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GCN : May 2013
that we know players enjoy --- like earn- ing badges, getting names posted to lead- erboards and reward schedules --- and use them to help a player reach 'flow,' where time just stops," he said. "And that can make learning effective, even for tasks that would otherwise be uninterest- ing" and thus difficult to teach. President Barack Obama supports gamification efforts through the Office of Science and Technology Policy. In 2011 he issued a call for more educational games as well as games that address na- tional challenges during a speech at the TechBoston conference. Part of that ef- fort led to the creation of the Federal Games Working Group, nicknamed the Federal Games Guild by its members, a name invoking World of Warcraft, where likeminded players organize themselves into guilds. GOVERNMENT GAMES GUILD "That's one of the reasons we started the Federal Games Guild, to share experi- ence and lessons learned between folks working with games and government," Laughlin said. Besides sharing informa- tion, the FGG often brings in developers from commercial game companies to talk about the process of making games. Laughlin believes that the future of gaming in government is likely going to be more and bigger private partner- ships with the game industry. One such partnership produced the Money Smart game. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation partnered with Dynamics Research Corp. to help low- and moder- ate-income families better manage their money. Designed to look like a board game like Life or Monopoly, Money Smart challenges players to boost their financial savvy and teaches useful skills like how to set up a bank account, pay bills on time and avoid identity theft. "It began as a Web-only game," said Ron Smits, director of knowledge man- agement at DRC. "We had a target of getting 10,000 people to play it. But it had over 40,000 players in the first six months." Smits says he is seeing more requests from government for game de- velopment. "It's only recently been la- beled gamification," he said. "We've built games before, but in the educational realm; the big push has come in the last three to four years." Rich Taylor, senior vice president of communications and industry affairs for the Entertainment Software Association, the trade group that represents most of the largest game companies, says it's only natural that government would want to 20 GCN MAY 2013 • GCN.COM The squad moves cautiously down the dusty, almost claustrophobic alley. Every sound is magnified, yet nobody hears or sees anything out of the ordinary. It s simply another street with no name somewhere in the Middle East. The point man issues a command to his team, but perhaps he isn t clear enough about what he wants. Most of the squad does the right thing, but one man is a bit confused and ends up looking the wrong way for an instant, leaving open a hole in their careful defenses. The ambush that falls on the squad is quick and deadly. In the blink of an eye two soldiers are killed. The Americans return fire, killing the assailants --- but also several civilians standing around in the nearby market. Slowly the dirty street fades from view, replaced by the reality of a Virginia warehouse or a California parking lot. None of it was real. The enemy combatants, the civilians, the nameless street and even the avatars of the soldiers only existed inside a simulation called ExpeditionDI. Designed to train dismounted infantry (hence the DI designation in the name), Quantum3D s ExpeditionDI, is used primarily by the Army. It was recently deployed at the Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center for use by the 157th Infantry Brigade, First Army Division East. "ExpeditionDI is designed to reinforce physical skills," said Pratish Shah, vice president of sales and marketing at Quantum3D. "Soldiers learn how to position and fire their weapons, when to take a knee and how to work e ectively in a team." The firm has done a lot of work with flight simulations and wanted to bring that same level of total environmental immersion to soldiers who fight on the ground, Shah said. The system comprises a head-mounted, goggles-like monitor that drops down in front of a soldier s eyes from his helmet, providing a 1280-by-1024 resolution display capable of showing highly detailed images. Because the goggles are so close to the eyes, it takes up almost the entire field of vision. There are also sensors positioned along the helmet and legs of the soldier, so that the avatar in the simulation will mirror his actions. If a soldier kneels down or turn his head, the virtual soldier that represents him will do the same. This lets the soldiers see each other and communicate inside the same scenario. Each soldier wears a backpack that contains a computer with GAMIFICATION EMERGING TECH A GAME WHERE 'DYING' CAN SAVE LIVES