The UK's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has entered into a partnership with wargame developer Slitherine to use its strategy games to improve its analytical tools for real-life combat and strategy.
The partnership is worth up to £1.5 million over two years, and will see Slitherine apply the approach it uses on strategy video games such as Command and Flashpoint Campaigns to the Dstl's military analytics tools. The goal is to make traditionally dense or algorithm-focused tools more user-friendly and engaging.
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Slitherine marketing director Marco Minoli said that Slitherine would be building dedicated versions of Command Modern Air/Naval Operations and Flashpoint Campaigns to address the Dstl's specific needs. Combat Mission, which is developed by Battlefront.com, is also being used for a similar purpose.
"The idea is that these games are built from the ground up to be playable and easy to access within the limits of their deep complexities," he said. "We just have to focus on specific features and requirements that Dstl needs while leveraging on the existing accessibility of these products."
In a press release, a principal analyst for the Dstl had this to say: "I have played strategy video games myself - even some of the titles that we looked at for this project. They are generally easier to learn how to use and have far larger user bases than analytical defence simulations.
"We'll use these tools with our own data and scenarios to provide better ways of visualising military problems. The benefits are accessibility and ease of use, and the amount of existing users there are. For example, we've been able to train users quicker by going out to Dstl staff who have played these games and training them to use them in a professional capacity."