The United States Army is using Crytek’s CryEngine 3 game engine technology to create a new simulation to help train soldiers. The Army plans to spend $57 million on the project. The technology that will go into the simulation and the technology to use it is being developed by Orlando-based Intelligent Decisions. The Dismounted Soldier Training System (DSTS) enables soldiers and units to train inside a video game environment that features real weather conditions, realistic graphics, squad-based interactions, and advanced motion sensor technology that provides full 360-degree movement within the game.
"What we’re trying to do with infantry squad-level training is suspension of disbelief, and the CryEngine 3 is the best video game technology on the market today," said Floyd West, Director of Strategic Programs, Orlando Division of Intelligent Decisions. "With CryEngine 3 being used for Crysis 2 and the capabilities that game engine provides, it allows us to make the most realistic simulation possible. We’re able to transport soldiers to accurately recreated locales like Afghanistan and Iraq, where we can simulate everything from visuals to 360-degree sound."
The system consists of a head-mounted display and a special backpack called a "man wearable system" that contains a beefy portable computing system. The setup also uses a 10-by-10 foot pad for each soldier to operate in, voice communication, and a joystick for firing various weapons.
"The goal is to complete common operating environments, so the things the Army is doing today would be Afghanistan, the mountainous, cavernous regions, and the Iraqi desert-like regions, as well as wooded areas," said West. "We have some geotypical and common operating environments built-in for training, but the system will come with an editor that allows real missions to be created in the field."
The technology also allows for modification of conditions in the field. Older methods would require Special Forces or other soldiers to use aerial photography, schematics, or reconnaissance briefings prior to deployment.
The Army hopes to have 102 systems in place globally in January 2012.