Chapter7.gif (951 bytes) Designing Computer Games

Computer Wargame Design Tips for the Military Designer

There are several items that the military wargame designer has to consider. These are issues that the commercial wargame designer rarely, or never, encounters. To put it in the proper perspective, I call wargames "models" in this section. Especially in the military, "game" is a dirty word.

Map or Not

A key decision is whether your model needs a map display. Some don't, but nearly all can benefit. If not a tactical map display, then graphic displays to make data easier to absorb.

Visible or Black Box

One easy way to cut costs and trim development time is to minimalize user access to what is going on in the model. Models with limited access are known as Black Box models. In the past, when computer resources were limited, or unavailable, Black Boxes were unavoidable. The downside was that Black Boxes are less credible to users, particularly if these results are striking and against the grain. The Visible Model allows the user ready access to what's going on in the model. The user can then, often interactively, query the model as to how a particular result was reached.

Sanitized Basic Version

Most defense community models are highly classified. A major shortcoming of this is the limited number of people who can review the model. The greater the number of reviewers, the more likely errors and problems in the model will be detected and corrected. This problem can be corrected by developing a version of the model that is unclassified (sanitized).

Intelligent User Access

It's not enough to give the user access to the inner workings of the model, it must be efficient, thorough, in other words intelligent access. Makes both the model and the user much more efficient and effective.

Inexpensive Workstations

What was an engineering workstation five years ago is today a high end, 32 bit Personal Computer costing less than $5,000 a unit with hard disk and high resolution graphics. This provides the opportunity to create a model that can be used very widely. This is an asset that must be considered.

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