This week the US Navy introduced a new version of its MMOWGLI online gaming project. MMOWGLI stands for Massive Multiplayer Online Wargame Leveraging the Internet. The project uses the fictional future scenario shown in the promotional video below to encourage players around the world to join the game, and use their individual expertise to devise solutions to help our military meet its demands while decreasing its dependence on fossil fuels – and anyone can play.
The game will be “an examination of what our energy future looks like if we fail to act now,” said Cmdr. James Goudreau, director of the Navy Energy Coordination Office. “Every day that petroleum prices increase, it erodes our ability to train for and execute operations that our nation demands of us. Little by little, that results in decreased combat capability, and that is something we simply cannot accept.”
In essence, the game allows multiple users to interact and collaborate on ideas online, moving through the game by responding to a series of “Call to Action” videos. Talking Points Memo provides a clear explanation of the game here.
In a move that could derail the project, the House Armed Services Committee voted last week to ban the Department of Defense from purchasing alternative fuels that cost more than “traditional” fossil fuels. That would eliminate the purchase of biofuels, at least for the near future. The small biofuel industry cannot compete price-wise with the huge petroleum industry at this point. It was thought that the military’s use of biofuels would help bolster the biofuel industry and drive biofuel prices down.
With programs like the Green Fleet, the Green Strike Force, and their grand goal to get half the energy for Naval shore installations from alternative energy sources, the US Navy is beginning to sound like a group of real-life superheros. Let’s hope they aren’t thwarted at the last moment!