Tradespace Explorers

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Tradespace Explorers minigame Hit the Pareto!

The summer 2011 project was entitled "Interactive Games for Accelerated Insights into Dynamic System Strategies." The goals were to develop a "game" to let players better understand the "ilities" and the effects of changing contexts & needs on valuation; to develop useful visual and interactive constructs to communicate short run and long run scenario analysis using SEAri constructs; to be able to gather player game data (to compare how users "optimize" and make decisions in this dynamic decision environment to strategies derived through SEAri algorithms); and to have a software platform that enables easy modification to demonstrate the universality of the problem type across various system problem applications.

Layered architecture for Tradespace Explorers

The team of undergraduate and graduate students developed a python-based implementation of a layered architecture that enabled the game to present actual research-generated data in a novel environment. The engine layer translated tradespace data from the database into constructs to be manipulated within game. The game, Tradespace Explorers, introduced players to the challenge of designing systems with ilities through a story and gameflow that proxied a simplified development process. Swappable "mini-games" enabled players to interact with actual SEAri tradespace analyses and visualizations, albeit "gamified" through scoring mechanisms (that correspond to actual tradespace metrics calculations, such as Fuzzy Pareto Number).

Outline of the Tradespace Explorers game flow

The game is not yet fully implemented and remains more of a proof-of-concept. The intention was to have a "free play" mode and a "story mode", with the former allowing for player-initiated exploration and the latter employing level-design to incrementally educate the player through increasingly difficult challenges.

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]
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]


  • Python mini-games: [link] Coming Soon!