18. June 2013 04:40
Ever since the military and law enforcement started realizing that first-person shooter games like DOOM, Duke Nukem and similar actually enhanced a person’s ability to aim and shoot precisely under pressure, both types of agencies have been taken advantage of the tool to boost training. The military has been the most prolific in such training, expanding the model far beyond plain shooting scenarios to full immersion scenarios. The results have been the production of an entirely different soldier. Law enforcement is following suit where it can as well.
Dubbed Live, Virtual and Constructive Training, or LVC, military use of digital gaming tools has become a commonplace part of basic training prior to new environment entry. For example, soldiers schedule to relocate to Afghanistan have often been placed into digital training to deal with stress scenarios of house-to-house combat and alleyway fighting where quick decisions mean surviving or getting shot.
Scenario-training isn’t just limited to group troop operations. Digital game designers have been busy tailoring scenario training to match military aviation and naval assets as well. With the ease by which computers can tailor fake scenario training, the scale of the application is fully expected to increase as technology gets better. Additionally, generational acceptance is having a big influence on acceptance as well as older military leadership ages out of the system.
Current Training Games
The top 10 game systems used today include:
- DARWARS – Used globally by the U.S. Army, DARWARS provides the ability for training to be modified, matching local issues and risks better than a generic game model. The game can simulate combat, field medical demands and cultural communication challenges.
- The Engagement Skills Trainer – Known better as EST, the U.S. Army also uses this model to get soldiers comfortable with the sound, feel and kick of different firearm weaponry. In addition to just shooting targets, the EST module helps soldiers make split decisions on shooting and avoidance.
- Virtual Convoy Operations Trainer – Similar to EST, the VCOT helps soldiers become adept at managing different vehicles and convoys while under stress situations. This include being attacked, ambushed and managing fast transit while maintaining communication and coordination.
- Virtual Battlespace Systems 2 – The Marines and the U.S. Army both incorporate the VBS 2 platform as a backbone training simulator for first person shooting training. The current game model was developed off a previous game used by the U.S. Marines and the Australian military. Despite its success, the Army is already looking to upgrade and replace VBS 2 with a new system.
- Virtual Heroes – Originally used by the U.S. Army, Virtual Heroes has now been expanded and adopted by both law enforcement as well as NASA.
- Full Spectrum Warrior – This software package provides an X-Box type game feel to a training simulator that the Army is now currently testing at Fort Benning despite the fact it has been available for five years.
- Full Spectrum Command – Produced by the same folks who developed Full Spectrum Warrior, FS Command takes the scenario training further to provide real-time stress testing of trainees when commanding multiple people. The default approach has a training managing 120 virtual soldiers under combat conditions.
- America’s Army – Designed and produced for recruitment, America’s Army is given away at military public offices and through the mail to potential recruits. The program provides a realistic scenario of boot camp and basic training conditions, convincing potential interested individuals of their ability to master initial training challenges.
- BiLAT – An exception from the normal combat application, BiLAT instead provides military leadership personnel the ability to train their soft people skills, especially in terms of negotiation with local populations and different cultures. A similar program, Operational Language and Culture Training System, takes the training a step further, adding language and cultural training.
- UrbanSim – While the name may imply close combat training, this program instead focuses on counterinsurgency tactics and developing stability after occupation into hostile territory. The program is designed to train a battle commander on various instability issues that can occur after the initial battle is won.
The military continues to work on new game systems and related training, currently offering big contracts for new developers and ideas. As a result, this field remains strong and will continue to grow.