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Free DARPA Software Lets Gamers Hunt Submarines 213

coondoggie writes "If you have ever wanted to go torpedo-to-torpedo with a submariner, now is your chance. The crowdsource-minded folks at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency rolled out an online game that lets players try to catch elusive, quiet enemy submarines. According to DARPA the Sonalysts Combat Simulations Dangerous Waters software was written to simulate actual evasion techniques used by submarines, challenging each player to track them successfully."
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Free DARPA Software Lets Gamers Hunt Submarines

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  • let free range armchair analysts catch things they miss

    • I was wondering what would happen if we were *really* in a war with someone like Russia, and you just THOUGHT you were playing a game, but come to find out you were really controlling some defense system, and just killed a few hundred people in the real world.

      Yes, sounds more like a movie than real life, but we aren't that many years away (in a technical possibility) from when a "citizen militia" might control expendable drones for defense.

    • I worked for years writing code for magnetometers designed to track submarines from a P3 aircraft, and IIRC, the real data we had from modern sensors and actual submarines was always classified.
      • the enemy can even participate in deciphering the data. you're not telling them what you know, because every analyst gets a tiny bit of the picture. the only problem is too many poison nodes: nodes that make positive ids, but don't report it, on purpose (instead reporting to their own sub that they're being discovered). i guess they could also flood the system with false positives

        poison nodes you could solve with redundancy: if 4/5 nodes report a positive, there is a disagreement where the poison node is fo

  • by olsmeister ( 1488789 ) on Thursday April 07, 2011 @01:47PM (#35747740)
    I was pretty good at it [] when I was a kid.
  • by _0xd0ad ( 1974778 ) on Thursday April 07, 2011 @01:47PM (#35747744) Journal

    At the end of your "mission" you're asked whether you'd like to submit your (anonymous) game to the DARPA for them to analyze your tactics and how well they worked out:

    As you complete each scenario in the simulation you will be asked if you would like to submit data about your game play to our database for analysis. The data collected doesn't contain any information about you or your computer, or anything else outside of what you did with ACTUV and how well it worked. Good or bad, please agree to submit your data for analysis so that we can see what tactics work (or don't work!).

    Who knows... somebody out there might come up with a strategy that nobody ever thought of before.

    • I couldn't find the online gaming link. Unless they donate a laptop to me, and provide for a diet so that I feel like lugging it around, then they will never know my strategy.

  • by stonecypher ( 118140 ) <stonecypher@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday April 07, 2011 @01:53PM (#35747850) Homepage Journal

    Anyone who's read Xenocide, by Orson Scott Card, is now fidgeting nervously.

    • Why? Xenocide was about a 3 intelligent species living together on a planet trying to prevent the evil humans blowing them up. Everyone knew what they were doing, most especially the captain with his finger on the trigger of the doomsday device.

      Ender's Game on the other hand, that might cause a shudder.

      • Exactly. My first thought was "Hmmm... Is this Ender's Game meets the War on Drugs?" (See: [])
      • by dwye ( 1127395 )

        Ender's Game on the other hand, that might cause a shudder.

        Or saw The Last Starfighter (IMDB= , wikipedia=

        • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

          Yea the first think I thought was Holly Last Starfighter Batman. Reminds me of a friend of mine that loved to play Red Storm Rising on his C64. We joked that he was going to have the Navy knock on his door one day.

    • That was my first thought -- "How do we know this isn't a trick like in Ender's Game?"
      • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Thursday April 07, 2011 @02:14PM (#35748286) Homepage

        That was my first thought -- "How do we know this isn't a trick like in Ender's Game?"

        Only because it's too obvious. When the government really wants people to unwittingly direct battles from afar, it releases the software under its other label, EA.

      • by Rob Riggs ( 6418 )

        That was my first thought -- "How do we know this isn't a trick like in Ender's Game?"

        I was going to say "because we have journalists covering it and would see reports in the media." But I see your point. Here in the U.S., our best news reports are on a comedy channel.

        • by rhook ( 943951 )

          Do you really believe that the government doesn't control many aspects of the media? Ever notice how there's always some high-profile celeb story constantly on the news whenever there is something going on that the government doesn't want anyone paying attention to?

          • Well, yeah. There's also always some high-profile celeb story constantly on the news whenever there *isn't* something going on. Welcome to television news. This must be your first time here.

          • by geekoid ( 135745 )

            They do not. Even when they gave money too broadcaster to have news they didn't control the news. Stop talking out your ass.

            Do they try to control the data that comes from a specific branch? yes, but that is different.

            The reason their is high profile celebs is for the same reason a celeb becomes high profile: viewers are paying attention and they get eye balls.

            Confirmation bias.

      • by Ruke ( 857276 )
        Because I'm going to crash my submarine into a cargo transport every chance I get.
        • Only the really successful at sub-hunting get hooked up to a real sub. If the simulation is good enough, you have no way of knowing for sure when they've switched you over.
      • by Yaur ( 1069446 )
        wireshark. problem solved
  • From the article: "Gamers will be virtually driving one of DARPA's Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessels (ACTUV) - basically sea-going drones DARPA wants to have built to track down real submarines."

    How long before the actual drones are carrying torpedoes (or are themselves torpedoes), and there will be armchair NAVY operators shooting at vessels from the comfort of a naval base? It has worked similarly with Predator drones.
    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      sooner better then later. If we can get the advantages of a submarine, without having to staff the submarine, that's a good thing.

    • These drones will be underwater, which means it'll be very difficult to make radio communication with them. Also you have to keep in mind that underwater tracking and evasion depends very highly upon stealth. It probably wouldn't be broadcasting anything to avoid giving away its presence.

      I find that interesting because it implies that the intelligence required to navigate the sub and track enemies will probably have to be built in to the sub's on-board computer rather than having someone control a dumb dron

  • Obligatory (Score:2, Funny)

    by mysqlrocks ( 783488 )
    In Soviet Russia, Submarines hunt you!
  • No thanks! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gmueckl ( 950314 )

    So I'd be helping them with building better weapons (even unmanned killing machines!) by playing games? No thanks!

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      Yes, it's far Superior to use old weapons that kill more people whoa rent intended target.

    • If you are a US taxpayer, you already are.
    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      Yea because nobody else is building weapons. It is a nice fantasy land you live in too bad that it isn't real.

      • by gmueckl ( 950314 )

        You're not getting it. At least *I* am not helping anyone with building better weapons. Not in my country, nor any other one. When you're playing this game and send in the results, you get involved in weapon development. I won't.

        • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

          I do get it. Thing is I want my nation to have the biggest stick. I may help to keep the real wackos under control. History has shown time and time again that when democratic nations disarm the none democratic nation decide to start wars. No one starts a war they think they can not win. What is funny is that you are doing nothing but trying to make yourself feel superior. "Look at me I am not going to help develop weapons I am so enlightened". But you pay our taxes so you are still helping to develop weapo

        • by geekoid ( 135745 )

          why not?

          Modern weapons mean fewer people die.
          Modern weapons is why instead of carpet bombing and entire city, we can target a specific building with a high rate of accuracy. If we get real good at detected and finding submarines, it will render that tactic invalid. Meaning less underwater combat.

  • by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) on Thursday April 07, 2011 @02:01PM (#35748014)

    You have been selected [] to defend the Frontier from Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada.

  • by spagthorpe ( 111133 ) on Thursday April 07, 2011 @02:09PM (#35748190)

    I wonder who shows up at your door when you get really good?

  • How about, Global Thermonuclear Submarine Warfare?
  • Just don't ask me not to say "I told you so!" when the kids that are really good at this "game" start mysteriously disappearing!
  • by goodmanj ( 234846 ) on Thursday April 07, 2011 @02:17PM (#35748350)

    The Slashdot post is about a cool game website. It has a link in it. Where does it go? Not to the game, but to Network World's article describing it. This happens ALL THE TIME, and it's is no coincidence: article authors are using Slashdot to drive traffic to their own sites. Network World in particular does this *constantly*.

    Refuse to play along. Slashdot moderators should reject articles which don't link to original source data. "Scientists publish interesting paper" should link to the Nature journal article, not to Bob's Science Blog. "Company releases new geek toy" should link to the vendor's website, not Make Slashdot an information source, not a spam factory.

    • by Ruke ( 857276 ) on Thursday April 07, 2011 @02:29PM (#35748554)
      I don't necessarily see a problem with this. Certainly there are abuses; I'll grant you that. However, I don't have a subscription to Nature, and I don't have the experience necessary to interpret Biology that "Bob" does. If the article linked has a decent analysis of the subject matter, I'd say that it's often more valuable to me than just the source data.
      • Many of us have institutional access to various journals or conference proceedings, but for those that don't, if a blog or site has a decent analysis but no link to the source from which they drew their analysis, then how can you trust anything they say? How can you critique, criticize, fact check, or investigate what they say without access to the original material? More importantly, why doesn't this worry you?

        Linking to a blog is fine, so long as there is a link to the original source as well, either in t

    • Oh, and to justify my singling out of Network World for this sort of abuse: try search the Slashdot archives for "networkworld". []

      They get about a dozen stories a week uploaded to Slashdot, most of which are just generic nerd news reports, all of which include just a single link to Network World, never a link to original source reports. "FBI Wants You To Solve Encrypted Notes From Murder" links to Network World, not the FBI. "NASA Green-lights $16.5M To Advance Future Jets" links to Network World, not to

  • by blair1q ( 305137 )

    No can do.

    The acronym isn't l33t enough.

    That other one they mention, though, the "Experimental Crowd-derived Combat-support Vehicle"? Which any normal editor would shorten to "ECDCSV", but DARPA's uber-h4xx0rs turned into "XC2V"? That's the one I want to drive into the valley of the shadow of death and fuck some charlie up with. Virtually, of course. Because if I care about its fucking acronym I'm not the type to be putting my fleshy mass in harm's way for some shit like freedom and rights and shit.

  • ...can't they pipe real time sensor data into the internet, and let the gamers directly control the countermeasures? Why have a trained, staffed military when you can just start a new "battle" online that contains real data, rather than computer made up data for once? The gamers never even need to know!

  • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Thursday April 07, 2011 @02:35PM (#35748660)
    Ok, this thing looks cool and I totally wanna try it out, but there's no way in hell I'm downloading an executable from DARPAs website and running it on my PC. I suspect what they are really testing has absolutely nothing to do with submarines.
    • by ae1294 ( 1547521 )

      Ok, this thing looks cool and I totally wanna try it out, but there's no way in hell I'm downloading an executable from DARPAs website and running it on my PC. I suspect what they are really testing has absolutely nothing to do with submarines.

      Does it run on linux?

  • Is it really so hard to post to the actual source of this type of information? Instead submitter links to networkworld... which for some reason links to the leaderboard, but not the download site. For those wondering, here's the download link: []
    • ^^^^^^^
      This. Mod up, since the summary failed to link it and the article only gives you a link that's twice-removed from the download page.

  • Shall we play a game?
  • Where's this online game again? I see a link that takes me to a link to a zip file.

    On another note, I love links inside an article to take me to other places, but if it's about one specific link, put that in the notes at the bottom or something...

  • Who looks at the high score page with only one person and goes,"HA! He can't be that tough to beat."
  • If DARPA is does this, they are not doing it for grins and giggles, they are doing it to collect data on something. So what exactly is the data that this game is intended to generate?
  • I already played this game [] in 1988 on my C64.

Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will be dear to you. -- Thomas Jefferson