Virtual MMO Tackles Real-Life Military Dilemma

by Matt Miller on May 11, 2011 at 08:17 AM

MMOWGLI is a new game that will encourage players to help solve the strategic military dilemma presented by Somali pirates.

A fascinating new project is leveraging the creative thinking and group problem solving skills inherent to MMOs to help the military resolve the complicated issue of confronting piracy halfway across the world.

MMOWGLI is a project designed by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), an organization that "coordinates, executes, and promotes the science and technology programs of the United States Navy and Marine Corps," according to the organization's website. The new project is built to help the ONR confront strategic dilemmas that might be aided by the group think elements that let MMO players confront challenging situations in more traditional games like World of Warcraft.

"We hope MMOWGLI will help us to understand what happens when your insights are combined with the observations and actions of another player – will that fusion result in a game-changing idea or solution, or will the MMOWGLI platform teach us something about our traditional thought processes?" says Dr. Larry Schutte, director of innovation for the ONR.

MMOWGLI will launch on May 16 with 1000 players that mix both military and civilian personnel. The game will have players control either one of a group of pirates or participate in an anti-pirate task force. Activities include everything from securing shipping routes to implementing hostage rescues.

One of the coolest things about the project is its flexibility. While the game will initially launch around the pirate dilemma, the ONR can alter the game to confront different strategic dilemmas in the future.

Have these people read Ender's Game? Because, seriously.

[via Fast Company]