Explore: Tower Defense

Category: Government

Company: Naval Service Warfare Center Dahlgren Division

Description: Explore: Tower Defense allows you to visualize platforms & systems interactions to determine ideal defensive configurations.

Skills and Ideas Taught: Tower Defense is a single player game that encourages players to Explore the complexities of kill chain management while providing immediate visual feedback to players, enabling them to quickly and accurately develop mental models of complex systems and military warfare tactics. As players work through a defense plan against multiple waves of incoming threats, they must decide the best configuration of each of the necessary killchain components- radars, interceptors, and communications towers. The player is given free rein to experiment with different combinations of allocations to determine how best to defend against incoming threats while working within a limited budget.

Goal: The goal of Explore: Tower Defense is to identify the most advantageous combination of radars, interceptors, and communication towers to defend against several waves of incoming threats. Within each scenario, the player can choose from a variety of pre-determined locations within the scene where they are able to place any of the available platforms. They must then decide which arrangement and types of towers will best suit each wave of threats they’re contending with. Additionally, the player is constrained by a budget, with each of the platforms they select cost varying amounts, and they must use these resources wisely to find optimal allocations of platforms. Like with real world scenarios, there is no guarantee for success; rather, the player must make decisions and customize their kill-chain in a way that will give them the best odds with their budget to limit casualties with each wave.

Primary Audience: US Military personnel 18+, particularly operators in training.

Assessment Approach: Explore: Tower Defense is designed to teach and measure three progressive learning objectives: 1. How the available platforms interact with each other and the environment in order to form a kill-chain 2. How to increase your odds of a successful defense based upon your configuration of platforms 3. How to optimize the use of your available budget as you determine which platforms to purchase to construct your kill-chain. Explicitly, the player’s success in the game is presented to them at the end of each wave and the end of all the game’s waves. The player receives statistics at this time outlining how many casualties were caused as a result of their platform placement and how much of their budget was expended.

Game Engine: Unity

Operating System: Windows 10