wargamers to real war

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wargamers to real war

Postby colleen88 » Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:36 pm

can you be a good commander when you are a good war player in video war games and do the call in real war?
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Re: wargamers to real war

Postby BlueSteelAUS » Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:37 pm

what are you asking?

are you asking if being a commander in a war game and you make a judgement call
if you could make that same judgement call in a real war.
so are the war games where you have to give commands actually training you to be a good commander making the right calls for in a real war..

its rally a hard call, as no one really knows if anything is the right call in a real war.
compared to computer games they are just that games. with programmed outcomes, so no matter what you choose the AI has a built in response
if your playing against other players though then it also depends on how well the other commanders know your commanding orders situation history. knowing enough about another players strategies you can nearly always play according to what you perceive as a weakness

in the old wars generals/commanders used to study the play book of their opponents just like sports team coaches do today. and try to make an educated guess as to what the other side is going to do.

in a real war these days its all about numbers. and there usually are no real winners in a real war these days , yes you may win the battle and still loose the war, or even another war that your not even aware that you are fighting.


however if you're talking like because your pointing a gun at someone in a game as opposed to real life.. would you pull the trigger. that's a psychology question and has been asked for many years and has had both answers yes, and no. it all depends on the individual's sense of self and their confidence, the situation, and the ramifications.

I personally don't believe that games can make anyone do anything in real life that they aren't already able to perform that action anyway. Most people can do these actions in games because they are just that games, it doesn't mean that they are being programmed into being killers, commanders. yes it gives them some skills but the intent and drive already has to be there

is that a messy enough answer for you. cause i found the question rather messy and tried to answer it (in my opinion) the best way that i could)
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Re: wargamers to real war

Postby Colombo » Wed Aug 13, 2014 5:22 pm

I don't think that this is messy or complicated at all!


If we abstract from personal magic and effect on morale etc, I think we can safely assume, that training in safe environment could prepare you better for war situation then not training at all.

Wargaming evolved from model game that served as tool to help leaders fight. It helped analyze battlefield, get the effect of terrain, find out the good positions for artillery and how to approach one if enemy set them in good position. Studying past situations and reactions. Napoleon found it quite important as many other leaders. Even Wehrmacht etc. studied this. For such complicated thing as artillery, it is quite important (just imagine what they had to compute before firing a shot semi-accurately).

There is no reason to think that if transformed into computer, it should behave differently. On the higher form of abstraction: You are just teaching your brain the model of how particular piece of reality works.

The difference is:
Type of model you are learning. Not many games have accurate enough model of reality. They can teach you something about strategic thinking. But quite a lot of experiences don't translate well. Just try to play Go after you have played number of games in Chess.
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Re: wargamers to real war

Postby YetiChow » Thu Aug 14, 2014 5:19 am

Colombo wrote:I don't think that this is messy or complicated at all!


If we abstract from personal magic and effect on morale etc, I think we can safely assume, that training in safe environment could prepare you better for war situation then not training at all.

Wargaming evolved from model game that served as tool to help leaders fight. It helped analyze battlefield, get the effect of terrain, find out the good positions for artillery and how to approach one if enemy set them in good position. Studying past situations and reactions. Napoleon found it quite important as many other leaders. Even Wehrmacht etc. studied this. For such complicated thing as artillery, it is quite important (just imagine what they had to compute before firing a shot semi-accurately).

There is no reason to think that if transformed into computer, it should behave differently. On the higher form of abstraction: You are just teaching your brain the model of how particular piece of reality works.

The difference is:
Type of model you are learning. Not many games have accurate enough model of reality. They can teach you something about strategic thinking. But quite a lot of experiences don't translate well. Just try to play Go after you have played number of games in Chess.


That's very much what I believe - virtual training is only as good as the training program, or to put it another way:

"Practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect". (that was on a sign on the swimming pool at my primary school, probably said by someone somewhere...)

When I play "war" games, I don't treat them as a war but as a game. The other player isn't an "enemy", but an "opponent" (and probably also a friend) - so I don't use all the tactics I can think of, only those that will be reasonably fun to play against. E.g. I won't use an attrition tactic to stall them out until they have to forfeit because they have to go to bed and get up early the next day... in a "war", I would totally use that "intelligence" to my advantage, but in a game I'm more worried about both of us having fun. In that regard, there's very little practice in "warfare", if anything it's more practice in empathy... but for players with the "win at all costs" mentality, it would be more toward the other end of the spectrum.
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Re: wargamers to real war

Postby YetiChow » Thu Aug 14, 2014 5:19 am

Colombo wrote:I don't think that this is messy or complicated at all!


If we abstract from personal magic and effect on morale etc, I think we can safely assume, that training in safe environment could prepare you better for war situation then not training at all.

Wargaming evolved from model game that served as tool to help leaders fight. It helped analyze battlefield, get the effect of terrain, find out the good positions for artillery and how to approach one if enemy set them in good position. Studying past situations and reactions. Napoleon found it quite important as many other leaders. Even Wehrmacht etc. studied this. For such complicated thing as artillery, it is quite important (just imagine what they had to compute before firing a shot semi-accurately).

There is no reason to think that if transformed into computer, it should behave differently. On the higher form of abstraction: You are just teaching your brain the model of how particular piece of reality works.

The difference is:
Type of model you are learning. Not many games have accurate enough model of reality. They can teach you something about strategic thinking. But quite a lot of experiences don't translate well. Just try to play Go after you have played number of games in Chess.


That's very much what I believe - virtual training is only as good as the training program, or to put it another way:

"Practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect". (that was on a sign on the swimming pool at my primary school, probably said by someone somewhere...)

When I play "war" games, I don't treat them as a war but as a game. The other player isn't an "enemy", but an "opponent" (and probably also a friend) - so I don't use all the tactics I can think of, only those that will be reasonably fun to play against. E.g. I won't use an attrition tactic to stall them out until they have to forfeit because they have to go to bed and get up early the next day... in a "war", I would totally use that "intelligence" to my advantage, but in a game I'm more worried about both of us having fun. In that regard, there's very little practice in "warfare", if anything it's more practice in empathy... but for players with the "win at all costs" mentality, it would be more toward the other end of the spectrum.
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Re: wargamers to real war

Postby BlueSteelAUS » Thu Aug 14, 2014 7:40 am

make no mistake i know practice makes perfect, but i know many people who would never be able to do in real life what they do in games, there's a big difference between killing in a game and in real life, eg: I know many gun owners who like shooting at targets in real life but they would freeze when having to shoot someone or something living. its a psychological thing. that's what i was trying to get at. and as for commanding people and getting them to do what you want them to isn't as easy as it sounds either, both the pressure of making the decisions that are actually affecting others lives and or deaths. it does take training yes, but not every one can do it. no matter how many computer games you've played or paint pall games , or shooting ranges you've shot at.
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Re: wargamers to real war

Postby Colombo » Thu Aug 14, 2014 9:52 am

Of course. Shooting people is completely different thing as one has to dehumanize the enemy.

I heard that this freeze was common in pre-Vietnam war. But then Americans have devised training method where they broke the human person and this will allow them to push and kill easily. And that all those post-traumatic syndromes (or rather the major rise of post-traumatic syndromes) that soldiers suffer from are due to this.

On the commanding, I already emphasized the power of personality. But contrary to what you said, I think that the limits are on completely different level. I think that people, given enough motivation, could all learn/train to anything. Some could train more effectively, some were prepared for things from youth (eg. they were the leader of children group from youth, so they have some "training" from that time). Some have higher limits (eg. most of people, like except two or something like that, who climbed Mount Everest got specific variant of gene that enables faster muscle growth and greater energy efficiency). But most of us can learn anything. Given enough motivation (fitting learning method). And the motivation is THE limiting factor.

And the making decision thing, I think you are wrong. The training enables you to go to abstraction and ignore whole the morality and people thing. It will became the drill you don't really think about. Common reaction to certain class of problems.
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Re: wargamers to real war

Postby YetiChow » Thu Aug 14, 2014 11:21 am

Again, I think the hinge-point there is HOW you play the game/how you complete the training exercises. There's an unimaginably big gap between the abstracted game and the real thing (and touch wood that we never have to find out first-hand just how big it is); but at the micro level, one decision feeds into the next.

In other words, people pick a path and stick to it; unless they get snapped out of it (and I can't think of any larger shock to trigger that snap...) But people who have more practice in justifying their path will have more "tools" to justify any other path they take in future... which again can go either way. Players who play "win at all costs" could be reasonably expected to be better at abstracting the situation; but there's always the chance that the shock is that much larger BECAUSE those people are used to abstraction rather than the visceral trauma of the real thing.

Going a bit off topic, but there's a book/series called BZRK by Michael Grant which approaches the same kind of question (amongst several others). I always found it interesting that in the series, 2 "main heroes" on either side are gamers who become part of the conflict (which is basically a war, but I won't spoil the plot...) go in opposite directions; but the "good guy" of the story is more into sport than gaming - certainly more than the "main warriors" on each side - and is thus more versed in the human element of the conflict.

It's an interesting slant on the original question: where some of our modern sports are almost conflicts themselves (e.g. ice hockey, rugby and American football where tackling and charging each other is the first resort to get the ball); would that lead more towards abstraction or empathy? Would it make someone more likely to make the impossible calls? My feeling is that they would be more confident to give orders and follow them, but more hesitant to make decisions. And I should note that to me, there's a big difference between "making the decision" and "giving the order" - they're two separate steps in my view, and when someone else does the first step for you, the only decision becomes whether to follow orders. As Colombo says, that's the whole point of conditioning and training.

It's a rather curly question :lol: But I think it is an important one, because that idea of "video games make people violent" does tie into it.
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Re: wargamers to real war

Postby Colombo » Thu Aug 14, 2014 1:20 pm

I don't think that even making decision is hard.

eg: When football player kick a ball, it is easy for him. UNLESS he starts thinking about it. The first thing is just automatic reaction when he analyze problem from different perspective. The second one is thinking about the situation as a whole, the pressure, the "what I am doing exactly?", the "what would happen if I fail?". And thats why many professional football players fails miserably in situations where even high-schooler would made it.
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Re: wargamers to real war

Postby YetiChow » Fri Aug 15, 2014 4:21 am

Colombo wrote:I don't think that even making decision is hard.

eg: When football player kick a ball, it is easy for him. UNLESS he starts thinking about it. The first thing is just automatic reaction when he analyze problem from different perspective. The second one is thinking about the situation as a whole, the pressure, the "what I am doing exactly?", the "what would happen if I fail?". And thats why many professional football players fails miserably in situations where even high-schooler would made it.


exactly - when someone shouts "I'm open!", you kick/pass/whatever and it usually works. If two people shout "I'm open!", you have to decide between them... and in my experience, that leads to freezing up.

The first case is making a decision, but it's a very small decision - yes/no. The second case is a more abstracted decision. I'd guess we're saying similar things, just approaching the idea from different ends.

It's just interesting (to me, at least :lol:) to extrapolate that thought into other areas. I could go on and on and on about forum etiquette... but I won't flog that horse any more :lol: :lol: Instead, a more useful area: modding

As you guys would know, I have a LOT of mod ideas, but I rarely get around to making them. Once I get thinking about "how will this mod work for players who aren't me?", and "what about compatibilities with other mods?" and other things like that, the mod seems to just... fade away and gets stuck as an idea that seems too hard to actually make. I'd be interested to see if the same happens for other people...
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