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Serious Communication for
      Serious Games
          Ross Kukulinski
  ross.kukulinski@asti-usa.com
     Serious Play Conference
Photo by Derek Jensen
                    2
Photo Courtesy of U.S. Military
                              3
Roadmap
1.   Serious games and teamwork
2.   Communications modeling
3.   Fidelity
4.   Game integration
5.   Network interoperability
6.   Final thoughts and future directions



                                            4
Part 1

Serious Games are
  Powerful Tools



                    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


                             1
                               Corti, 2006; Squire & Jenkins, 2003
                             2
                               Michael & Chen, 2006
                                                                 6
‘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?
                                    1
                                        Derryberry, 2007

                                                       7
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?

                                     1
                                         Salas, Sims, & Burke, 2004
                                                                      8
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
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
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
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
                                     Brown, 2010
                                               12
Game Communication Options
•   Nothing
•   Text-chat
•   Game integrated voice communication
•   Third-party voice communication

None simulate real-world communication!



                                          13
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
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
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
Part 2

Communications
   Modeling



                 17
Modes of Voice Communication
• Intercoms
• Radios
• Earshot




                           18
Intercoms
• Full-duplex
• One channel per
  ‘wire’
• 1-to-1 or n-to-n
  participants
• Phone/Conference
  call



                           Photo by K!T
                                          19
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
Earshot
• Simulated voice communication
  – Full duplex
  – Volume and quality degrades over distance




                                                21
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
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
Part 3

Fidelity




           24
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
Basic Intercom




                 26
Intercom and Individual Radios




                                 27
Geolocated Individual Radios




                               28
Geolocated Vehicle & Individual Radios




                                   29
Highest Fidelity




                   30
Part 4

Game Integration




                   31
“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




                                       1
                                        Brown, 2010

                                                  32
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
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
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
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
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
Part 5

    Network
Interoperability



                   38
Live-Virtual-Constructive Example




                                    39
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
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
Part 6

Final Thoughts




                 42
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
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
Thank You!

       Ross Kukulinski
ross.kukulinski@asti-usa.com




                               45
Useful Links:
www.seriousplayconference.com
www.seriousgamesdirectory.com
www.seriousgamesassociation.com

Contact:
sbohle@seriousgamesassociation.com

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

  • 1. Serious Communication for Serious Games Ross Kukulinski ross.kukulinski@asti-usa.com Serious Play Conference
  • 2. Photo by Derek Jensen 2
  • 3. Photo Courtesy of U.S. Military 3
  • 4. Roadmap 1. Serious games and teamwork 2. Communications modeling 3. Fidelity 4. Game integration 5. Network interoperability 6. Final thoughts and future directions 4
  • 5. Part 1 Serious Games are Powerful Tools 5
  • 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. ‘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? 1 Derryberry, 2007 7
  • 8. 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? 1 Salas, Sims, & Burke, 2004 8
  • 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. 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. 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. 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 Brown, 2010 12
  • 13. Game Communication Options • Nothing • Text-chat • Game integrated voice communication • Third-party voice communication None simulate real-world communication! 13
  • 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. 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. 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. Part 2 Communications Modeling 17
  • 18. Modes of Voice Communication • Intercoms • Radios • Earshot 18
  • 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. 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. Earshot • Simulated voice communication – Full duplex – Volume and quality degrades over distance 21
  • 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. 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
  • 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
  • 29. Geolocated Vehicle & Individual Radios 29
  • 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 1 Brown, 2010 32
  • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Part 5 Network Interoperability 38
  • 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. 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
  • 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. 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. Thank You! Ross Kukulinski ross.kukulinski@asti-usa.com 45

Editor's Notes

  1. James Oker - Microsoft Research (Stolen from his presentation earlier today) “ Communication is a key ingredient” of games that teach teamwork