Spanish Military Turns to Panzer General

Spanish Military Turns to Panzer General

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A new simulator based on the strategy classic Panzer General is proving interesting enough to the Spanish Ministry of Defense that it may end up being used to help plan real-life military strategies.

Gamers of a certain age and/or bent will no doubt fondly recall Panzer General, a 1994 release from SSI that, for a brief moment at least, brought turn-based strategy to the masses. It spawned several sequels, none of which lived up to the original, and the whole thing had pretty much died out by 2000. Except, that is, in the minds of researchers at the University of Granada in Spain.

The researchers decided to use the game in conjunction with an "ant colony optimization" algorithm to develop a system that could help with pathfinding problems in real combat situations. The algorithm is a probabilistic system that determines ideal paths between locations using principles similar to those employed by ants, which use pheromones to determine the best routes between their colonies and food supplies. "The result," as Game Culture notes, "is that though each individual ant is fairly stupid, the colony itself is rather smart, finding optimal routes through the collective intelligence of the group."

That algorithm was incorporated into Panzer General, with troop formations taking the place of ants. "Digital pheromones" left behind by the units reinforced successful paths, while high-casualty routes eventually died off and were ignored. The research was interesting enough to attract the attention of the Spanish military, which is considering its use in devising real-life strategies; the university team claims that the modified Panzer General can also be tweaked to assist with other, more positive problem-solving, like the distribution of food aid.

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Ha, I have Panzer General 3D Assualt somewhere around here... I may... no, that's a different Panzer game... oh well.

But being used by the military... hehehe.
I suppose it could make sense. IF I mash my brains against the wall for a while. I'll get thinking...

So 15 years later, one of the greatest games of it's kind is being put to good use. And people wonder why all of of older gamers don't "Get with the times".

Long live turn-based strategy!

That said I wouldnt want to be one of the soldiers going along one of the "high casualty routes"

Still say they are better off reading Sun Tzu's The Art of War <.<

The Art of War does not replace wargames.

I'm having a hard time seeing the practical application here, if it's already not being applied. I mean, it seems to me if a route cost me a lot of soldiers, and one didn't, that would encourage me to switch routes. I mean, ant colonies more or less recognize that a lot of their workers are expendable. And it's not like their system for charting path to food is being opposed by some other force, they're simply looking for top efficiency. But in combat, the enemy will react to shifts in troop movements. Isn't this more or less "try a bunch of different routes, and whichever doesn't result in your men dying off in large numbers is to goto route." I could see that not being a very popular strategy, especially on the grunt level. Soldiers know they could die, but they trust that their commanders will not purposely endanger them without good cause.

It's a war game system, simulated battles help officers hone their strategy and test plans before they're being executed. These simulations have been done in the 19th century already (of course not with computers) and are actually the origin of tabletop wargaming.

Ah SSI... made 2 of my first 3 games.

OT. I agree with Hobbes, this seems rather like a bad plan with massive loses in the lower ranks.

I'm sure we can think up something better. Like maybe using satelites to find enemies BEFORE sending in your troops and getting them all slaughtered.

This SSI games were great. They should also try Panzer General 2 with RSF*2.5 and for modern warfare Peoples General ;)

Really? No one's going to do it? Alright, guess it's up to me then.
Wait!? Since when has Spain needed a military? What could they be planning for, unless...
No. No it can't be. But then, NO ONE EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION!

Malygris:
Spanish Military Turns to Panzer General

image

A new simulator based on the strategy classic Panzer General is proving interesting enough to the Spanish Ministry of Defense that it may end up being used to help plan real-life military strategies.

Gamers of a certain age and/or bent will no doubt fondly recall Panzer General, a 1994 release from SSI that, for a brief moment at least, brought turn-based strategy to the masses. It spawned several sequels, none of which lived up to the original, and the whole thing had pretty much died out by 2000. Except, that is, in the minds of researchers at the University of Granada in Spain.

The researchers decided to use the game in conjunction with an "ant colony optimization" algorithm to develop a system that could help with pathfinding problems in real combat situations. The algorithm is a probabilistic system that determines ideal paths between locations using principles similar to those employed by ants, which use pheromones to determine the best routes between their colonies and food supplies. "The result," as Game Culture notes, "is that though each individual ant is fairly stupid, the colony itself is rather smart, finding optimal routes through the collective intelligence of the group."

That algorithm was incorporated into Panzer General, with troop formations taking the place of ants. "Digital pheromones" left behind by the units reinforced successful paths, while high-casualty routes eventually died off and were ignored. The research was interesting enough to attract the attention of the Spanish military, which is considering its use in devising real-life strategies; the university team claims that the modified Panzer General can also be tweaked to assist with other, more positive problem-solving, like the distribution of food aid.

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This was done year before In America, my father worked for a military sim company, and when the system crapped itself, he turned to Panzer General and Steel panthers 3.

For three days he ran a 6000 soldier simulator off a 20 dollar video game while the multi million dollar system was on the fritz.

Score one for Houston eh?

 

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