Leading online chess server VelocityChess has partnered up with online training software company Zoomi to provide their players with intuitive, dynamic technology designed to further their understanding of chess strategy.
Previously, Zoomi’s training technology had been primarily used in a corporate setting, however their implementation on the VelocityChess site sees their debut into the gaming world. Algorithms detect the learner’s level of progress, and from there Zoomi’s technology is able to predictively analyse a user’s knowledge level in order to teach in a more sophisticated manner. Zoomi describes what they do as “online training beyond static graphics and video”, a modern learning experience that engages members and provides a learning path that is personalised to their skill level”.
Incorporating this technology on VelocityChess, then, will see players undertaking engaging and intricate training while playing on the site. Working to fully integrate the training program with play itself, the site is already able to boast a course completion rate six times greater than the industry average. On top of this, a second edition of the training course will soon go live on the site, promising an even more personal approach and move by move instruction.
I caught up with both Zoomi and VelocityChess to get up to speed with these new developments, and we spoke about this exciting next step in their collaboration, as well as the wider implications for Zoomi’s technology in gaming.
VelocityChess , What spurred you to implement this teaching mechanic into your online experience?
Our goal at VelocityChess is to modernize the time-honored game of chess and provide a fresh and exciting chess playing experience using unique and addictive gamification elements. Zoomi’s technology presented us with a unique opportunity to offer something new in the online chess world. Other sites simply post videos of chess experts walking through scenarios with no customization as it relates to their level of expertise. With Zoomi, our users are offered training based on their own individual knowledge, so every minute spent in our training program is helping them improve their skills, not review what they already know. It’s an exciting addition to our overall gaming experience. We haven’t seen anything like it in the chess world yet and we believe our work can help take chess education to the next level.
Could you expand on what we already know about the second implementation of Zoomi’s software into your site?
We are looking forward to implementing the second edition of training, which will include a fully interactive chess board. Players will be able to input their answers directly into the chess board by moving pieces, instead of being limited to pre-set, multiple choice options. The Zoomi technology will record each attempted solution. That information will be incorporated into algorithms that will place the player on a customized learning path that matches their knowledge level. For example, let’s say we have a complicated problem with many possible answers, but only one correct solution. Even though a user may not input the correct solution, the moves they select indicate the player’s strength and whether they mastered the lesson material. A beginner might move the wrong piece, while a more advanced player may make a move that is technically incorrect, but more on target. Each scenario would result in the user being placed on a different course path where they would continue to be challenged in each scenario.
What effect do you expect this technology to have on your rewards system, as users become more proficient in the game?
We don’t expect this technology to have an immediate impact on our rewards system. Even though we believe our educational tools will accelerate a player’s chess IQ faster than any other chess system out there, it remains a complex game that requires many hours to master. We do believe, however, that our educational technology will continue to drive action and games on our site as players are eager to implement the knowledge they acquire from our lessons.
Zoomi, What drew you to the online gaming sector?
We recognize at Zoomi that gaming has been at the forefront of technology innovation. GPUs are being applied to many processing intensive applications now. The motion tracking — which is enabling the new generation of VR / AR — was born in gaming. AI has been slowly getting more sophisticated within games for many years. With these examples and others, we were excited to see what application a gaming site such as VelocityChess could make of the tools we developed.
From the point of view of our data analytics, VelocityChess is visited by a wide range of users with varying skill levels. This is a very appealing audience for us as it provides an opportunity to track the progress of each individual gamer as they move through the various levels of educational lessons – from beginner to expert. It also lets us build a picture of what concepts need to be mastered, and in what order, as the mastery of chess is acquired.
Using predictive and prescriptive analytics, Zoomi can determine in real-time if a user comprehends and, in turn, retains the information presented for each concept. Our technology can then interpret the user’s behavior and quiz performance, adapt the content to their skill level, and even predict whether or not they’ll get the next question right.
Do you feel that your technology has potential for use in the educative gaming sector?
Absolutely. Serious games are one of the most compelling innovations in learning and we really feel like we are at an inflection point in that segment too. Gaming mechanics mapped to learning mechanics are starting to show up in thoughtful learning applications.
Zoomi’s technology is different from all other adaptive learning technologies in that it is not driven simply by quiz responses. Zoomi measures complex behavioral patterns which are abundantly available in gaming contexts, and we look forward to exploring this application within educative games.