About Modeling and Simulation
A simulation model is a program that runs on the computer and represents a part of what happens in a situation. As a model, it does not represent all aspects of a scenario. Ideally, it captures the essential features of the scenario. Since randomness is often a substantial element in a situation, the simulation models here will generally attempt to include that randomness. That has the side-effect of having each run result in slightly different results. Think of flipping a coin - the same coin will sometimes come up heads and sometimes tails. The important element is that if it is a fair coin, it will come up roughly 50% of the time heads and 50% tails. This means that the simulation model must be run repeatedly and the output statistically analyzed to determine what the model is "saying."
About Modeling and Simulation for MMOWGLI
The simulation models provided in support of MMOWGLI are simple characterizations of pirate, merchant, and Navy assets. They move about in ways that are prescribed by the modelers (us). Each scenario is of a simple set of interactions that could possibly occur. For example, a pirate detects a merchant ship and "decides" to attack it. Or a naval vessel detects a pirate and intercepts it.
For our first MMOWGLI game, we've provided simulation tools that focus on the problems of searching the ocean, and the possible interactions that pirates, merchants and naval vessels might participate in. The geographic region of interest is the so-called Horn of Africa and the Gulf of Aden. Examining the historical data for the Gulf of Aden, (see the map below), we see that merchant vessels tend to travel in established sea lanes that are roughly long rectangular regions of the ocean, and that it is in these lanes that they encounter pirates who are based along the coast off to the west.
This is a very simple geometry that we can abstract into a more general situation of a simple linear lane of merchant travel, with bases for pirate activity off to the side. Our models do not take into account any of the features of this particular part of the world, they generalize the geometry, and so could represent any sea lane with these basic characteristics.
If you are interested in some of the background of MMOWGLI simulation as a project, there's some additional information here http://portal.mmowgli.nps.edu/game-wiki/-/wiki/PlayerResources/Modeling+and+Simulation+Design
This page describes experimental simulation support developed for the 2012 Piracy MMOWGLI games.