WarCon™ will enable non-programmers to create war game content
ORLANDO, Florida, Nov. 28, 2005 –The U.S. Air Force has engaged Stottler Henke Associates, Inc. (www.stottlerhenke.com) to develop a software toolkit that for the first time will enable subject matter experts – instructors, rather than programmers – to create content for computer-based war games. The software, called WarCon™, is a visual authoring tool designed to simplify and streamline the development of high-quality war game simulations. It is being developed by Stottler Henke, a software development and consulting firm headquartered in San Mateo, California, under a $750,000 contract with the Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama.
Stottler Henke made its WarCon contract announcement at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC 2005), which began today in Orlando.
“War games are a vital component in military education today, so having the means to develop them rapidly and consistently is critical to our armed forces’ preparedness,” Richard Stottler, president of Stottler Henke Associates, said. “We are proud to be able to apply our expertise in intelligent software applications, visual authoring tools and intuitive human interfaces to this project.”
WarCon features a number of innovations that represent significant enhancements to the art and science of computer-based war games. As a visual authoring environment, WarCon moves away from the traditional text-based programming interface; but it is also “adaptive” and can change based on the preferences of the individual user. WarCon also contains a collaborative authoring assistant, which provides help and guidance to the game’s creator. Games built using WarCon will feature a consistent presentation style (“look and feel”), so students can focus on the substance of each game and scenario they encounter, rather than on the mechanics of how they interact with the game. And finally, WarCon-authored games will incorporate a sophisticated simulation engine capable of handling complex scenarios with several hundred entities.
WarCon will be offered in three versions, geared to different types of users:
- Forge – For an instructor or programmer who creates custom software “building blocks” to assemble a game from scratch;
- Build – For the user who opts to combine software building blocks in different ways to create new games; and
- Edit – For the user who chooses to make simple changes (e.g., size, location) to existing war game assets
Along with the war game construction toolkit, Stottler Henke is using WarCon to build games for four schools at Air University. WarCon will support the development of training simulations for a wide range of missions, not just traditional war games. The four currently being developed include:
- an introductory game intended to teach basic principles of air and space power to students at the Air Force Officer Accession and Training School (AFOATS);
- a game for the School of Advanced Air & Space Studies (SAASS) that teaches how to plan and execute an air campaign in a complex geopolitical and strategic climate;
- a multi-player game that teaches satellite tasking (providing intelligence and bandwidth services to friendly forces) intended for teams of students in the Squadron Officer College (SOC); and
- a logistics game for Air Command Staff College (ACSC) that challenges students to get all necessary inventory in-theater for a particular operation.
WarCon will benefit from techniques and capabilities Stottler Henke pioneered in its SimBionic® visual authoring tool for specifying behaviors of simulated entities, which is used today in the development of training systems and computer games.
Founded in 1988, Stottler Henke Associates, Inc. applies artificial intelligence and other advanced software technologies to solve problems that defy solution using traditional approaches. The company delivers intelligent software solutions for education and training, planning and scheduling, knowledge management and discovery, decision support, and software development. Stottler Henke’s clients include manufacturers, retailers, educational media companies and government agencies. Stottler Henke received a 2004 “Brandon Hall Excellence in Learning” award for innovative technology. For the past three consecutive years, Stottler Henke was named one of the “top 100” companies making a significant impact on the military training industry by Military Training Technology magazine, and in 2005 received a Blue Ribbon recognizing it as a company that leads the industry in innovation.
Nov. 28, 2005