Magazine article National Defense

Software Helps Assess the 'Training Value' of Games

Magazine article National Defense

Software Helps Assess the 'Training Value' of Games

Article excerpt

Measuring the training value of a videogame often has been an improvised endeavor, where engineers and programmers create their own--often not credible--assessment tools.

Web-based programs now are being introduced to collect, analyze and share game data.

Metrics Element lets users gather any type of information that can be measured in a game, and present it in any desired format, says Larry Mellon, vice president of engineering and chief architect for Emergent Game Technologies, based in Calabasas, Calif.

Currently, games are evaluated by dropping massive amounts of data into "terabyte warehouses" and mining the data to figure out what it means, he says.

That system is proving futile as games are becoming hugely complex, he says. "World of Warcraft," for example, has 7 million people playing worldwide. When things go wrong, simply collecting the information isn't sufficient for understanding what's causing the problems, says Mellon.

"What we've done with our metrics system is allow people to go into the application code directly and drop in a probe that describes what they're trying to measure," says Mellon. …

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