Jim Lunsford, the President of Decisive-Point, is an expert in the design, development and use of “serious games”. His extensive experience as a leader, trainer, educator, and game developer enables him to create powerful educational simulations that develop and hone the cognitive skills of others. Prior to assuming his current position as President of Decisive-Point, Jim was the Director of the Trainer Group at MÄK Technologies. Jim has broad expertise in developing serious games for the Army, Air Force, and Marines, and was a key participant in the DARPA DARWARS program.
For almost twenty years, Jim has created and used computer games for training and education. He was one of the early innovators in the development and use of serious games. He created a tank identification game in 1990 to help train soldiers to quickly and accurately identify tanks in a battlefield environment. In 1992, Jim was recognized by the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) for his PC-based game, Airborne Wargamer, a simulation of modern airborne operations.
In 1998, while he was a tactics instructor at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC), Jim created Decisive Action, a PC-based simulation of division and corps-level warfare. This game allows students to practice the art of warfighting in the classroom. Decisive Action was used in Army Experiments 5 and 6, and showcased at the Chief of Staff of the Army's personal exhibit at the annual Association of the United States Army conference in Washington, DC in 1998 and 1999. The Australian Army also uses this game to train leaders in the art and science of war. In 2001, HPS Simulations published Decisive Action as a commercial product. Following its release, the game received critical acclaim for its novel approach to modeling land warfare in several nationally published computer gaming magazines. Decisive Action is still used today at CGSC making it one of the military’s longest-used serious games.
Over the years, the U.S. Army has used several of Jim's other serious games for staff training: Solo Warrior, a division combat simulation, and Credible Force, a stability and support operations training simulation. CGSC is currently using The Long War; a counterinsurgency operations (COIN) game to introduce students to the nature of the current asymmetric threat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In addition to design and development, Jim continues to refine the art of using serious games for training and education. He routinely uses Explore!, his simulation of the Lewis and Clark Expedition to teach leadership and critical thinking skills to groups as part of Decisive-Point's leadership seminar program. The insight he gains from these seminars enables him to increase his expertise in developing effective instructional strategies for each unique training audience.
In order to sharpen his skills, Jim continues to develop commercial strategy games. Defending the Reich, a historical simulation of the British night bombing campaign against Nazi Germany was published by HPS Simulations in September, 2006. It has received strong praise from both the wargaming community and game critics. The April 2007 edition of Games for Windows magazine contains a very positive review of the game on page 88. Jim is currently working on the next title of his World War II Air Campaign series games for HPS.
Jim graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering, and from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in 1993 with a Masters of Military Arts and Sciences. Jim is a retired Army officer with twenty years of active service. His military experience includes command and staff positions in numerous airborne infantry units, a tour as an exchange officer with the British Parachute Regiment, and an assignment as a tactics instructor at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.
Baxter, H.C., & Lunsford, J.R., (November 2005). Creating JFACC Aces: Utilizing Cognitive Requirements to Develop Effective Training Simulations. Paper presented at the Interservice/Industry Training Simulation and Education Conference. Orlando, FL.
Eastman, A.E., & Lunsford, J.R., (November 2003). Intermediate Desktop Training Simulations for Education and Training in United States Army Units and Proponent Schools. Paper published by the Interservice/Industry Training Simulation and Education Conference, Orlando, FL.
Lunsford, J.R. (March 2007). Best Practices for the Design and Use of a Serious Game to Conduct Dynamic Target Cell Training. Paper presented at the Spring, 2007 Simulations Interoperability Workshop, Norfolk, VA.