Oklahoma University Researchers get $10.7 Million Grant for Video Game Development

October 26, 2011 -

An Oklahoma research team led by communications professor Norah Dunbar and the Air Force Research laboratory have managed to score an unprecedented grant of $10.7 million USD to develop a video game to train intelligence officers in the government.

Dunbar, along with Scott Wilson, associate director for Innovative Technologies at the OU K20 Center, is overseeing the development of the game, which is called Intelligence Crisis: codename MACBETH (or "Mitigating Analysts Cognitive Bias by Eliminating Task Heuristics").

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Eight Million Players Took Part in Battlefield 3 MP Beta Test

October 18, 2011 -

EA's studio DICE has released some interesting stats from its recent Battlefield 3 online multiplayer beta test that are worth mentioning. According to DICE's internal figures, around 8,125,310 players took part in the multiplayer beta test. In fact DICE even counted how many bullets were shot during the entire test! Players fired a total of 47 billion bullets and killed 1.5 billion other players. Around 19 million of those players were killed with a knife, while an additional 21 million COM-stations were destroyed.

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U.S. Army Uses Strategy Game to Teach Cultural Awareness

October 13, 2011 -

The United States Army is testing a new PC strategy game that teaches captains who are being deployed to Afghanistan how to think like local village elders do. The game is called CultureShock: Afghanistan and is being tested at the U.S. Army Engineer School via the captains’ career course at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. The purpose of the game, according to its creators is to teach cultural awareness and to show officers what drives the decision making process of local leaders whom U.S. forces will have to encounter and communicate with.

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Pipeworks Head Resigns Over Military Records

October 12, 2011 -

Robert Daly, who served as the head of Foundation 9 Entertainment's wholly owned studio, Pipeworks, today resigned, after several weeks of criticism over what some former military men were calling faked credentials. Daly became the target of harsh criticism when professionalsoldiers.com obtained his military records from the US's National Personnel Records Center and United States Army Special Operations Command, which showed he was an analyst, rather than a Special Forces soldier - which he publicly claimed to be a member of numerous times.

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OfCom to Investigate ITV over Documentary that Used ARMA 2 Footage

October 10, 2011 -

According to the Guardian, the independent UK broadcasting watchdog OfCom is examining ITV's use of footage from the Bohemia's ARMA 2 videogame in a documentary special that was presented as an IRA film from 1988. The video was shown during the show Exposure and was presented to viewers as real footage showing the IRA using weapons provided by Muammar Gaddafi.

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Pipeworks Studio Head Accused of Faking Military Credentials

October 7, 2011 -

According to this IndustryGamers report, Pipeworks studio lead Robert Daly has been called out publically over his claims that he served in the U.S. Special Forces. Pipeworks is the developer behind the Deadliest Warrior video game, which is based on the popular Spike TV show of the same name.

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Why Blackwater Game Creators Want to Avoid Controversy

October 4, 2011 -

Speaking to the Associated Press, Blackwater founder Erik Prince and Zombie Studios lead designer Richard Dormer talk about why their upcoming Kinect game based on the controversial security firm has decided to steer clear of blood, killing civilians, swearing, and moral dilemmas.

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Operation Supply Drop Successfully Deploys Game Packages to Active Duty Troops

July 29, 2011 -

Operation Supply Drop, a [501(c)(3)] non-profit charity that creates video game care packages for American servicemen and women deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, has collected $10,000 in donations in its seven months of existence. The group says that this is all thanks to the public which has been very generous in giving them the funds they need to fill the request for video game filled care packages to units in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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U.S. Army Developing Training Sim Using CryEngine 3

May 27, 2011 -

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.

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Gamers Outreach Foundation Plans Memorial Day Charity Event

May 23, 2011 -

To celebrate the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend Gamers Outreach Foundation will host a 24-hour game-a-thon charity with the proceeds going towards entertainment products for troops deployed overseas. Gamers Outreach Foundation has teamed up with The Game Fanatics to offer a cool way for gamers to show appreciation to the military. The Game Fanatics is supporting the Gamers Outreach Foundation’s military division (Fun for Our Troops). Money raised through the fundraiser will go towards a portable gaming kiosk that will be donated to the Dallas Veteran's Affairs Medical Center in Dallas, TX. Gamers can also donate games and consoles to GOF.

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Chinese People's Liberation Army Developing Military Simulation

May 17, 2011 -

The United States Army isn't the only military outfit that has a video game; the Chinese People's Liberation Army has apparently helped develop a similar first-person shooter alongside Chinese game development studio Wuxi Giant Interactive Group.

In development for nearly two years, the military simulation follows the daily grind of a typical CPLA soldier. The scenario takes players through the paces, learning various military tactics and culminates in a large-scale military battle. The game is called Mission of Honor and offers several modes including basic training, solo missions and team-based combat.

We assume the goal of Mission of Honor is similar to that of America's Army: as a recruitment and early training tool for young males in their late teens.

The game will be released soon, though how it will be distributed is still a mystery.

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U.S. Navy Uses MMO to Train for Real-World Piracy

May 10, 2011 -

The United States Navy has begun crowd sourcing ideas for fighting Somali pirates using a massively multiplayer game, according to a Fast Company report. Using a new game platform called MMOWGLI (Massive Multiplayer Online WarGame Leveraging the Internet), U.S. military forces and Civilian players on converging on virtual pirates. MMOWGLI is the product of years of research, and will feature 1,000 military and civilian players. It will launch on May 16. The new program is the first effort by the military to integrate both crowd sourcing and gamification into traditional military wargames.

MMOWGLI was developed by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to test the feasibility of using massively multiplayer online games to solve difficult strategic problems like real-world high seas piracy. The MMOWGLI game launching in May focuses on combating Somalian piracy, but the gaming platform is designed to be open enough that it can be adapted to other military hotspots and situations.

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U.S. Army, Air Force Certify Unity Technology

May 10, 2011 -

The United States Army and the Air Force have officially certified Unity development technology for use on the military's secure networks. This includes the company's game development technology and its Unity Web Player. More importantly, this allows would-be game developers and projects designed to creates serious games and other applications to do so. This also means that software developed for training can now be installed on networks, laptops and mobile devices used in the field.

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Military Billing Options for Soldiers Hit Xbox Live

May 3, 2011 -

Microsoft’s Larry Hryb (aka Major Nelson) announced via his official blog that military personnel will now have an easier time when conducting commerce on Xbox Live. One of the biggest requests from soldiers serving in the military is to have the ability to use "Military States" as billing addresses. Today Microsoft is allowing just that. As of today Xbox Live now accepts AA (Armed Forces of the Americas), AE (Armed Forces Europe) and AP (Armed Forces Pacific) as options for credit card addresses. To make changes to these addresses, simply makes changes to the billing section on Xbox.com.

"We hope this makes it easier for the men and women in the United States Armed Forces to stay connected to the Xbox LIVE community," said Hryb in the post announcing the new changes.

"Thank you for everything you do," he added.

Indeed, anything that makes it easier for Americans serving our country is a good thing.

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Study: Low-Level Electricity Helps Improve Game Performance

April 18, 2011 -

Here's an odd study to consider: using a 9 volt battery can make your skills at gaming better - as long as you can stand some small level voltage running through your head. According to an odd DARPA-funded study, running low-level electricity through the scalp might help the mind focus on tasks such as video games. The research used low-level electricity in concert with a military training game to test the theory. Researchers found that test subjects playing a military training game had improved performance when they were affected by transcranial direct-current stimulation (tCDS).

Sponges connected to the temples of subjects generated an electrical current were attached to their temples. Then the test subjects played DARWARS Ambush!, a simulation game designed to help train soldiers for serving in Iraq. The simulation lets players scan for dangers on a landscape, such as improvised explosive devices or enemy gunmen.

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DARPA Taps Consumers for New Technology

April 6, 2011 -

The Department of Defense have developed a new simulation technology to help the Navy track enemy submarines and they are testing it by rolling it into a commercial computer game. The Defense Advanced Research Project Arm's Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) software simulates tracking the evasive maneuvers used by submarines. The agency says that the software will soon be rolled into the ACTUV program's computers.

But the real kicker is who will get to test this new technique: simulation game players. DARPA has integrated it into the Dangerous Waters computer game by Sonalysts Combat Simulations and has made the ACTUV Tactics Simulator available online as a free download as well.

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IED Disposal Training Using Video Games

March 18, 2011 -

American military research and manufacturing company Picatinny Arsenal, has created the Robotic Vehicle Trainer, a "realistic" video game that can be used to train soldiers to operate bomb disposal robots. Picatinny Arsenal has received a patent for "a process to safely train soldiers how to operate a variety of robots used in Iraq and Afghanistan to detonate improvised explosive devices, or IEDs."

The company created Robotic Vehicle Trainer to give soldiers a realistic simulation of IED removal in a combat environments. The game uses the same controls used for the real-world robots used in Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD).

Robotic Vehicle Trainer was created by Bernard Reger, chief of the Combat Support & Munitions Systems Branch under the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Centre (ARDEC).

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An iPhone App for Training Patriot Missile Crews

February 23, 2011 -

The U.S. Army has enlisted developer C² to develop seven iPhone apps that teach Patriot missile crews how to launch missiles at targets, according to a report in The Escapist. The developer has completed the first app and delivered it to the army, and is already working on the second. The first app teaches "launch station march orders and emplacement," using a combination of video from real launch crews in action, illustrations, and other visual aids. The app is meant to be used in a classroom with an instructor, according to the report.

Obviously, these apps are not for public consumption. Future apps from C² for the Army will help train missile crews in specific areas (from The Escapist report):

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Wikileaks Video Inspires Street Art

December 20, 2010 -

More art inspired by Wikileaks has made its way to the streets. Art that merges still images taken from a leaked video and HUD imagery from Halo 3 has been released as street art in Valencia, California. The unique art went up last week. The imagery is a combination of Halo 3 HUD elements and stills taken from a video leaked by Wikileaks in which U.S. soldiers shoot at civilians from a helicopter. The video shows two Reuter's reporters and unarmed civilians being murdered. The overlay, one would guess, is that the soldiers operating the helicopter were shooting at people as if it was a "video game."

This is the second piece of art from artist "Sandwich," whose first piece showed a picture of Wikileaks front man Julian Assange with the message "If you don't know, now you know."

See it full screen here.


The Power of the PS3

November 30, 2010 -

The U.S. Air Force is set to unveil a $2 million super computer comprised primarily of PlayStation 3's on Wednesday. Called its fastest super computer to date, the new system has been codenamed "the Condor Cluster" by the Department of Defense.

Researchers at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio used off-the-shelf PlayStation 3's and traditional graphical processing computer components to create the system. The Condor Cluster will reportedly be used for radar enhancement and recognition capabilities, according to the Air Force.

The Air Force added that the $2 million price tag is about 10 - 20 times cheaper than what it would normally cost to build such a system.

Source: UPI

5 comments

“Strange” Tender for Canadian Armed Forces Seeks 500 Games

November 18, 2010 -

Canada’s Department of National Defence has submitted a federal government tender request for 500 videogames.

Among the games requested, according to The Star, are 93 copies of Gears of War, 82 copies in total of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and 36 copies of Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock. All in all, it’s estimated that the total value of the games sought is around $25,000.

Capt. Sandra Bourne, a spokesperson for the Canadian Forces, said about the order, “It’s a strange one.”

Notably absent from the list—Medal of Honor, which Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay criticized earlier this year.

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“Teenager’s Dream” Used in Army Training

November 16, 2010 -

Wired’s Danger Room columnist recently took a trip to the Association of the U.S. Army conference held in Washington D.C. to get a look at the latest and greatest gadgets that contractors are developing for America’s armed forces.

Among the items was a videogame, dubbed Call of Duty: Afghanistan by Wired, which allows trainees to work on a variety of skills, including maneuvering and leadership tactics.

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Stars and Stripes: Plenty of Violent Games in AAFES Stores

October 8, 2010 -

While Electronic Arts made the adjustment to rename the Taliban to “Opposing Force” in the multiplayer part of Medal of Honor, a ban on the game appearing in GameStop stores located in Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) locations is still in place.

The decision by AAFES officials puzzled a Stars & Striped columnist, who inventoried other violent games available in AAFES locations, such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Grand Theft Auto IV.

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Before EA Caved, ex-Congressman and General Gave MOH Grief

October 5, 2010 -

While there’s no doubt Electronic Arts totally succumbed to pressure when it removed the Taliban (in name only) from the upcoming Medal of Honor videogame, a letter written to the Colorado Retail Council (CRC) by a former Congressman and ex-Air Force General shows the type of opponents EA was assembling as media hysteria about the game spread.

In a letter dated September 30, just a day before EA announced its change to Medal of Honor, former Colorado Republican Congressman Scott McInnis and Bentley Rayburn (pictured left and right respectively), a retired U.S. Air Force General, affixed their names to a letter urging the CRC to denounce the Medal of Honor game.

As seen on the Colorado Springs Independent website, the pair argued their case to CRC President Christopher Howes, calling the ability to play as the Taliban a “complete disgrace” and adding that “out of respect to our troops no retailer in Colorado should sell it.”

The duo continued:

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National Guard Leveraging Games in Recruitment Fight

September 21, 2010 -

The Michigan Army National Guard will use a combination of college football and videogames in an attempt to bolster its ranks.

The organization will be at the October 9th University of Michigan versus Michigan State University game in Ann Arbor to recruit new members, armed with a tent and 30 videogames to play, which will be provided by touring game specialist Interactive Game Experience.

Major Lavetta Bennet, in charge of the Michigan Army National Guard’s Recruiting and Retention Battalion, told the Detroit Free Press, “This is one of those creative ways for us to be in conversation with them, especially in a video game age.”

Halo: Reach was listed as among the games that will be used to lure potential recruits to the tent.


GameStop Stores on Military Bases Won’t Sell MOH

September 2, 2010 -

GameStop announced today that "out of respect for our past and present men and women in uniform we will not carry Medal of Honor in any of our AAFES based stores". AAFES, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, is responsible for commercial sales on military posts and often includes outside vendors such as GameStop.

Based on the language reported by Kotaku, it appears that the request actually came from AAFES and is simply being honored by GameStop. From the email to GameStop employees earlier today, "GameStop fully supports AAFES in this endeavor and is sensitive to the fact that in multiplayer mode one side will assume the role of Taliban fighter."

Soap Star is New Face of Wounded Warrior Virtual Rehab Program

August 10, 2010 -

All My Children actor J.R. Martinez (pictured) is the new spokesperson for Rehabbing with the Troops, a virtual rehabilitation program that links wounded U.S. military personnel with professional athletes via webcam as they work out using a Nintendo Wii.

Martinez himself is an ex-infantryman who suffered burns to more than 40 percent of his body in 2003 while serving in Iraq. He will work out with wounded warriors from Season One of Rehabbing with the Troops, which kicked off in June and wraps up on August 21 in New Orleans. Members of the Super Bowl champions Saints acted as this year’s pro trainers.

Martinez said about his new role, “This program is so important—it raises awareness of the challenges facing wounded warriors while giving each participant a source of motivation and a goal to work toward.”

Participants in the virtual rehab document their workouts on the Wounded Warrior Arena website. More on what a season consists of:

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Institute for Creative Technologies Continues to Churn Out Troop Helping Tech

June 22, 2010 -

Miller-McCune went inside the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) and came out armed with information on new trainers and simulators helping U.S. troops.

The center is hard at work on fleshing out (get it?) virtual human technology, which the piece’s author states “will most certainly be used in many training and educational roles” in the future. The technology will also inevitably make its way to consumer-based videogames, at least according to ICT’s Bill Swartout, who thinks we will all be talking to our games and “interacting with people who’re talking back” eventually.

One of the ICT’s latest creations is the Mobile Counter-IED Interactive Trainer (MCIT). As shown in the embedded video, the trainer, housed in trailers (hence, mobile) lets users train on both sides of the “game,” both as soldier’s looking to spot IEDs and insurgent’s trying to figure out the best place to plant them.

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Air Force to Add More High-tech Trainers

June 16, 2010 -

The U.S. Air Force will continue to ramp up its flight simulation and training capabilities with the addition of up to 20 F-16 Mission Training Centers (MTC) on American, European and Pacific bases.

Each MTC is made up of four high-definition simulators featuring InterSense Inc.’s IS-900 inertial/ultrasonic tracking technology (demonstrated in the embedded video) combined with Link Simulation & Training’s—a division of L3—SimuSphere HD or Advance Helmet Mounted Display (AHMD).

The resulting technology allows F-16 pilots to “detect, identify and engage targets from the same apparent distance as when flying a real mission -- creating an optimum environment for advanced pilot training, tactics validation and mission rehearsal. “

The end result looks something like this.

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Philly Army Experience Center to Close

June 10, 2010 -

A high-tech, videogame-laden Army recruiting center in Philadelphia that was often the center of controversy and protests is shutting down at the end of July.

The Army Experience Center cost approximately $12 million to build and was launched in August of 2008. The 14,500 square foot facility, located in the Franklin Mills Mall, was consistently targeted with protests led by a coalition of national peace groups that operated the website Shutdown the Army Experience Center.  The activists felt that the Army Experience Center glorified killing and depicted war as a game with its realistic simulators.

The protest group claimed victory, stating that the Army center was closed at least partly due to its efforts, noting that it had another planned protest in the works for Saturday, June 19.

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Wonderkarpalright Fudge05/28/2015 - 9:27am
MechaCrashWhat good is being one of the perpetually offended if you don't make sure everybody sees just how offended you are?05/28/2015 - 9:02am
james_fudgeYou two can reasonably slug it out in the article in question if you want :)05/28/2015 - 8:59am
MechaCrashI wasn't expecting you to drag it into the shoutbox, either. Just when I think I have you pegged, you prove me only MOSTLY right.05/28/2015 - 8:55am
MechaCrashWhat argument? You made a joke in bad taste. I made a response joke in similar bad taste. And you are going berserk with...okay, not the flavor of HOW DARE YOU I was expecting (I thought you'd No True Scotsman, instead you dodged it entirely).05/28/2015 - 8:52am
Wonderkarpfyi, thats a self made "REDACTED" to make Mr Fudges life a little easier.05/28/2015 - 8:50am
Wonderkarphow is calling somebody out for being a [REDACTED] throwing a Tantrum? Is it cause you cant dispute my argument?05/28/2015 - 8:46am
MechaCrash"Grow a thicker skin," says the person throwing a tantrum that's filling the shoutbox.05/28/2015 - 8:40am
Wonderkarpbeen a bombing had Sarkeesian spoke, because there would be an increase police presence and nobody is THAT STUPID to make a threat like that and follow through. This isnt the movies05/28/2015 - 8:35am
WonderkarpIts what you make of them. GamerGate in DC had a bomb threat. Police were there, but GG continued to enjoy themselves and have a good time. Bomb Threats in general, you give them to the police and continue your business. I guarantee there wouldnt have05/28/2015 - 8:34am
MechaCrashhttp://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/58521856-78/sarkeesian-usu-video-feminist.html.csp Remember the talk Sarkeesian had to cancel because of death threats? Yeah. That's the thing I'm talking about.05/28/2015 - 8:30am
WonderkarpI'm not defending Bomb Threats. They are idiotic and have no place in society, but as somebody who lived through several bomb threats I can tell you they are weak05/28/2015 - 8:29am
WonderkarpSchool Shootings on the other hand are violent events that end the lives of children and come without proper warning due to mental illness and gun laws.05/28/2015 - 8:28am
Wonderkarpcause Bomb Threats are what you make of them. No successful bombing in the US has had a threat posted about it beforehand. Boston Marathon? Okahoma City? You either handle it with caution or dont handle it at all. most of the time ar done as stupid pranks05/28/2015 - 8:27am
Infophile@MechaCrash: One difference is that there's actual evidence linking GGers (or their ideological allies) to bomb threats, and no link to school shootings. For instance, we hate Jack Thompson here, but let's not accuse him of eg. committing grand theft auto05/28/2015 - 8:26am
james_fudgeGo to your corners and let the cutman do his work.05/28/2015 - 8:21am
MechaCrashHm, yes, "lol aGGs make bomb threats" is vastly different from "lol gaters threaten school shootings." Yes, I see the error of my ways! ...wait, no I don't, I see that you're still a hypocrite who can dish it out but not take it.05/28/2015 - 8:21am
WonderkarpThere is a big difference between what I said and what you said.05/28/2015 - 8:13am
MechaCrashNot that it stops you, of course.05/28/2015 - 8:11am
james_fudgeI have edited your comments. They were both inappropriate.05/28/2015 - 8:11am
 

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