US Navy Launches MMO Wargame To Help Brainstorm Energy Solutions

By May 23, 2012

On Tuesday, The Navy Energy and Environmental Readiness Division, along with the Office of Naval Research, will be launching a Massive Multiplayer Online Wargame Leveraging the Internet (MMOWGLI). The game encourages players to imagine a very near future where military operations are limited and prioritized by the diminishing fuel supply, and energy consumption must be taken into consideration before any other factor when launching vital military operations.

The video below uses faux future news casts to set up the premise of the game, which takes place in the year 2022. News anchors tell the tale of a Navy that consistently arrives late on the scene – a delay that has repeatedly cost lives. The Navy project hopes to tap into both civilian and military knowledge by allowing everyone to participate in the program once it opens this week.

“Unless we act, the operational readiness of today’s Navy could turn into operational vulnerabilities for tomorrow’s Navy,” reads a press pdf for the game. “We need YOUR IDEAS: Everything you know about energy – from your strategies at home to your workplace conversations, from your professional knowledge to your wildest imaginings – could add up to the energy equation that will help keep our Navy the strongest in the world.”

The game works on a points system, where each player is presented with a particular situation for which they must come up with innovative and/or defense solutions. Solutions for either category can be typed out in free-form and are evaluated or commented upon by other users. The original poster can earn points whenever someone responds to their chain of ideas, which can come in the form of additions, counters, redirects, and even requests for individuals with further expertise to take action.

The website describes the posting system as cards, though it seems more like a visual forum that awards points for participation. Instructions for the game refer to the process as “brainstorm[ing] ideas through card play.”

Either way, it’s good to see at least certain parts of the military are beginning to realize that our country’s future shouldn’t be about figuring out how to grab as much oil as we can, but to innovate in ways that will allow us to go without it. If you’re interested in playing the game (and helping to make a change) be sure to sign up for the MMOWGLI event, which will run for this week.

Corey Cummings

Corey is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin in Madison where he received degrees in English and Creative Writing. He currently lives in Chicago and enjoys alternately obsessing over video games that aren't out yet and crazy gadgets he can't afford.