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Game CEO Sees "Gamification" of Work and Military 115

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An anonymous reader writes "The CEO of Unity discusses 'gamification' — applying game design and technology to real-world applications beyond 'gamespace.' The military is using game design theory for some training programs — not just 'the 3-D, realistic, virtual world experiences, but also the built-in use of frustration and reward.' (And similar training packages were adopted by Unilever, the giant corporation which owns Ben & Jerry's ice cream.) Medical professionals have licensed a 'Google Earth for the human body,' and game design is also being used to build tax software. ('It has to be the most boring field, but I mean that's the point. You can make it slightly challenging and give people little reasons to play these tax tools — beyond, you know, not going to prison!') While some companies conduct team-building exercises using Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, others use game technology to standardize their in-house employee training programs. The interviewer adds, 'I know I'd feel better about job training if it felt more like killing zombies.'"
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Game CEO Sees "Gamification" of Work and Military

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  • Just sayin..

  • Unfortunately ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PPH (736903) on Monday April 05, 2010 @06:24PM (#31742134)
    ... the military has yet to implement the "Game over. Play again?" feature.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by davester666 (731373)

      Hello? Does Iraq ring any bells?

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        That was more of a sequel than the same game again.

        • by LoRdTAW (99712)

          Actually it was a new game played by GWB because Dan Quail kept being a dick, hitting the player start button during the continue timer and GHWB didn't have a chance to put a quarter in the machine.

      • *woosh*

      • by PPH (736903)

        OK, so the Joint Chiefs of Staff version has it*. So how does the average ground-pounder upgrade?

        *Evidently, that version lets you edit the top scores afterwards as well.

        • Duh, it's one of the rare games where you start out as a piece on the board, but if you don't get knocked out of the game and you have some intelligence or know the right people, you can advance to actually being a player instead...

      • by h00manist (800926)
        If Iraq is over, who won? If there's no clear answer to that question, I would say it's not over.
        • It's still going because both sides still have men left. It ends when one side runs out of them. Have you never played a video game?

    • With there bots it's like that but if mess up real bad you can get a very real court martial.

    • by Khashishi (775369)

      because the game is never over

    • by moj0joj0 (1119977)
      VBS2 has this feature ... The OP obviously was trying to be cute about the very real life and death roles our uniformed citizens face, but the truth is that with proper use the virtual combat arena the soldier increases his situational awareness by between 8 to 14% (Paul Roman, Associate Professor, Royal Military College of Canada). By training his "mental muscle memory" to be aware of sounds and reactions, his chance survival in a very hostile world increases measurably. Studies have shown substantial im
    • by mjwx (966435)

      ... the military has yet to implement the "Game over. Play again?" feature.

      Yes they have, when the general loses the battle they just send him more money and soldiers. It's been this way since 1965.

      Oh, you mean for you.

    • by Nathrael (1251426)
      *points at UAVs*
  • by sznupi (719324) on Monday April 05, 2010 @06:27PM (#31742156) Homepage

    You know, from recent news, those speaking "Come on buddy all you gotta do is pick up a weapon", "Well it's their fault for bringing their kids into a battle", and apparently enjoying it (laughing at the least)

    Seriously, some things shouldn't be made closer to computer games.

    • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Monday April 05, 2010 @06:45PM (#31742424) Journal

      Exactly. I think the problem essentially lies in that "gamification" does the opposite of what one should feel during the process.

      For example, on April Fools, we hid one of newest coworkers files somewhere on the network that he had access to and told him to go searching for it. He semi-enjoyed the process, but the benefit was that he learned more about the current heirarchy and server structure at our company while doing so. It didn't feel like work because we made it a game. Turned that boring task into a game and it made it fun.

      Inversely, like your example, people who would feel the weight of attrocities they commit became completely desensatized to that environment, and in the end have appalling effects. (I don't know for sure if those soldiers played video games, but I wouldn't at all be surprised).

      The biggest shame is that its the military who essentially jump-started the whole gamification process. Pilots regularily went through computer simulators long before warfare tactic games were released. So how do you stop the military from doing something they helped invent?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        You can stop the military by cutting its funding, which will never happen.

        The United States will implode long before it takes any steps to fix itself.

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by joshier (957448)
          Perhaps the solution is to make war a financially poor choice to pick instead of say, transportation infrastructure? (Trains, electric cars etc)
          • Perhaps the solution is to make war a financially poor choice to pick instead of say, transportation infrastructure?

            Unless you are a weapons manufacturer, I'm quite sure war already is a disastrous financial choice.

          • The best way to make war a financially poor choice is to be defeated.

            You can apply this strategy to your enemies, under the theory that if you defeat them soundly enough it will be a financially poor choice on their part to continue fighting you rather than investing in, say, transportation infrastructure. E.g. WWI.

            You can apply this strategy to yourself, under the theory that if people think you’re getting defeated they’ll quickly lose heart and decide that the war isn’t worth it and you

      • by astar (203020)

        I have heard that the people who created the current gaming industry got their spurs doing sims for the military. and a big issue for the us military has traditionally been getting the grunts to fire their weapons at real people. and here i think back to my bayonet training.

      • by Bakkster (1529253)

        Inversely, like your example, people who would feel the weight of attrocities they commit became completely desensatized to that environment, and in the end have appalling effects. (I don't know for sure if those soldiers played video games, but I wouldn't at all be surprised).

        Alternatively, couldn't game design be used to better train the pilots to act properly before they get into tense situations? For example, to learn Geneva Convention rules and internalize them, rather than depending on gut feelings of morality.

        There's nothing wrong with being desensitized to death, per-se. It's important to ones psyche as a first responder, medical professional, or when your life is threatened and the only way to preserve it is to kill the other person first. It's only when one is desen

    • Seriously, some things shouldn't be made closer to computer games.

      Indeed. In fact many think they should be closer to outdoor sports like hunting.

      "IT'S COMIN' RIGHT FOR US!!!"

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I think the absolute perfect example of this is Call of Duty. I remember playing the AC130 gunship level in Modern Warfare (the first one) and thinking to myself how scarily accurate this is to real life. I knew I was playing a game and that those little spots of light weren't actually real people I was killing, but I have to admit, it must look like a game to the soldier watching the monitor on the real gunship.

      And I think that that's the next phase in technology that the military will take/is already taki

      • by sznupi (719324)

        Don't wait too eagerly for the economic scenario in the way you imagine, ours vs. their robots. In case of adversaries capable of waging large scale war based mostly on robots...open war likely won't happen, IMHO. It would be too risky, too destructive (and anyway if it would happen, using human resources eventually would be only, well, economical); yes, another cold war, another MAD. Economic, in a way, in the end.

        Periphery wars by proxy will of course still take place, but without great number of newest t

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Alex Belits (437) *

        P.S. This is the first step to a completely economic style of warfare. When humans no longer fight and it's just the U.S. robots vs. the Chinese robots, then will war become completely pointless and entirely about economics. I think science fiction predicted another one.

        No.

        Everyone will quickly discover that when both sides have easily replaceable robots and limited amount of resources, defending against enemy robots is less efficient than spending same resources to attack enemy's homeland and civilian population, destroying them faster than enemy destroys you.

        We will be lucky if amount of expected destruction (and politicians' understanding of it) will be sufficient for MAD-like situation when even best outcome after the first strike is so much worse than the current situ

    • by Keill (920526)

      Using lessons from game theory /= making something into a game.

      Game theory is all about psychology - the 'how' and 'why' of games - it's not about 'what' games actually are. (This is a distinction which most people don't seem to appreciate, unfortunately).

      Game theory can therefore be applied to almost anything we do that uses similar applications of psychology, which as it happens, is almost 'everything'...

    • by bkr1_2k (237627)

      Really? This is no different now than it was in any other war. The lines "How do you shoot women and children?... It's easy, you just don't lead them as much." didn't just come out of thin air or some novelist's mind. People have always treated war that way. It's a coping mechanism for doing the most horrible things a human can do.

    • You know, from recent news, those speaking "Come on buddy all you gotta do is pick up a weapon", "Well it's their fault for bringing their kids into a battle", and apparently enjoying it (laughing at the least)

      I'll take insensitive soldiers who laugh while killing people that they think (incorrectly) are attacking their fellow solders over solders that rape and murder women and children, knowing full well what they're doing. That is the way it has been done for centuries, from vikings to normans to the i

  • by CorporateSuit (1319461) on Monday April 05, 2010 @06:28PM (#31742184)

    I know I'd feel better about job training if it felt more like killing zombies.

    Sadly, job training is about CREATING zombies, not about killing them.

    • I've wondered though.
      Many games manage to get people to do long, boring monotonous tasks for minuscule rewards for incredible portions of their lives- Many MMO's come to mind.
      And people do this of their own free will in their time off.

      Could a company be structured on something like a game quest system.
      Many of the elements are there...
      Might people respond better in a company where their work is tracked more like in a game?
      I know that particularly slow, dull, mindless tasks that seem to be a part of every job

  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Monday April 05, 2010 @06:29PM (#31742192)
    'I know I'd feel better about job training if it felt more like killing zombies.'

    I know I'd feel better about customer service if it allowed for ganking newbs.
    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by Kral_Blbec (1201285)
      If you actually watch the video, its pretty hard to find a lot of fault with the heli crew. There were known combatants in the area and the way the guys on the ground were huddled at the corner looked exactly like preparations to fire what looked exactly like an RPG. They requested permission to engage (both times) and ceased fire when the targets were down. They did just what they were trained and expected to do. Its easy to sit back and blame them for a bad shoot, but in their position you would (or shoul
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        If you actually watch the video, its pretty hard to find a lot of fault with the heli crew.

        Wrong. Game Over. Read the transcript.

        It was clearly Murder. [collateralmurder.com]

      • by nedlohs (1335013)

        Are you serious?

        What was the justification for firing on the clearly unarmed people and vehicle (note no mention of a weapon in the chatter at all, certainly none when requesting permission to kill 'em) assisting a clearly unarmed (as evidenced by them not shooting him as he lay on the ground wounded earlier) wounded person?

        • They were not clearly unarmed. They were carrying weapons, including what appeared (and was being handled like) an RPG. The fact that you claim no weapons were mentioned in the chatter proves you didn't watch it, as there was frequent mention.
          • by nedlohs (1335013)

            No, the people they shot at initially did that.

            The people in the damn car and the wounded guy clearly didn't, and I already gave the evidence from the words of the gun operator in the chatter in the post above you clearly didn't bother reading.

            • If you were the driver for an insurgent operation and saw one of your comrades wounded would you carry your weapons when you jumped out to carry him into the van? They were assisting the (mistaken) enemy, and that classified them as enemies, regardless of the presence of weapons. Shooting a gun is only one way to be hostile.
              • by nedlohs (1335013)

                It doesn't matter because that's all completely irrelevant.

                The wounded guy was classified as an enemy (they had after all just shot at him) but the gun operator didn't shoot him (again) because the rules didn't allow him to as he didn't have a weapon at the time.

                So clearly being an "enemy" is not a sufficient reason to shoot at them.

                So he didn't shoot the wounded guy because he didn't have a weapon. Suddenly when there's someone else near him who also doesn't have a weapon it's OK to shoot him?

                It makes no s

      • by Tom (822) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @09:05AM (#31746986) Homepage Journal

        If you actually watch the video, its pretty hard to find a lot of fault with the heli crew.

        While I don't jump on the sensationalism either, this is too far off the other end.

        There was a guy apparently carrying something at his side. I've not done any slow-motion or such, just watched the video, so I figure I had the same view as the guys in the heli. I would not have said that that's a weapon. However, did you notice how the communication went? It went straight from "could be a gun" to "we have individuals with weapons" to "AK47". At that point, someone in the chain of command should've said "uh, you're looking through a shitty b/w camera and you can make out the model of the gun?" and wondered whether things on the ground really are that way. What should have happened - and didn't - was confirmation. "Are you certain they have guns?"

        I didn't see anything that was even close to looking like an RPG, either. Not to mention that an RPG is an unguided weapon and pretty much sucks against moving helicopters (if they were hovering, that'd be another story).

        The good Samaritan with his kids was well intentioned, but didn't think it through either. There obviously had just been an attack and with two helicopters flying around, it doesn't take much to figure that the place is still being watched. Not that he deserved to die because of it, but it was unwise to put himself and his family in that position.

        Yes, that's easy to say from 20,000 miles away. In that situation, to him on the ground, things may have looked different. We'll never know. He may have thought there was a shooting, and the helicopters have secured the area. It had been a few minutes since the last shot had been fired.

        And, once again, there was - to me - no reason in the video why they opened fire on the bus. Even before someone had left the car, the chatter was already "they're going to recover bodies and weapons". Then they proceeded to load the injured guy into the car, and at that point the helicopters opened fire. No weapon in sight.

        Yes "don't bring your children to battle" is a nice saying. Except that this happened inside a city. You know, the place where civilians happen to live.

        Now, I can understand that you'd rather stand on trial for shooting an innocent civilian than discovering too late that he's not and be killed yourself. Perfectly understandable, human, everything.

        What I don't get is:
        a) the total lack of critical thinking. Even when everyone was dead and one wounded guy tried to crawl away, it appeared that the gunner actually wanted him to reach for a weapon so he could shoot him. Likewise, at no point did anyone in the chatter wonder whether the guys in the bus could be just civilians trying to bring someone who is seriously injured to the nearest hospital.

        b) the lack of protocol and procedure in the chain of command to deal with situations like this. After years of operating in urban warfare, they should've done some homework. A lot of things you and I carry with us when we're shopping, or moving, or just bringing some stuff to a friend, can look like a weapon from far away. A lot of perfectly innocent behaviour can look not so from far away. Aparently, the official non-policy is "whatever the guys at the scene think they see, that's gotta be it".

        c) why the cover-up? We all hate it when we make mistakes, but covering it up only raises the suspicion that you have something to hide.

        • They fired on the van because it was presumed to be insurgents trying to escape with a comrade. That would have been a valid shoot, notice how they requested permission to fire. The guy begging permission to shoot wasnt because he wanted to kill someone, but because the targets were escaping and he had little time left.
          Also, let me point out that after arriving on the scene they DID find weapons with the group, just not as many as they had expected. The model is easy to assume because what else would they
          • PS. They were shot with a 30mm cannon. Those make a much different hole than a m16 or ak47 and anyone who saw it should have known that it was made by a MUCH bigger gun. That leaves the heli to have been the shooters. Not smart to put yourself between a heli and its targets, even if you are only trying to bring it to the nearest hospital.
            They HAD followed procedure. They identified the targets (although incorrectly) and requested permission from command. You want to send a messenger down in person to check
            • by Tom (822)

              anyone who saw it should have known that it was made by a MUCH bigger gun

              I don't know, I haven't seen the bullet wounds, and I have no idea if they teach bullet wounds in Iraqi schools. If you are a civilian, who probably doesn't even know the difference between 30mm and 7.62mm except that one sounds larger, are you sure you could, when you come about a bunch of bodies and a guy bleeding profoundly, identify the type of wound? It's easy to blame people from afar, with a birds-eye view of the situation.

              Had they not been pointing something around the corner, they would have likely been left alone. Do you poke your grocery bag around corners?

              In a city where someone is shot every few hours, I may look carefully around a

              • don't know, I haven't seen the bullet wounds, and I have no idea if they teach bullet wounds in Iraqi schools. If you are a civilian, who probably doesn't even know the difference between 30mm and 7.62mm except that one sounds larger, are you sure you could, when you come about a bunch of bodies and a guy bleeding profoundly, identify the type of wound?

                To start with, the rounds from the heli are over three times as large as a 7.62 round. That is a huge difference. Not everyone might be able to tell the difference, but those living in a warzone probably have seen their share of combat wounds and should know that something wasnt caused just by small arms.

                .In a city where someone is shot every few hours, I may look carefully around a corner before going around it, yeah.

                Going back a bit, in a city where someone is shot every few hours, its not smart to put yourself in the shooting zone. As for peeking around, you wouldn't huddle there in a group and point something aroun

                • by Tom (822)

                  To start with, the rounds from the heli are over three times as large as a 7.62 round. That is a huge difference. Not everyone might be able to tell the difference, but those living in a warzone probably have seen their share of combat wounds and should know that something wasnt caused just by small arms.

                  Since he was still moving, it could've been a grazing shot, for example. Can you even survive a direct hit from a 30mm? Wouldn't hydrostatic shock alone kill you?

                  As I said: We don't know. We can speculate all we want, we're not likely to find out what the van driver really thought.

                  its not smart to put yourself in the shooting zone.

                  Sorry, but this is so much off the scale, I don't know what the fuck to say.

                  These people didn't put themselves in a shooting zone. The shooting zone was put up around them. They happened to live there. That is the one comment in t

          • by Tom (822)

            They fired on the van because it was presumed to be insurgents trying to escape with a comrade.

            Presumed insurgents, potentially escaping with a severely wounded, supposed comrade. That's a lot of "maybe" and "ifs" there. Besides, a wounded enemy is more of a burden to your enemy than a dead one, so please give me one justification, military or not, to open fire.

            Also, let me point out that after arriving on the scene they DID find weapons with the group, just not as many as they had expected.

            As you point out, the AK47 is so common in that area of the world, that you can shoot a 70 year old grandfather in his sleep and chance are, you'll find an AK47 in his bedroom. When I was in Egypt a couple years ago on holidays, one such gran

            • 1)If the original presumption that the first group were insurgents was correct (which it really did appear to have been at the time) then the presumption that the van was also is a valid logical jump.

              2)They did find weapons with the group after the fact. That means that the gunner HAD correctly identified them.

              3)It doesn't have to be mentioned in the chatter. I just picked those out of the blue to show that there are many other possible targets other than the heli itself.

              I dont deny that mistakes
              • by Tom (822)

                I dont deny that mistakes were made, and I'd wager those involved still have nightmares about what they did. To crucify the soldiers and portray them as gun happy rambos is an intentional misrepresentation of what happened though.

                Then we agree on everything but minor details :-)

    • That they're treating civilians as targets is clear, but where do they say it's like in a game?

      It seems to me like there are more effective ways to dehumanize opponents and convince someone that the only good arabs are dead arabs, without video games. You just need half the country and their idiot ministers bleating about how Islam is the work of the devil, they're all terrorists, they're all hell-bent on destroying Christianity and the West, they all hate us for our freedoms, they all want Sharia courts in

  • by cosm (1072588)
    Does this mean the frequency of interoffice teabagging will be on the rise?
  • If modeling things using a decent interface constitutes gaming, though it does not.
    "Game design can be such a pure interaction. I mean, many games are just interaction."
    What a lame quote. Office is a great game, think of all the interaction!
  • by drolli (522659) on Monday April 05, 2010 @07:04PM (#31742624) Journal
    We should also teach physics in first Person shooters. With Schroedinger Zombie-cats which are only half alive and Maxwell deamons. Well. Maybe not.
  • Man with hammer sees nail.

  • I found a 1 UP mushroom at work.

    It didn't taste that good.

    In fact, I don't feel so good right now.

  • I think it's called a irs audit and it can cost you A Lot quarters to play.

  • Gamification is not a word. More importantly, depending if you use a hard 'a' sound (as in play) or a soft one (as in plan), you get a completely different view of what it's actually supposed to mean. Personally I like the soft a version instead.

    PS If you don't understand, read more 40's detective fiction and pay attention to the slang.

  • That's the new buzzword in training. VIE's.

    However this has been going on for a long time.

    The first real problem is that you need to be working with objectives that translate into games and simulations.

    Building a game or simulation when the objectives don't fit creates horrible, horrible games.

    The second real problem is the proprietary nature of the existing toolsets.

    I predict with browser-based 3d (web3D/canvas) along with easy client-server communication (jQuery/webSockets/json), the floodgates will open.

  • Thats a scary thought...better be careful about who we get to play Peter.

  • http://slashdot.org/~peterofoz/journal/230553 [slashdot.org] I'm frustrated. Why can't business apps be designed to have GUI's that are as slick and clean as a game? One issue to overcome is the screen real estate taken up by graphics and chrome. Also, business apps design should include a configuration management tool; hand editing web.config files should be in the past.
    • At least partly to blame is the legacy systems that force you to add new systems that are compatible with the old, or which can easily transition from the old to the new... preferably without your staff having to learn a totally different system.

      The compatibility issue limits you. The transition limits you. The staff really limits you.

    • I've been following some Game UI's. So far I like Facebook Mafia Wars as its all HTML/Javascript and good but simple artwork. The others have been either custom graphics/Java work or Flash based.

      Its been interesting to watch the incremental improvements as they streamline the game work flow. It's all point and click so I'm not sure how well this would translate to a business UI.

      Now i just need a paying customer to fund some great UI development for an internal business app. But it has to be lean enough

  • It's all unethical. Until the other guys are robots too, then it's OK. Until scientists invent robot with souls; then it'll go back to being unethical.
  • That wikileaks video has apparently been a bigger PR disaster for video games more than the US fucking military.

    So much so that when SLASHDOT USERS see that the military might use video games, their concern is for the corrupting influence of video games rather than the corrupting influence of war.

    The behavior of those pilots does not indicate the influence of video games but rather policy.

    Men are capable of evil fucking things, with or without the assistance of video games, ak-47s, or predator drones. Some

  • Philosopher and media theorist McKenzie "Ken" Wark addresses a large aspect of this issue of gaming as subversive work and mis(re)appropriation of labor in gamespace to the application of capitalist/vectoralist interests in his recent work Gamer Theory [futureofthebook.org] (online interactive book).

    The Video Game Monologues [youtube.com] project does a reasonable job explaining some of this, put to animation.

  • That was really awesome game http://www.bankruptcyattorneyincalifornia.com/ [bankruptcy...fornia.com]
  • This is not the gamification that seems in vogue betwen game dev's.

    The one that is too popular, is the use of "MMORPG" adiction to everything. Give tiny rewards for completing boring task, to train people to LIKE to grind. And it works. Imagine a framework around your work, where you get and complete quest (task) and get XP for these quest, and level up, and stuff like that.

  • Anyone remember the movie Toys [imdb.com] ?

  • "Typing of the Dead" anyone?

  • Sci-Fi got pieces of this right decades ago.

    I nailed it down for friends 10 years ago.

    Just as obvious as the neuromancer interface wasn't going to work.

The reason why worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work.

Working...