Jed Merrill, Producer/Game Designer

Week 4

February 3 and 5, 2015.

From the syllabus:  “Prototyping continues, Practice Pitch on Thursday, Feb 5.”

Tuesday I decide to skip class and do some field work. I visit POST, the Police Officer Standards and Training office, and talk to them about our police ethics simulator training, currently called B.S.T.S., or Behavioral Smart Training Suite. [Update: We rename the project B.E.S.T., which stands for Behavior Ethics Strategy Tactics.]

POST asks us to avoid using real situations that are still being litigated within the state, so as to not sway potential jurors. This includes a recent samurai sword police shooting in the Eagle Mountain neighborhood. I also ask for feedback on how a snow shovel use of force incident we’ve included in our prototype should have been handled by the officer on site.

My timing is fortuitous. Tuesday happens to be one of the six days a year when POST does four live training exercises, and I am allowed to follow officers around and video tape them confronting use of force situations and performing fake body searches and arrests. Listening to and recording the after action reviews is very helpful.

I learn that the Unified Police Department in Salt Lake recently purchased a training simulator for $750,000 that does less than what we plan for our project. He said they would be very interested in using our software for training police officers and cadets at Utah’s nine police academies and for continuing education for existing officers.

I think I might skip class more often…

Our practice pitch went well on Thursday. I’ve got a great team! Ahmad shows off the prototypes the rest of the team worked on Tuesday, and we are told to narrow our scope a bit to reduce the number of art assets needed for parts of the game that do not directly relate to our purpose.

I notice that several people in the class on other teams are impressed by my willingness to work outside the lab. I am the only Producer so far to do field work, though I am sure others will get to try it.

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