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108 comments

In the middle of the greatest deficit... (5, Insightful)

tryptogryphic (1985608) | more than 2 years ago | (#38106082)

...it's good to see our government spending money on games.

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38106606)

Good also seeing my tax money bailing out rogue bankers who then turn around and slap big "bonuses" onto themselves.
The 99 gets screwed once again.

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38106928)

Time to let go, dude

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38107242)

But the government won't reciprocate. Try explaining it to them when you stop paying on Apr 15.

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (4, Insightful)

kermidge (2221646) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107678)

I think it's time to remember not to forget what the bastards did.

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108388)

I have a theory that in every slashdot topic for the next 2 weeks, there will be at least one person who shoehorns Occupy Wallstreet into every discussion within the first 20 comments.

Its like the throwing away of their tents has made them unable to shut up about it in unrelated discussions.

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (2)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109248)

It's called the Streisand Effect, methinks.

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38106618)

You know, that's a pretty small budget for a modern AAA game, seeing how this is a government contract it'll probably be based on the old Infocomm text game engine.
HA! catchpa: derision

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (2)

fwice (841569) | more than 2 years ago | (#38106680)

A snapshot of one of BBN's other training games (VESSEL) is available on their website. While not quite on the same level as Farcry, it does a little bit better than text only :]

http://bbn.com/technology/immersive_learning_technologies/vessel [bbn.com]

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38106784)

I actually expected better. Looking at the VESSEL demo movie it looks like they spent their time on everything but the graphics which is probably a good idea. I don't even think their renderer supports lighting. As a teaching tool it looks pretty good with integrated reference materials and such, but I think if they downloaded the Quake 3 source code he game parts would look better.

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38107204)

It's done with delta3d / OpenSceneGraph. The trainer is probably more than 5 years old. Dynamic lighting is really not important for the training effect. The static lighting was probably calculated in 3ds max and exported.

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (2)

blackicye (760472) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107232)

A snapshot of one of BBN's other training games (VESSEL) is available on their website. While not quite on the same level as Farcry, it does a little bit better than text only :]

http://bbn.com/technology/immersive_learning_technologies/vessel [bbn.com]

This is true, and additionally most military grade simulators generally don't look like Farcry, I've worked on a $30 million dollar Lockheed flight simulator, and in the early 1990s it had probably graphics on par with microsoft flight simulator 98, or thereabouts.

I've also played with an Infantry simulator that was built on the operation flashpoint engine..fun stuff.

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (2)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107702)

What's more, more than 50% will probably be eaten up by 'overhead' costs. Or in other words, I would bet way less than 50% of the money will go into actual game development. Of course the way big companies bill, it will all look like it is going towards game development. But of the 150 to 200 dollars an hour towards development they will likely charge, the actual developers, artists (if a graphics based game... I didn't see anywhere it has to be), testers, architects, analysts, behavioural scientists, etc will likely see less than 50. Some will go towards project management, but most I bet will be for profit. With these companies, even research projects need to make a huge profit. Not saying profit is bad, but I would rather see more tax money going towards the actual work than what these traditional 500 dollar toilet seat defense contractors do.

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (4, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38106628)

Despite snarky ignorance, even during a deficit, training for various Federal employees and various research efforts continue. The world doesn't stop just because we're in a deficit (as we have been for decades).

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (4, Insightful)

anagama (611277) | more than 2 years ago | (#38106692)

Hey, at least that's ~1.25 fewer drones at $8m apiece [newsmax.com] flying around blowing up innocent people [nytimes.com] . I'm all for the US simply wasting money rather than wasting innocents and creating the conditions for more terrorism.

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38106902)

In Pakistan, the drones have killed 2000 militants and 138 civilians.

That is a fucking phenomenal record. There is no valid argument to be made about whether or not drones work well and minimize civilian casualties, the only argument is whether the US should be in Pakistan at all.

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (2, Interesting)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38106934)

I am surprised 138 of the killed were classified as civilians. I would expected everyone killed to have been named as a terrorist (afterall no one can really prove someone is not a terrorist)

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38106980)

That's a brilliant argument you have there. Mainly you've just shown your bias, and nothing more.

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38107588)

Also WMDs.

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108074)

similarly, you showed your bias too.
People just can't evaluate any possible fact when they realize that they might not be able to stand the possible outcome, can they?

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (1)

llamapater (1542875) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109702)

Well they're killed by drones so I'd assume that means the bodies would be in a location unrecoverable; they really could make up any number they danm well please. and i didn't know 1/20 was considered a good civilian attrition rate wtf is every other method pulling D:

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108414)

Maybe some of your assumptions are just plain wrong and should be reconsidered, in light of actual facts rather than guesses?

Naaaaah, cant be.

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (1)

JabrTheHut (640719) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111876)

I am surprised 138 of the killed were classified as civilians.

Under 2s I suspect.

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (3, Insightful)

hairyfish (1653411) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107186)

Define "militant". Taking up arms in your own country to defend against a foreign invader hardly justifies being murdered.

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38107574)

Yup, they're all patriotic freedom fighters of the highest moral standard. None of them would behead anyone, bomb a mosque or a crowded market.

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (1)

llamapater (1542875) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109724)

vs the us military the choice is psychological warfare or die like a dog =/

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107864)

In Pakistan, the drones have killed 2000 militants and 138 civilians.

That is a fucking phenomenal record. There is no valid argument to be made about whether or not drones work well and minimize civilian casualties, the only argument is whether the US should be in Pakistan at all.

phenomenal record of what? pakistani is full of civilian militants.

where'd you get those statistics big guy? (2)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107966)

because , as far as our government is concerned, the drone program doesnt even exist?

or are you dealing in CLASSIFIED material here? oh, then, expect a knock from the FBI to take you away any day now

Re:where'd you get those statistics big guy? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108428)

Id assume he got it from this classified website [wikipedia.org] ...

According to the Long War Journal, as of mid-2011, the drone strikes in Pakistan since 2006 had killed 2,018 militants and 138 civilians.[501] The New America Foundation stated in mid-2011 that since 2004 2,551 people have been killed in the strikes, with 80% of those militants. The Foundation stated that 95% of those killed in 2010 were militants.[498]
Im sure that info is TS/SCI, and that agents will be around to nab us all shortly.

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38107348)

True, at least we can delay the decline of the American empire into fascism to support greed and corruption, by investing in simulations.

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (1)

tryptogryphic (1985608) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108272)

I completely understand you're point and appreciate you identifying the filament of my original joke...but I simply don't feel this kind of money, on this kind of training is a priority right now given what's currently going on.

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 2 years ago | (#38112062)

Despite snarky ignorance, even during a deficit, training for various Federal employees and various research efforts continue. The world doesn't stop just because we're in a deficit (as we have been for decades).

Keep those printing presses rolling, boys and girls. And when it takes a wheel-barrow full of money to buy a loaf of bread, maybe the new Hitler will come along and set you free.

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38106806)

It's good to see one of our largest employers giving more opportunities for work in the middle of one of the worst spates of unemployment in our history, yes.

Jeez, do the "Government should spend less" people not know that in times of economic hardship, government is supposed to spend *more* to equalize the less spending done by companies/consumers? If the government decided to chop their budgets by trillions tomorrow, you'd see the rate of unemployment spike due to all those federal jobs being cut which would, in turn, cause quite a major kick in the nuts to the economy due to all those folks spending less since they haven't got a steady income.

waste is not the same thing as stimulus (2)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107970)

gimmicks, it should be spending it on something that provides actual value to someone, somewhere, hopefully that the private economy isn't producing. it would be like if the government decided to start manufacturing bottled water. 1. nobody needs any more bottled water, the shelves are overflowing with it 2. its a pointless, idiotic product in the first place, and 3. its a complete waste of taxpayer dollars. wasting money is not the same thing as stimulating the economy.

Re:waste is not the same thing as stimulus (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108782)

gimmicks, it should be spending it on something that provides actual value to someone, somewhere, hopefully that the private economy isn't producing

You should be pleased then - because this software meets both criteria. For training and research, it provides actual value to me the taxpayer. And nobody in the private sector is producing these kinds of 'games'.
 

it would be like if the government decided to start manufacturing bottled water.

No it isn't. You, like so many others here, are getting hung up on the word 'games'. These aren't 'games' like you can get commercially, they're very specialized simulators. It's more like the government buying bottled water that was specially fortified for use by soldiers in the field.

Serious games are actually useful ... (4, Informative)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#38106918)

In the middle of the greatest deficit it's good to see our government spending money on games.

Serious games are actually useful and they can save not only money but lives. One area of serious gaming are training simulators. Think beyond flight simulators. They are serious games that teach soldiers how to interact with members of a very different culture. There are serious games that present fire fighters with different types of chemical spills to see how they handle it and react to unfolding events. This particular game also has a very serious and seemingly worthwhile goal:

"The goal of the Sirius Program is to create experimental Serious Games to train participants and measure their proficiency in recognizing and mitigating the cognitive biases that commonly affect all types of intelligence analysis. The research objective is to experimentally manipulate variables in Serious Games and to determine whether and how such variables might enable player-participant recognition and persistent mitigation of cognitive biases. The Program will provide a basis for experimental repeatability and independent validation of effects, and identify critical elements of design for effective analytic training in Serious Games. The cognitive biases of interest that will be examined include: (1) Confirmation Bias, (2) Fundamental Attribution Error, (3) Bias Blind Spot, (4) Anchoring Bias, (5) Representativeness Bias, and (6) Projection Bias."
https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&tab=core&id=1793ab48906acabaf923c76486c29c0f&_cview=0 [fbo.gov]

wow, that has worked so well for us (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107982)

in iraq, in afghanistan, in the BP oil spill, in Katrina, in the Texas refinery explosions, in the West Virginia coal mine explosion, ... i can see "useful" and "saving lives" right around the corner with all this "training" and "education" we give "the warfighter" and our "men and women in uniform".

Re:Serious games are actually useful ... (1)

BaldingByMicrosoft (585534) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109440)

Wow. That is actually quite awesome. Considering that overcoming cognitive bias could be beneficial to pretty much anyone in any environment. And that lessening cognitive bias on a large scale could only be beneficial to our species and planet.

Sadly, a great many people will oppose the concept or resource allocation toward it due to cognitive bias.

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38107144)

Raytheon is part of the military industrial complex. There's no such thing as "deficit" for them.

If murder and oppression are your business and you've got connections to the government, you'll sooner see more taxes for lower/middle class citizens before you see a rejected project proposal worth millions.

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38107160)

It seems you still think in the way of the 19th/20th century... that games are "just a pointless waste of time".

Do you realize that games are the mother of all education, sports, art and entertainment?
Games are nature's method of learning something without the actual risk/cost of doing it. And fun is nature's indicator for good and useful learning. Look at puppies playing with each other: That's the origin of games.
Yes, this has been abused, as most games nowadays tend to let us improve in fields that are pretty much useless in RL. But that doesn't have to be.
Meanwhile, schools and children still think, that you should not have fun while learning, focus on drill and "learning" by heart, and look down on games as if they themselves, with their crappy 19th century "teaching" methods, would be superior to games. While in reality, one could hardly design a worse way to teach children.

So making good learning games is about the best thing one can do to improve one's own civilization. Everybody profits.
And if the military wants to take some of its giant budget, to give that to education with its ridiculously tiny budget, then I for one, even though mistrusting the military in general, welcome them with open arms and hope for the best.
And so should you.

So I have to ask: WTF is wrong with you?

games are also propaganda tools used to promote (3, Funny)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107998)

a certain ideology or a certain model of the world that may or may not actually resemble reality.

if the '21st century' wants to abandon the '19th century' notions like, say, empiricism, and the scientific method, (which actually go back hundreds of years BC) then i think the 21st century may be the last century.

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107230)

Of all the crap they blow money on at least this actually makes sense; video games have proven their worth time and again as a training aid. Are they still using that system with an M-16 and an NES? Hilarity.

Re:In the middle of the greatest deficit... (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109062)

This isn't just a "Video Game", it's an intelligence platform. It's coming from IARPA, cousin of DARPA, you know that wasteful part of the government that blew all that money on some stupid thing called "the internet". I hear it turned out to be nothing more than a series of tubes that dumptrucks get stuck on.

-Rick

hmmm.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38106086)

Well.... first!

Unconscious Conditioning? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38106108)

Although the biases they show are true problems, it almost seems like it could also do conditioning, unaware of the player's conscious mind.
Secondly, it really seems like our government is going out in all directions(such as pizza) just to avoid the money problem. They're in constant denial..

So... (5, Funny)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | more than 2 years ago | (#38106114)

They just spent $10.5 million to remake Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

Re:So... (3)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38106584)

Lets hope she's naked in this one ... it'll be worth the money then.

obligatory YTCracker (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 2 years ago | (#38106710)

"She might even steal your heart, so I might warn ya / She's so damn hot when she rocks her red fedora" - from YTCracker's verse on Carmen Sandiego Has Really Bad Morals

Re:So... (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107104)

Lets hope she's naked in this one ... it'll be worth the money then.

Where in the FUCK is Carmen Sandiego?

Re:So... (1)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109744)

an excellent *working* title ;)

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38106620)

You know you're *all* thinking this.

A suspicious looking person was at the docks. (1)

reluctantjoiner (2486248) | more than 2 years ago | (#38106706)

She said she wanted information on good rock climbing places.

Re:So... (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107256)

They had to make sure Rockapella was going to get back in on this one... ...money well spent.

Link (4, Informative)

tsa (15680) | more than 2 years ago | (#38106588)

I've never heard of Raythorn BBN Technologies and I bet you haven't either. So here. [bbn.com]

Re:Link (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 2 years ago | (#38106600)

Raytheon. Not Raythorn. *smacks head against wall* But the link is correct.

Re:Link (4, Interesting)

fwice (841569) | more than 2 years ago | (#38106672)

I've never heard of Raythorn BBN Technologies and I bet you haven't either. So here. [bbn.com]

you would have lost the bet. BBN is pretty well known for networking related developments (first packet switch/router, first machine-to-machine messaging/email) and acoustic developments (UN Assembly Hall, forensic analysis of the JFK dictabelt & the Nixon Tapes, `Boomerang').

In fact, your computer probably has a fair bit of BBN code & configuration in it. Grep for 'BBN' in /etc, see what comes up.

Re:Link (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108882)

In fact, your computer probably has a fair bit of BBN code & configuration in it. Grep for 'BBN' in /etc, see what comes up.

Apart from contents of various SSL certificates, I only get one hit: /etc/protocols (for windows users: that's a list of TCP and UDP port numbers).

You said they were famous or something?

Re:Link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38110638)

Grep for 'BBN' in /etc, see what comes up.

I can understand why you might want to, but watch out for the fstab or you'll go blind.

Re:Link (5, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 2 years ago | (#38106754)

I've never heard of Raythorn BBN Technologies and I bet you haven't either.

Bolt, Beranek and Newman basically built the first generation of the internet.
Raytheon is the single largest private employer in the state of Massachusetts.
Apparently Raytheon purchased BBN - although for a while during the dotcom crazy they were called Genuity.

Re:Link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38106896)

Well, you're right. I've never heard of Raythorn.

Raytheon, on the other hand... yeah, I've heard of them. [slashdot.org]

Re:Link (1)

thomst (1640045) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107874)

I've never heard of Raythorn BBN Technologies and I bet you haven't either. So here. [bbn.com]

Actually, I knew about Bolt, Beranek, and Newman [wikipedia.org] long before Raytheon acquired the company.

Disclaimer: I've actually studied the history of the Internet ... so I'm cheating.

No sex scenes then? (5, Interesting)

codeAlDente (1643257) | more than 2 years ago | (#38106696)

Will educational games (more serious and presumably less fun than an ordinary first person shooting rampage through a novel virtual environment) improve your ability to make decisions or track objects, analogous to the improvements documented for recreational FPS games? The US government wants to know because it's recently become clear that playing video games does improve performance. Nature Reviews Neuroscience has a nice review on the issue this week, "Brains on video games" http://www.nature.com/nrn/journal/v12/n12/abs/nrn3135.html [nature.com]

Re:No sex scenes then? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107148)

Will educational games (more serious and presumably less fun than an ordinary first person shooting rampage through a novel virtual environment) improve your ability to make decisions or track objects

I don't see why not - simulators of varying sorts and fidelity have been doing just that for decades.
 
And fun is where you find it, I loved lab time when I was in school in the Navy - the simulators were a hell of a lot more fun that lectures. Later, when I was an instructor in the same school, if I had free time, I went in and set up scenarios and ran them just to amuse myself. Some of that was just plain old school hacking, some of it was the difference between the way a gamer approaches a game and a professional approaches his profession.

Re:No sex scenes then? (1)

codeAlDente (1643257) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108480)

These games are designed for a general audience to mitigate generic types of cognitive biases. Simulators are designed to improve performance on specific tasks, but I am not aware that they improve performance on everyday tasks. I'm not saying that tinkering with simulators isn't fun, but it doesn't exactly have the same mass appeal as something like Grand Theft Auto. Thus given the requirements (general audience, improve generalized decision-making), my guess is that the bells and whistles that commercial developers use for entertainment value, such as sex scenes, will be largely absent, and this may reduce the appeal and hence the effect on improvement. Will the effects be restricted to motivated players with a good attitude who go out and look for fun? If lemons must be made into lemonade for positive results, serious games may not help much in general. And correct me if I'm wrong here, but I'm under the impression that most seamen prefer getting mashed in rifle drill (or really anything) to those lectures ;-)

Re:No sex scenes then? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108914)

Since these games aren't intended for a general audience, and are intended to train a specialized audience (read TFA), your objections don't really apply. And no, simulators aren't just for 'improving performance on specific tasks', they're also for improving general skills within a specialized field. For example, when I got to my boat, I already knew what the FCS sounded like when it powered up - having powered one up in the simulator a hundred dozen times while performing other (specialized) task training. Ditto for increased situational awareness as to the normal and abnormal sounds of the FCS operating.

And we didn't do rifle drill in Missile Fire Control school. :)

Re:No sex scenes then? (1)

codeAlDente (1643257) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109182)

From TFA: "The gaming system will focus on certain types of bias that frequently hurt effective decision-making: Confirmation bias -- the tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms preconceptions. Blind spot bias -- being less aware of one's own cognitive biases than those of others. Fundamental attribution error -- over-emphasizing personality-based or character-based effects on behavior. Anchoring bias -- relying too heavily on one trait or one piece of information. Representative bias -- judging the likelihood of a hypothesis by its resemblance to immediately available data. Projection bias -- assuming others share one's current feelings, values or thinking" Sounds pretty general to me.

Re:No sex scenes then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108092)

'Less fun' depends on the person's exposure and attitude. For example:

    Operation Flashpoint: learn the game and casual shooters become less enjoyable.
    IL-2 Sturmovik: learn the game and casual flight games become less enjoyable.
    War in the Pacific: learn the game and casual strategy games become less enjoyable.

....
A far cry from real simulation games. But more serious (and complicated) compared to casual games: MW3, BF3, Shogun2, Civ5, etc.

'Educational' games will be better for some. Not fun for most. It's a niche category.

Wouldn't you prefer a nice game a chess? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38106744)

Or maybe tic-tac-toe?

Re:Wouldn't you prefer a nice game a chess? (1)

mikael (484) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107772)

3D tic-tac-toe was popular with our family. But it was the table board version rather than a computer game. Four glass planes stacked above each other, with marbles of different colour, with enough for three players. Similar to http://www.sircollectalot.co.uk/images/uploads/space_linessmall.jpg [slashdot.org] ">"Space Lines" in the UK.

Why not hire a game developer (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38106760)

Somehow I can't help but feel this money would have been better allocated to a game developer instead of a defense contractor.

Defense contractors aren't typically know for their user friendly software, with cutting edge graphics, written by a talented team of passionate game programmers/artists using off the shelf software, built on a low maintenance proven code base, with a reasonable budget and delivered on time.

But hey what do I know.

Re:Why not hire a game developer (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 2 years ago | (#38106794)

The military couldn't deal with the DRM,

The piss test ... (2)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#38106964)

Somehow I can't help but feel this money would have been better allocated to a game developer instead of a defense contractor.

Nope, many employees at game development studios won't pass the piss test.

That is not a joke. That is reality. More than one non-gaming corporation that diversified into gaming was asked if the bought the game studio for the brand name or the talented people. If the later then they were advised not to bring certain aspects of their corporate policy to the game studio, in particular the piss test. It was explained that they would end up firing much of the value behind their investment.

Besides, what makes you think defense contractors lack genuine game developers. You may have heard all those stories from former developers who complain of companies taking advantage of naive college grads who think game development must be the coolest thing there is and work long hours for low pay and no overtime. Some of these move on to defense contractors.

Re:The piss test ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38107354)

Besides, what makes you think defense contractors lack genuine game developers. You may have heard all those stories from former developers who complain of companies taking advantage of naive college grads who think game development must be the coolest thing there is and work long hours for low pay and no overtime. Some of these move on to defense contractors.

...where they get to work long hours for *ok* pay and very little overtime! And get to deal with a Dilbert company.

Re:The piss test ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38107378)

Besides, what makes you think defense contractors lack genuine game developers. You may have heard all those stories from former developers who complain of companies taking advantage of naive college grads who think game development must be the coolest thing there is and work long hours for low pay and no overtime. Some of these move on to defense contractors.

...where they get to work long hours for *ok* pay and very little overtime! And get to deal with a Dilbert company.

They work far fewer hours. And if you think game development studios are devoid of Dilbert moments you obvious have never worked at a major studio. :-)

Serious games! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38106798)

Serious Sam [serioussamhd.com]

All this... (1)

drfreak (303147) | more than 2 years ago | (#38106828)

just to make L.A. Noire playable?

Re:All this... (1)

Unequivocal (155957) | more than 2 years ago | (#38110740)

Yeah - talk about a serious game. What a disappointment.

Why so cheap? (4, Interesting)

devleopard (317515) | more than 2 years ago | (#38106936)

Average game development costs are estimated to be around $20M-$30M

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_game_development [wikipedia.org]

..over 20M in 2010

http://www.gamespy.com/articles/108/1082176p1.html [gamespy.com]

Obviously the forces driving commercial games and games for the public sector are different, but the relative cost shouldn't be ignored.

Re:Why so cheap? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38107376)

Art, animation, audio, distribution, marketing, first-party licensing. When you reduce or outright cut these sections, what happens to the game's budget?

Looking at game teams I've been on, non-coders made up well over half the dev team, and that's not including marketing/licensing/etc.. These games obviously don't need a big budget presentation.

Re:Why so cheap? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107872)

haha.
that's not the average.
that's just the average for a big budget game that costs 20 mil.

most games cost something like 40-300 thousand. that's just going by numbers. most of them aren't hits.

Re:Why so cheap? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108116)

That's total game costs, for big budget blockbuster projects. Game *development* budgets dropped significantly during the GFC. (Which is the reason I'm no longer a game programmer after almost 20 years in the industry, I'm far too expensive compared to US college grads with loans to pay off.) What didn't drop was the budgets for marketing, IP licensing, publishing, senior management junkets, etc. In fact, those have increased recently to take up the slack from the slashing of development costs. (Why waste money on *making* a good game when you can just spend money on *telling* people it's a good game.) So for a "serious game" produced for a company that already has a defined and captive market, owns the IP, and has it's own publishing/distribution methods for it's market, $10.5m is going to cover a lot of development.
Before my previous employer went under, we were preparing a bid for another serious games project rather like this. We were looking at around $5m, which included time and money for training and research, as none of us had done anything quite like this before in addition to quite a bit of padding because we were warned that US government contractors won't take you seriously if you're too cheap. With $5m for their side of things, the budget sounds about right.

Good idea ... (4, Insightful)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 2 years ago | (#38106940)

I can use more serious games in my life. A hundred percent serious, nitty gritty political or economically serious, and even technically or ideologically serious. I don't even care if the game violates my world view. Just give me something to think about when I drop the controller and rejoin the real world. Until that happens, I will spend most of my time in literature because a good author will do more to challenge me than the typical mass media title (regardless of the media).

Re:Good idea ... (3, Informative)

Ragzouken (943900) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108188)

Deus Ex wasn't bad for that.

Re:Good idea ... (1)

lexman098 (1983842) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108574)

I'm not sure what you're looking for in a game is what other people look for in a game. Challenge is not a synonym for exhilaration.

Cognitive Bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38106972)

To be clear, these games are meant to diminish people's cognitive biases:

The gaming system will focus on certain types of bias that frequently hurt effective decision-making:
Confirmation bias -- the tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms preconceptions.
Blind spot bias -- being less aware of one's own cognitive biases than those of others.
Fundamental attribution error -- over-emphasizing personality-based or character-based effects on behavior.
Anchoring bias -- relying too heavily on one trait or one piece of information.
Representative bias -- judging the likelihood of a hypothesis by its resemblance to immediately available data.
Projection bias -- assuming others share one's current feelings, values or thinking

Which seems dubious to me, because the type of people who would get selected for sensitive government work by Human Resource Management types, are the same type of people who hold conservative and rigid views of thinking. Let's face it, if these games made somebody think that maybe having marijuana use criminalized is a bad policy decision, or that it may be detrimental to society to teach abstinence (anti-sex) education to children; then Raytheon would lose their government contracts and licenses to do business in the United States.

Trying to get rid of people's prejudices and biases is a noble idea, but having this as a U.S. GOVERNMENT exercise is as practical as trying to get rid of a Leopard's spots or trying to convert the Pope to Islam. It just aint gonna happen.

References:
http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/raytheon-gets-105m-develop-serious-games

Also used in military, finance, air traffic, etc.. (4, Interesting)

fantomas (94850) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107164)

"Serious games" is a term open for laughing at - but they are used for training in a lot of domains. Another term might be "simulation" and if you start thinking in those terms you're into pilots learning to fly 747's, air traffic controllers managing crisis situations without anybody actually dying, doctors practicing surgery, and so on. These are all out there. I think the game vs. simulation definition might boil down to a simulation with a win scenario, in which case you can bring in the military using variants of Doom and other shooters to train soldiers in team work, financial traders playing sims that improve their trading behaviour, and so forth.

In all the above, if you take data from the player, either by a sensor measuring heart rate, or just by the style of their game play, it's theorised that you can deduce emotion /cognitive biases and help people improve upon these, either by playing games in a diagnostic mode and then giving them feedback or live feedback in a didactic mode.

Currently I am working on EU project which is investigating (amongst other things) whether serious games can be used to overcome emotion bias in financial investors: http://www.xdelia.org/ [xdelia.org]

You couldn't design a lollipop for 10.5 million (1)

kawabago (551139) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107228)

This is just another money hole. Code aaaaaand flush.

Flash News: (1)

iozozturk (2005838) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107566)

And Raytheon gave $5.5M Blizzard for developing "Serious Games".

I think the 1990's have returned. (1)

JimCanuck (2474366) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107920)

Carmen San Diego anyone?

Jim

thread a perfect example of corruption in action (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108012)

look at all these people whose livelihoods depends on the defense-industrial-natl'security complex.

do you expect any of them to have a reasonable, disinterested attitude when it comes to analyzing this question?

when such a large percentage of society is corrupted by the corrupt system, then real change becomes very difficult. the body of people receiving the largesse of the greed and corruption (the nomenklatura) will continue to support it, regardless of all evidence and facts, while the people suffering under it will continue to get ridiculed and called morons. (or, if they attempt to exercise their constitutional rights to free association and speech, be beaten and gassed and shot in the head with teargas canisters)

Kiss that money goodbye... (2)

Assmasher (456699) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108056)

Unless it is a radar or a missile, Raytheon couldn't find its a** with both hands - especially regarding software (yes, I have experience dealing with them, know people they have hired to run software projects for them, et cetera...)

wow (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108294)

I'm glad to see the money go to that stalwart of games innovation... Ratheon? The missile people?

of course when the government wants to burn money, it dumps it into the military industrial complex.

There are dozens of companies more qualified.

This was done already! (1)

xQuarkDS9x (646166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108658)

This was done already in the past - it's a game called Carmen Sandiego! Think about, "International Detective theme" just says it all!

Raytheon? Really? (1)

platypusfriend (1956218) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109640)

Why is this going to foreign-intel-target Raytheon and not to an under-the-table-paid casual gaming studio spinoff/black team? Think Raytheon is subcontracting this?

All I want to know is if they're hiring :) (1)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | more than 2 years ago | (#38110572)

nt

This is going to be one expensive (1)

Hsien-Ko (1090623) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111088)

"hidden objects in picture" game.

Seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38111956)

Serious people like me like serious games.
--
Sam

Nothing new (1)

lyinhart (1352173) | more than 2 years ago | (#38112600)

Um... the linked blog post links to an official document [fbo.gov] that was first posted in March of this year.
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