06 Aug 2019

DSTL works with videogame industry to create wargaming tools

DSTL has partnered with the gaming industry to create advanced wargaming technology to create battlefield simulators.

The DSTL is developing wargaming technology that aids decision making and realistically recreates battlefield scenarios. Through working with the gaming industry they aim to make simulators that recreate combat strategy and are easy to learn and operate.

A British gaming company, Slitherine, has secured a contract and the Royal Navy is currently trialling the games for educational use. Current analytical technology is not as user-friendly as video games and requires prior experience to operate, with usability seen as less of a priority.

Principal Analyst at DSTL Nick said: “We work on computer-assisted wargaming and manual wargaming. 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.”

“Of course there are things we can’t use these for. Our own simulation modelling, as well as more traditional manual wargaming, is still vital. It’s just another tool for the job.”

“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.”

“We’re always looking for things to give us a wargaming edge. These games help us to think more creatively around issues.”

DSTL is looking to recruit new creatives to work with the software. The games will be less focused on algorithms and more on developing user-friendly but accurate simulators.

Slitherine has previously created popular games such as Command and Flashpoint Campaigns. The Epsom-based gaming company will work with the £1.5million contract over a two-year period and enhance the DSTL technology to create realistic simulations of battlefields, weapons, and vehicles.

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