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The U.S. Army wants to add modern gaming visuals in its simulations

Prepare for the next generation of super soldiers, which may end up being video game players. The U.S. Army has created a new project office for the development of gaming technologies.

While the U.S. Army may have started with id Software’s DOOM II as a training tool, it will not rely on modern commercial shooters as the basis for its training. “I haven’t seen a game built for the entertainment industry that fills a training gap,” said Col. Jack Millar, director of the service’s Training and Doctrine Command’s (TRADOC) Project Office for Gaming, or TPO Gaming.

The America’s Army games were primarily recruitment tools, but TPO Gaming’s main focus is on training tools. Furthermore, according to TSJOnline, TPO Gaming aims to integrate modern game graphics into traditional U.S. Army training concepts. “We will focus on the visualization piece of those technologies, not so much the entertainment piece,” Millar added.

Many simulators for the military thus far are based on shooter games, particularly of the first-person variety, which lends quite well to infantry training. TPO Gaming’s projects, however, look to expand gaming technology’s applicability to other areas.

“While one game might provide excellent battlefield visualization, another might support training bilateral negotiation techniques,” Brig. Gen. Thomas Maffey, the Army’s director of training at the Pentagon, said to TSJ in written remarks. “We are finding many uses for games and it is just the beginning. Currently, we are focusing on first-person shooter and real-time strategy games, but there are many other genres of games that have desirable training capabilities. They provide an immersive environment capable of stimulating thought within a given context, thus giving us the ability to exercise cognitive skills along with functional tasks.”

Although games such as Infinity Ward’s brilliant Call of Duty 4 present a visually impressive representation on modern warfare, it may be deemed unsuitable for practical Army use for a number of reasons.

“The difficult part is they have to meet requirements,” said Robert Bowen, civilian chief of TPO Gaming. “Just because someone has the latest and greatest graphics engine, and the gameplay is great, doesn’t mean it meets training requirements.”

Col. Jack Millar said that the training tool must be suitable for custom scenario development, be immersive, scalable, feature an intuitive interface, model behavior at the entity level, contain an after-action review capability and allow easy distribution.

“We would look at that game and determine if it meets a training capability gap. If it can do that without any modification, we may use it to fill that gap,” said Millar. “But I doubt it. I haven’t seen that happen yet.”

Interestingly enough, part of the reason behind the formation of TPO Gaming was to give Army leaders a more official source of video game training, rather than picking up a copy of Call of Duty 4 or Halo 3.

“Units should not have to spend training dollars to purchase training simulations. If Army units are expending training funds to purchase games, there is probably an unfilled training requirement,” Brig. Gen. Thomas Maffey said. “We do not want to tell the commanders in the field they cannot spend money and train with games. However, we do want to ensure that commanders get the best training tools and that the Army spends its limited resources wisely in the procurement of those tools.”

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By Nik00117 on 12/14/2007 2:59:38 PM , Rating: 2
I am part of a LAN group which plays on a military installation.

Well either way we were playing I forgot which game, think it was JO or something. Well either way we begin playing on a map which was particularly difficult.

Well I started noticing how the Seals had their squad fixed up, with a gunner, medic, sniper, rifleman and how they were moving. It was obvious that the medic and sniper were being covered by the rifleman and gunner. Which made sense considering the medic was a critical aspect to keep the solider alive, and the sniper due to the fact that several objectives had to be shot at a long distance.

So either way as we were playing I noticed how they were storming each building and moving about the game, they were just simply brilliant at how they did it.It was never gun ho run in fire the place up.

So I joined them, and they briefed me how to clear rooms and stuff, and because of how we used their tactics which they learned in the military through traning methods simliar to this not once did we respawn.

Also the only person that was even killed was me, because on the on a house we cleared I decided to brust in firing.

We also beat the mission in 45 minutes, I remember spending triple that time on the same map with twice as many players and still failing.

At the end, the army goal is teach tactics, and communications. I could see them using COD4 for this as well with some mods of course.

Those mods being your shot your done. Maps modeled after real life areas and so forth.

I mean the sounds and the visuals in COD4 are enough to distract one during a critical command.

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