Army Opens New Front: Video Game Development

Stars & Stripes reports that the U.S. Army will sink $50 million into training-oriented video games. The project will launch in 2010. There’s even a new unit devoted to the ambitious project.

Lt. Col. Gary Stephens told Stars & Stripes that the Army will be keeping tabs on developments in the game biz, but doesn’t plan to compete there:

The Army takes this seriously. We own gaming for the Army — from requirements through procurement… We don’t have the intent to become a competitor with the commercial gaming industry.

In addition, the Army plans to award a contract in the next few weeks for what sounds like a fabuloulsy cool mod of current FPS gameware:

The new game — dubbed "Game After Ambush" — will be an off-the-shelf commercial product that comes with tools that will allow the Army to make almost any modification necessaryto terrain, scenarios, missions, etc….

 

Col. Mark McManigal, the capabilities manger for gaming under the Training and Doctrine Command, said the selected game must provide low-cost training and must not require large number of technicians to run. It must also have a play-back function for after-action reviews, he said...

 

the Army will have 70 gaming systems in 53 locations in the United States, Germany, Italy and South Korea between February and September 2009… Soldiers will be able to drive virtual vehicles, fire virtual weapons, pilot virtual unmanned aerial vehicles… in a virtual battle space as large as 100 kilometers by 100 kilometers, she said.

 

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