From board games to video games
It is within the framework of the development of the board game New Techno War that the project of a video game completing the reflective approach was born.
Where New Techno War allows the player to test new technologies within the framework of terrains transposed into a physical game board, Soldier’s Companion was developed to take advantage of the specificities of the digital format.
It seemed therefore appropriate to give this video game an application format that can be downloaded to a smartphone. If Soldier’s Companion presents to the player different strategic choices related to the use of new technologies in a context of armed conflict, the application explores yet another aspect of the future of military activity. As smartphones have become the “companions” of everyday life, it was decided to explore the relationship that a soldier could have with an artificial intelligence supporting him·her in his·her decision-making process.
Soldier’s Companion works on the basis of the Game Books. Concretely, a narrative situation is given to the player in the form of the text of a mission briefing. Each mission unfolds into four objectives, or micro-situations, which present choices to the player. The player must simply decide on the best option that is presented. Eeach choice guide him·her to a new objective. In addition to his·her knowledge with respect to new technologies (drone, exoskeleton, autonomous vehicle, artificial intelligence), the player is helped by a digital assistant – called “Companion” – who provides him·her with clues to detect the optimal response.
Once the mission is over, the player’s choices are evaluated and a reflection on the mission and about the individual path is presented. An additional question relating to the use of new technologies is also asked in order to gather the player’s opinions.
Games and challenges
Soldier’s Companion’s experience has three main objectives:
- Allow to discover and discuss the use of new technologies, and this more particularly in a military framework.
- Question the relationship (critical or not) that a person may have with an artificial intelligence and the advice of the latter.
- Collect (anonymously) opinions, questions, expectations or existing fears regarding the use of the new technologies present in the game.
A game above all
Thanks to fast games, Soldier’s Companion can be experienced, played, everywhere and in many different situations. Whether for civilians interested in new technologies or military personnel, in basic or advanced training, the game is a fun way to enter into the aforementioned challenges.
Although Soldier’s Companion allows to test soldier’s reactions and decisions about potential use of futuristic but possible systems, and even if the application also collects the opinions of the players, this game preserves above all its primary quality: to be playful.
Obtaining a perfect score for each objective is not easy and it will take tenacity to grasp the subtleties of each mission.
But is this so different from real life situations?