Computers & Information Science

[Abt, Clark C.] Raytheon Company | TEMPER Mark II. Volume I. User's Orientation Manual

  • ON RESERVE. A rare user’s manual for the second iteration of TEMPER, one of the earliest military computer simulations, the first interdisciplinary, world-wide simulation of Cold War conflict, designed by Clark C. Abt (1929- ), the engineer and activist who first formalised the concept of “Serious Games”. Materials related to both TEMPER I and II are extremely rare. We can locate no institutional or auction copies of anything related to these simulations, and there are few relevant academic citations.

    The history of modern war gaming begins with the Prussian Kriegsspiel of the early nineteenth century, wargames which were imported to the United States during the 1880s. The first computerised simulation of conventional combat was Air Defense Simulation, developed by the Army Operations Research Office at Johns Hopkins in 1948. It was followed in 1953 by CARMONETTE (Combined Arms Computer Model), a Monte Carlo simulation of ground combat developed by the US Operations Research Office.

    During the late 1950s and early 60s high-speed computing and the emerging field of game theory were used to simulate the complexities of thermonuclear politics. “The biggest wargame of the period was completed six months after the Cuban Missile Crisis. Called the ‘Simulation of Total Atomic Global Exchange,’ this early computerized wargame took three years to prepare and six months to play. According to reports, the outcome confirmed that the United States could survive an atomic war” (Caffrey, “On Wargaming”, Naval War College Newport Papers 43, p. 80).

    The present simulation, TEMPER, was designed during the early 60s when “wargaming spread to what would become the National Defense University’s Industrial College of the Armed Forces, for which the Raytheon Corporation developed a fully automated wargame. TEMPER (for Technological, Economic, Military, and Political Evaluation Routine) was judged a useful tool for applying the school’s course material” (Caffrey, p. 80).

    The introduction to this volume describes TEMPER as, “an undertaking by the Joint War Games Agency to develop and operate a global cold war game. The Program consists of a theory of cold war conflict, a model of the theory, a computer simulation of the model and a game based on the simulation. The scope of TEMPER includes the factors which make up its acronym... The theory, stated most briefly, is that each nation strives in its own way to close the gap between the real world as each nation perceives it, and its concept of an ideal world. Because of the differences between nations, their actions will not necessarily be in concert. Furthermore these actions will change the real world and so the perceptions of the world, and so on. In this way the theory accounts for the dynamic nature of the world, and the underlying conflicts between nations.”

    This volume was originally one of three manuals for users of TEMPER II. It was designed to provide a new user with a “step-by-step introduction to the concept of model of cold war conflict, and its development into a computer simulation and game”. The reader was “assumed to have only a general acquaintance with high speed digital computers” and this manual would provide “enough understanding of the TEMPER model and computer program to permit him to use TEMPER as an analytic tool with facility”. Volumes II and III are not present here, but volume II was designed for “the user who wishes to learn specific details of simulation or game operations”, and volume III published “reproductions of punched card decks needed to perform specific functions” (introduction).

    This manual is extensive and detailed, discussing the reasoning behind the simulation’s development and its applications. Most of the text comprises a thorough overview of the simulations’ structure, including the behaviour of the actors (nation states), how time works (”real time is collapsed into an abbreviated form allowing for ten years of simulated play in less than one hour of real time”, and the submodels that drive the simulation (”bargaining”, “psychological-political”, “decision maker”, “alliance”, “economic”, “logistics” and “war”). The gameplay is described in detail and a sample situation is run through. The final section, titled “Man-Machine Interaction”, describes the different use case scenarios, including controlled, high-level interaction allowing the player to conduct operations “not programmed into the simulation”.

    One of Temper’s leading designers, Clark C. Abt, had a remarkable career in engineering, education, and activism. He graduated from MIT with a degree in general engineering in 1947, then earned an MA in creative writing at Johns Hopkins, and a later a PhD in political science. “From 1953 to 1957 he served in the U.S. Air Force as electronic countermeasures officer and navigator. From 1957 to 1964, Dr. Abt held engineering and management positions at the Raytheon Company, including managing the Advanced Systems and Strategic Studies Departments within the company's Missile and Space Division”, which is when he worked on TEMPER (Clark C. Abt biography, Abt Associates website, July 2014, the Wayback Machine). In 1970, based partly on his work at Raytheon, Abt published the groundbreaking book Serious Games, on all types of games with “an explicit and carefully-thought out educational purpose” (Djaouti, “Origins of Serious Games”, p. 3).

  • 1 July 1964. Bedford, MA: Advanced Systems Studies Department, Space & Information Systems Division, Raytheon Company, 1964.

    Quarto. Original spiral binding with clear plastic covers, cover leaves of mauve paper. 43 page Roneo-reproduced typescript and manuscript on the rectos only. Slight fading at the edges of the mauve leaves, a little light spotting to the edges of the text block, small spot to page ii. Excellent condition.