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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  1. 0
    Shoehorn Oplenty says:

    They are simply using it to train tactics, not actual combat. In fact, you could probably do the same thing with chesspieces and model buildings, but they don’t offer the possibility of replaying and pointing out mistakes.

  2. 0
    Michael Chandra says:

    They did in the past but people used to Infinite Ammo Cheats used up all the rockets to blow up infantry and try to cross rivers by letting cars jump, rather than using bridges. Needless to say they found themselves in trouble when they encountered an enemy tank.

    Obvious Department: The situation described is purely fictional.

  3. 0
    NovaBlack says:

    oh i give it 5 minutes before JT comes on here spouting cr*p like:

    "see this is PROOF games train killers!"

    or something more sarcastic like  " Oh.. so the army can train soldiers, but games could never train anybody… right.? "



    well JT let me ask you this. IF GTA and other games train people ‘so well’ , then why the heck is the army investing $50 million into developing training simulations? I mean… surely they’d just pay for a license to let the troops play GTA.. and save ooh i dont know around $49 million.

    Oh n wouldnt they scrap all the other training too? i mean thered be no need for physical fitness training, pschological training, or more importantly actual hands on weapons training. After all, a game can make you physically fit, and accurately let you feel the size, weight, recoil of various weapons… *sigh*


  4. 0
    shady8x says:

    Hmm, sounds cool, maybe I should work for the army… not…

    Nice to know that programmers are needed everywhere this days though, even building games for the army…

  5. 0
    barra_sadei says:

    Video games are a strange branch-off from military technology. I saw a special on it once, and this guy was saying how he and some buddies would try to alter radar screens to do things (example: primitive Pong). Going farther into the future, they had flight simulators. The military has generally been ahead of the gaming industry in terms of realism, and some of that stuff does leak out into the gaming industry.

  6. 0
    Shadow D. Darkman says:


    On the battlefield you don’t have time for simulators. Whatever you learn and practice on the field are your best skills.


    Solid Snake FTW!


    "Game on, brothers and sisters." -Leet Gamer Jargon

  7. 0
    ConnorM5 says:

    I think Solid Snake called this one in MGS2. Jokes notwithstanding, I see this as both good and bad for the military. On the one hand, it’s a cost effective and safe way to train soldiers, from the grunt to the commander. On the other, it’s less effective and presents even more of a realistic detachment than basic in-the-field training. Though, kickass games for the private sector? I’ll take it, regardless of recruitment messages.



    "Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst."

  8. 0
    NovaBlack says:

    i totally dont get your point 😉 .

    Why wouldnt we want our soldiers using those cheats? I mean just tell the guys in iraq that they can type IDKFA to get all the guns and full ammo, and ICANFLY will let them walk through walls! Games are just like real life and i cant believe youd say otherwise! I flipped my car off a 150 ft jump today across a freeway, rolled 10 times, and kept driving safely to work. Those skills are invaluable!. Your like the guy who says santa isnt real! *sob sob sob*

    GTA can turn our army into flying, infinite ammod, rocket jumping, invicible badass mot***kers!



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