Basic Intercom 26
  27. 27. Intercom and Individual Radios 27
  28. 28. Geolocated Individual Radios 28
  29. 29. Geolocated Vehicle & Individual Radios 29
  30. 30. Highest Fidelity 30
  31. 31. Part 4Game Integration 31
  32. 32. “Quite simply, communications should beas seamless as all other aspects of [the seriousgame]. Communications should be internal to [the game] with seams between vendor production transparent to the user.”1 1 Brown, 2010 32
  33. 33. Administrative Interface• In addition to personnel and weapons, game scenarios should include communication• Radio/intercom configuration and allocation• DIS/HLA configuration• Re-usable communication configuration 33
  34. 34. User Interface• Two possible views – Heads Up Display (HUD) – In-game objects• HUD – Simple and intuitive – Not realistic – does it break flow?• In-game objects – Higher realism – does it impede training? 34
  35. 35. User Interface Capabilities• Regardless of view mode: – Support for multiple radios and intercoms – View radio channel and Tx/Rx status – Support changing radio channels – Dynamic vehicle communication systems – Earshot voice communication 35
  36. 36. Required Simulation Information• Radio location from game entities for realistic radio effects like ranging and occulting• Player location for Earshot voice communication• Assign radios and intercoms to vehicles for mounted training – Players acquire vehicle-based radios when mounted, lose access when dismounted 36
  37. 37. 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• Communication playback synced with visuals• Seek, Pause, FF, RW, Bookmarks• Export audio/visual for later analysis and study Brown, 2010 1 37
  38. 38. Part 5 NetworkInteroperability 38
  39. 39. Live-Virtual-Constructive Example 39
  40. 40. DIS & HLA• Distributed Interactive Simulation – Wire-level specification – UDP – Simple! – But standard slow to evolve• High-Level Architecture – Run Time Infrastructure – Set of API functionality – Federation Object Model – Very complex 40
  41. 41. Networked Voice• Audio encoding and sample rate• Dynamic packet sizes• Latency – Maximum 150ms one-way latency – Latency <100 ideal• Unreliable networks (jitter, lost packets) 41
  42. 42. Part 6Final Thoughts 42
  43. 43. Summary• Communication is critical for teamwork• Real-time communication simulation is computationally complex• Serious games require high-fidelity communication for effective training• Requirement to network disparate training systems into a common network 43
  44. 44. 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
  45. 45. Thank You! Ross 45
  46. 46. Useful