Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Daily Archives: 08/12/2010

scooped on MMOWGLI by Grog News

Sheesh—your intrepid PaxSims reporter travels all the way from the Great White North to National Defense University to attend the quarterly CASL roundtable on strategic gaming, only to be scooped by Brant Guillory at Grog News. That man is everywhere.

As Brant reports, much of the session was devoted to a session on the interesting MMOWGLI platform (Massive Multiplayer Online Wargame Leveraging the Internet), being developed by the MOVES Institute at the Naval Postgraduate School, the Office of Naval Research, and the Institute for the Future. The design ideas behind the project are certainly very interesting, with MMOWGLI intended to:

  • allow gaming among a large and diverse set of players (50 – 1,000), leveraging opportunities for crowd-sourcing ideas and solutions
  • flatten real-world hierarchies that might inhibit idea-generation (removing rank and hierarchy out of the equation so that the meritocracy of ideas can assert itself)
  • facilitate “knowledge accidents” where interactions generate unanticipated ideas and approaches
  • be highly “repurposable” so that the platform can be used easily for a variety of purposes, incorporating a wizard-based architecture to facilitate scenario generation

That being said, I was left wanting to hear a great deal more about what the platform could actually do. MMOWGLI is said to contain communication/collaboration tools, moderation tools, and some degree of modelling capability. To what extent and in what ways might these be superior to what is already available? We’ll have to await the playtests to see.

There’s also the issue of crowd-sourcing ideas. This can certainly produce some interesting outputs. However, as we saw with the World Bank’s EVOKE project, it doesn’t always help to generate good, informed, or useful ideas. MMOWGLI contains a fairly heavy moderation/control/referee element, which might reduce the risks of what might be called MMOS (“Massive Multiplayer Online Stupidity”)—again, it will be interesting to see in the playtests.

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UPDATE: We have more on MMOWGLI here.

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