Calm Seas Ahead – Lookout for Ocean Technologies Group
Like many of our cases with training, Lookout also had its beginnings with the need to find new ways of doing. Sometimes it’s about adding a layer of motivation or about being cost-effective. Every now and then it’s about wanting to improve the overall experience for the trainee. In this case it was a bit of everything with an added layer of saving lives. Ocean Technologies Group wanted to open up a new product segment of training games through which they could provide added value to their customer. And help save maritime professional’s lives.
Learning the Ropes
This project culminated our love for working in such various fields; we get to take a deep dive into an area that is not familiar to us and take a peek at all kinds of different expertise the world holds. At the same time our customer gets insight on how games work and why they are such a powerful tool. It truly is a win-win for both. With Lookout, taking a peek into a new field meant we needed to learn quite a bit of maritime expertise. We got to experience once again the sweet mix of domain knowledge and game expertise.
After getting our bearings into the world of maritime industry, we were able to go full steam ahead with development. With our internal quality assurance processes as well as with the maritime experts at Ocean Technologies Group, we made sure every detail needed for safe maritime transport was modeled carefully into the game – as it would work in the real world.
Smooth Sailing with Lookout
Completing a project always feels like a win. But with Lookout it felt particularly good. Not only because we had learned so much in the process about a new industry ourselves but also because we were able to help Ocean Technologies Group establish a new product segment of training games that brings a novel way of training to the whole maritime industry.
Getting Our Sea Legs Going
The starting point for Lookout development was very concrete: save maritime professional’s lives. We wanted to find solutions that go beyond traditional methods of training. Therefore, our mutual goal was to develop new, easy-to-approach training games that have strong motivating and engaging attributes.
Working with Ocean Technologies Group is the perfect example of how we are able to come together from two completely different fields to form more than the sum of our parts. LudoCraft’s view of the world is heavily anchored to the fact that game is the strongest media in the world. Because we know that games can be used to improve anything and everything, we were able to use our tried and tested process to dig deep into Ocean Technologies Group’s domain knowledge and start our game development path together.
Once we got a good footing into the maritime material and we had established a direction for the type of game we wanted to create together with Ocean Technologies Group, it was time to start the development of Lookout.
Lookout takes place on the command bridge of a container ship, bulk carrier or oil tanker. The player chooses which vessel they want to practice on. The player can also choose to play either on mobile or VR.
The purpose of the game is to learn observational skills that are essential in safe maritime transport. The player hears instructions on the locations of nearby vessels. Naturally, the instructions are given using maritime terminology.
The player listens to the directions and based on what they hear, they locate the vessel in the game. Sounds simple enough, right? But in reality there is a massive number of rules and functions as well as exceptions to both. The player needs to master all of them to ensure safe sea travels both in the game and in real life.
Avoiding Fatal Errors
We always pay special attention to quality. It is one of our main assets and points of pride. With Lookout – as with all of our training games – we needed to be extra special careful in making sure everything is meticulously in place. One of the reasons for being particularly mindful of details is the massive number of rules and exceptions to the rules that are part of maritime operations. Moreover, when you know that training done with the game can save lives, wanting to do as high-quality content as possible becomes a top priority.
In Lookout specific attention was placed especially on the position of lights in different weather conditions and times of day. It was key to get realistic representations of how the lights on vessels are shown from different angles in the game to ensure the trainee is able to make interpretations and decisions based on their visual observations in the real world, too.
It sounds simple enough but the key here is really in the details to make sure the game provides training that is of crucial value in the real world. Getting everything right is imperative in preventing possibly fatal errors and accidents out in the open seas.
Lookout Features in Short
Realism Is Key
The realistic bridge environment of a container ship, bulk carrier or oil tanker provides an immersive training experience. The player can train both in mobile and in VR.
Reading the Lights
Particular attention is paid to modelling authentic navigation lights of vessels in Lookout. The task of the player is to spot the lights and interpret their meaning correctly.
Deep Learning and Motivating
Lookout has multiple training modes. The training modes have motivating aspects familiar from games such as scoring, rating, badges and increasing difficulty.
Making sure Lookout corresponds accurately to the real world is just one part of ensuring we’re creating a successful training game. Our goal is to go beyond simulation to create an engaging and motivating training experience.
This is where LudoCraft’s expertise in game design comes heavily into play. Lookout is constructed as a series of challenges – each more difficult than the next. As with any game, in order to do well in it, you need to master the rules. With each challenge the difficulty level rises motivating you to become the hero of the game. This is one of the ways games hook you to train a bit more than you would otherwise.
Other game design methods we incorporated into Lookout were scoring, badges and leaderboards. All of these serve a dual purpose. Firstly, they give personal motivation to the player. And secondly, they act as assessment tools on how well the trainee has absorbed the new knowhow taught in the game.
One of the definite advantages of building a training system as a game is that a game forms a closed system with a particular set of rules. This enables the development of quite complex systems with many causal connections that are presented neatly and clearly to the player. Games also enable the dissection of information into neat and easy-to-digest packages. Furthermore, by using clever game deign, the packages are built to provide an added layer of motivation to entice the player to learn more.
By combining all of these elements into a training game it is possible to present a staggering amount of information. The beauty of a game is that with this type of immersive and motivating method, the player absorbs new knowledge intuitively. What is more, the mechanics used to design the game enable it to have the equivalent of information found in a very heavy-duty manual.
LudoCraft Way of Working
Working with the innovative team at LudoCraft has really sparked a new way of viewing training games at Ocean Technologies Group. LudoCraft’s way of processing the world and improving it incrementally in a playful, yet serious way, has made working together a delight. I can’t wait to see what we come up with next together.
– Saurabh Bhardwaj, Director Product Innovation and Strategy, Seagull Maritime (part of Ocean Technologies Group)
Training Safely – Saving Lives
LudoCraft’s mission is to save the world with games. With Lookout we are taking steps closer into doing so. The game helps safer maritime transport and prevents loss of lives with thorough, motivating, engaging and immersive training.
What’s more, being able to provide immersive training on mobile devices and VR saves natural resources, as maritime professionals do not need to travel in order to receive in-depth training.
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Global Sales & Brand Manager