Search tactics can vary widely depending on factors such as geography, the target and the forces and equipment available

Competition to design web-based military search game

A competition is calling for web-based game designs to help MoD scientists research new ways to carry out searches in wide areas.

Conducting a search of an area is a common task for military forces, but a variety of factors such as geography, characteristics and behaviour of the target and the forces and equipment available to the searcher can all contribute to the effectiveness of the search.

In order to investigate ways to overcome these issues, researchers at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) are running a public competition with £27,000 worth of funding available to create a web-based game in which search scenarios can be established and played out.

Lt Jeannine Cooley, of the Royal Navy, who works alongside Dstl scientists developing new tactics at the Maritime Warfare Centre, said: “Search is an extremely complex task and a search plan or strategy that functions well in one scenario may not work in another. For example a lost hiker would probably react differently to the sound of an approaching helicopter than a fugitive on the run!”

Once the competition is complete and the best game has been selected, the scientists at Dstl plan to eventually make the game publicly accessible online so that they can analyse the methods used by those playing the game to inform future approaches to search.

Dr Martin Fowler, chief scientific advisor at the Maritime Warfare Centre, said: “In supporting this initiative, our aim is that this competition will provide tools to aid us in the further study of search tactics and problems.

“While we are coming at this from a defence perspective there are clear implications for civilian applications. So by opening the competition up to the public we hope to get some really innovative and exciting ideas to help us.”

The competition is open until 15 August and more information on the Dstl competition is available here.

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