Project ASPIRE

Development Projects Comments Off on Project ASPIRE

The warfighter undertakes several risks throughout the course of duty. Aside from the physical danger, they also take on monumental risk with regard to their psychological well-being. Between 7 and 21% of the military personnel returning from Iraq or Afghanistan met the criteria for major depression, anxiety disorder, or posttraumatic stress disorder (source). The Architecture for Stress, Performance, Inoculation, Resilience, and Endurance (ASPIRE) project seeks to augment the US Marine Corps’ strategy to enhance warfighters’ psychological resilience.


With funding from the Office of Naval Research, we have developed a prototype game to augment the US Marine Corps’ Operational Stress Control and Readiness (OSCAR) Program. The OSCAR Program is the US Marine Corps effort to provide support directly to Marines from Marines while in-theater, with the overall goals of improving mental toughness, raising awareness of the importance of psychological health, reducing stigma, and reducing long-term deployment-related stress problems. This is achieved using OSCAR Team Members, which are individuals that operate within the deployed unit and are trained in combat/operational stress control. This allows for the early identification of potential stress-related problems so that they can be addressed immediately, ensuring the Marine’s quick and safe return to the unit.

The prototype game, code-named Project ASPIRE, seeks to extend the lessons learned in OSCAR to real-world examples. Players will be tasked with talking to fellow Marines to gauge their psychological well-being. After uncovering their presenting problem and determining the Marine’s location on the USMC Combat Operational Stress Continuum, players will have to decide the correct course of action. Through a conversation-based game mechanic, players will practice taking Marines through brief cognitive interventions. Players will also learn how to teach Marines breathing and relaxation exercises by playing minigames.

Project ASPIRE Walkthrough Trailer


ASPIRE Development

ASPIRE was designed and developed with the help of an experienced serious games designer. The content and scenarios were written by clinical psychologists who have experience in treating warfighters.

ASPIRE Development Team

Primary Investigators Drs. Clint Bowers & Jan Cannon-Bowers
Project Manager Katelyn Procci
Game Designer Lucas Blair
Programmers Greg Pardo (lead), Derek Rosa
Artist Danielle Chelles
Text Asset QA Leah Kuffner
Clinical SMEs / Content Writers Dr. Teri Carper, Dr. Kia Asberg,
Julian Montaquila, & Madeline Marks
Usability Team Katelyn Procci, Kai Wong, & Michael Schwartz
Research Assistants David Garcia, Katherine Huayhua, Matt Esposito, Chris Bratta, Stephanie Formanek, Kara Colley, & Yeonsil Song
Sound Team Katelyn Procci, Michael Schwartz, & Kara Colley
Voice Talent Rachel Harkness, Andrew Bushwitz,
Edward Candelers, & Alen Chao

Project ASPIRE

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