Digital Space Tug Skirmish

back to projects

Screenshot of Digital Space Tug Skirmish v1.0 computer game

The summer 2013 project "was entitled "Interactive Games as a Research Medium to Improve Engineering Systems Thinking." In order to facilitate data collection on player behaviors this project was undertaken to implement Space Tug Skirmish (STS) as an online-multiplayer computer game, with the primary purpose of facilitating data collection. Specifically the goals were: to implement Space Tug Skirmish v3.0 as a software-based game (including operationalizing game mechanics, providing compelling visual and interactive experience); with tracking (including database to store game state and player actions with standard schema); and level design capabilities (including separate scripted (i.e. deck and possible player AI) game design functionality); to have a software platform that enables easy modification (e.g. change card properties, modify game rules); and most importantly: preserve engaging player experience with game!

The end of summer vision described the project as providing "an engaging and educational interactive "game" that demonstrates epochs, eras, and ilities..." with the following capabilities: faithfully recreates STSv3 in software; can record/log player decisions for given session; tracks game states to allow for "replays" and analysis; allows for 1-4 player networked play; has engaging user experience; can be readily "modded" to allow for later balance changes; has both "story" and "standard" play; has separate "scenario" and "deck builder" capabilities; can implement "optional" rules/constraints.

The team of undergraduate students implemented the game using Photon and Unity3D. The final version of the project came close to meeting the goals, with most of the STS cards implemented, two of the personas implemented, 1-4 players, game state tracking, a deck builder, and the foundations for later extension.

Related Files

Ross, A.M., Fitzgerald, M.E., and Rhodes, D.H., "Game-Based Learning for Systems Engineering Concepts," 12th Conference on Systems Engineering Research, Redondo Beach, CA, March 2014, doi: 10.1016/j.procs.2014.03.053. [paper] [briefing]
Fitzgerald, M.E. and Ross, A.M., "Space Tug Skirmish Rules v3.2", SEAri WP-2014-2-1, March 2014. [pdf]
Ross, A.M., Fitzgerald, M.E., and Rhodes, D.H., "Game-Based Media for Teaching Systems Engineering Concepts," IAP Lectures on Games for Engineering Education, Cambridge, MA, January 2014. [briefing]
Ross, A.M., "Basics of Game Design," MIT SEAri Summer Project 2013 Lecture, Cambridge, MA, June 2013. [briefing]
Demo page: [link] Coming Soon!