US Army gets $50M for modern video game training
Source: US Army According to a report in the US Army newspaper Stars and Stripes, the United States Army has been allocated $50M to expand its video games-based training activities. Over the coming year, the U.S. Army Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training, and Instrumentation (PEO-STRI), the organisation in charge of the new "Games for Training" programme, will buy modern gaming hardware and support the development of games suitable for military use.
"By next year, the Army will have 70 gaming systems, each with at least 50 computers, in 53 locations in the United States, Germany, Italy and South Korea," says PEO-STRI project manager Leslie Duvow. Since 2006, the Army has been using a first-person shooter video game DARWARS Ambush, co-developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), to teach soldiers how to react to ambushes, but according to Lieutenant Colonel Gary Stephens, its technology is well behind what is possible today.
Source: BBN "The number of players DARWARS Ambush can accommodate is limited, as is the size of the virtual battle space," says Stephens. "Also, it cannot interact with the Army’s real-world computerised battle command systems. This is why the investment is being made in new technology and in a new game." Stephens is keen to stress that the army will not develop the new game, which has been dubbed 'Game After Ambush' internally. "We will commission the adaptation of an off-the-shelf commercial product to suit the specific needs of the army."
The United States Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) will select the game. This training organisation is responsible for the development of new combat strategies and their deployment and standardisation within the military training system. "The selected game must provide low-cost training and must not require large number of technicians to run," says TRADOC Colonel Mark McManigal. He adds "And it must have a play-back function for after-action reviews,". "Trainers must be able to edit the game during play to change the difficulty level or add complexity to an exercise." The army wants to hear from suppliers who think they can make it onto the short list within the next two weeks.