More Games for Software Security

Friday, May 29, 2015 @ 04:05 PM gHale

For the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), it is all about improving software security, but why not have a little fun while you are at it.

That is where Dynamakr comes into play. Imagine for a moment that a decoded message from a distant galaxy provided the plans for a Quantum Mechanical 3D printer. Players feed patterns into the machine to create designs for new devices never seen before on Earth — devices so advanced, they’re like magic.

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Games like this allows non-experts to participate in improving software security in Phase 2 of DARPA’s Verigames project.

Dynamakr from Left Brain Games is a puzzle shooter where players create groups of mysterious patterns to maximize their collective energy.

The resulting energized patterns meld into a design that can create either destructive or beneficial particles. Players must collect beneficial particles while dodging and destroying destructive particles in a fast-moving, perilous tunnel full of obstacles and hazards.

To create Dynamakr, Left Brain Games worked in collaboration with Kestrel Technology and Texas Tech University. The team built on their experience and results from CircuitBot, the game they produced for the first phase of the project. Dynamakr and the server technologies that support it are more effective at supporting formal verification.

“We learned a lot in Phase 1 of DARPA’s Verigames project,” Andrew Keplinger, president, Left Brain Games, said. “Dynamakr combines improved user experience with advanced algorithms, resulting in more formal verification work as players challenge the game.”

DARPA wants to improve upon traditional formal verification — proving the absence of certain flaws in software code. Currently, formal verification is costly and time-consuming.

The Verigames project came about to solve this problem through crowd sourcing using fun and engaging video games.

Phase 1 launched five games in December 2013. Utilizing the information learned through game play in 2014, the development teams and mathematicians created five new games for Phase 2.

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