Not Just Fun and Games

By Laura Spadanuta, assistant editor

The “serious games” industry continues to grow. Sandia National Laboratories has announced a prototype project called “Ground Truth,” which is an interactive game aimed at preparing incident commanders and first responders for weapons of mass destruction/weapons of mass effect (WMD/WME) attacks in cities.

Sandia’s computer scientists are working with the University of Southern California’s Gamepipe Laboratory on the game. According to Sandia, Gamepipe Laboratory has a number of students studying serious gaming tools.

Sandia computer scientist Donna Djordjevich worked on the game and says gaming is a great fit for first responders accustomed to being on the scene.

The current “Ground Truth” scenario is a chlorine spill. Users are thrown into the disaster and required to organize resources to mitigate the damage. Sandia says “Ground Truth” calls to mind the “Sim City” city-building simulation game. 

WABC7 has reported that $600,000 has already been pumped into the project. Sandia is a National Nuclear Security Administration Laboratory.

"Ground Truth" isn't the only recent "serious" homeland security training game; this year also saw the release of "Incident Commander," designed by Breakaway Ltd. and commissioned by the National Institute of Justice. Read more about it in the October print edition of Security Management.


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