Serious Games

ELECT BiLAT Virtually Trains Army Negotiators

ELECT BiLAT ScreenshotPresenting at GDC 2009, the University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) along with hybrid production studio Psychic Bunny showcased ELECT BiLAT, a 3D PC-based game environment and bilateral negotiation simulator developed the for the U.S. Army.

The software was designed to put emphasis on cultural sensitivity and was intended for use by the U.S. Army in helping to build civil societies in foreign countries. Set in an unnamed Iraqi town, ELECT BiLAT will have players work at improving local markets, strengthening the health care system, maintaining the power grid, supporting local law enforcement and cleaning up endemic corruption in the area's government. Read More...

“Students assume the role of a U.S. Army officer who needs to conduct a series of bi-lateral engagements or meetings with local leaders to achieve the mission objectives,” explains the ICT website for the project. “In one campaign the student is tasked with understanding why a U.S. built marketplace is not being used. The student must gather information on the social relationships among the characters in the scenario.”

Based on real life stories as well as information gathered from experts, ELECT BiLAT is meant to provide army trainees with an immersive and compelling learning environment to practice their skills in conducting meetings and negotiations in a specific cultural context.

The social and cultural simulation game is part of the Enhanced Learning Environments with Creative Technologies (ELECT) suite of portable PC-based training programs designed to develop real-world skills. Its technical infrastructure includes a dialogue manager, SmartBody animation technology, PsychSim social simulation system, as well as an intelligent coach and tutor who provide users with direction and in-depth feedback.

According to Game Production Services (GPS), who had a hand in creating the game’s user experience, ELECT BiLAT has already been very successful in meeting training goals. A trailer of the game can be viewed on the Psychic Bunny project page.