George Mason University’s Systems Engineering and Operation Research Department established a relationship with the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), which led to a sponsorship opportunity for the NRL and Systems Engineering and Operations Research graduate students to collaborate on a Masters Capstone project. The Systems Engineering (SE) team was charged with understanding the NRL goals as they relate to a system integration project, developing a project proposal concept, and finally executing the analysis and design. The NRL has two systems: a research and development (R&D) serious game entitled Supervisory Control Operation User Testbed (SCOUT), and a training proof-of-concept naval serious game, Fleet Integrated Test and Training Facility (FIST2FAC) Lite system.
The FIST2FAC system is a distributed training simulation, designed to train sailors for naval combat with fast attack vessels. The NRL has brought in a ‘Lite’ version of the full scale FIST2FAC which resides Ford Island, Joint Base Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The NRL’s Lite version is a smaller, more simplified system that is located in the DC Metropolitan NRL facility.
SCOUT is an experimental game designed to collect physiological data on operators to determine workloads. Such workload data can then be applied to theoretically allow users to manage more than one Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). This information can be further leveraged to adjust task workload when required, therefore ensuring that a participant/operator is not overloaded. Such research could lead to reducing the manpower required to operate autonomous vehicles.
Through a series of meetings, the SE team proposed to provide an interdisciplinary project which would involve a team of undergraduate students within the Game Design department. The project proposal specified providing a Concept of Operations (CONOPS) for the desired end state of the integrated system, a Feasibility Analysis which would investigate a path for integration and include outputs such as a System Requirement Specification and a System Design Document, recommendations for successful integration and visual representation of the integration, through the process of building a vertical slice. A vertical slice is an interactive snapshot of a longer, playable game. The vertical slice will take elements of SCOUT and FIST2FAC Lite to create a multi-screen game, which will allow the NRL to demonstrate how integration may physically look, once complete.
The team was able to accomplished these deliverables, however due to the time constraints, it was clear that there is a lot of work to be done in the future. Possible continuation efforts include utilizing the design documents to identify the appropriate integration model from the feasibility analysis and continuing with integration. Future teams could work with the SCOUT developers to redesign SCOUT so that it may be directly incorporated into FIST2FAC Lite, or create modifications to SCOUT to allow it to interface within FIST2FAC Lite. Additionally, future Game Design teams could enhance the vertical slice to incorporate actual Automatic Identification System (AIS) and terrain data, create more sophisticated behavior for the objects within the games and even extend the multi-screen game to a multi-player game with additional stations from FIST2FAC Lite. Future continuation efforts could be single disciplinary projects or interdisciplinary projects which could utilize Systems Engineering students, Game Design students and Computer Science students.