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UK Ministry of Defense Adapting Recent Video Game Shooters Into Simulations
UK Ministry of Defense Adapting Recent Video Game Shooters Into Simulations
December 29, 2011 | By Mike Rose

December 29, 2011 | By Mike Rose
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The British Ministry of Defense is looking to bring technology from recent first-person shooter war games into its simulations, in an attempt to focus the concentration of participating soldiers.

Andrew Poulter, the technical team leader at the MoD's Defense Science and Technology Laboratory, told UK newspaper The Guardian that graphical advances in the gaming industry mean that recruits now lose interest in the MoD's "clunky" simulations.

Troops are currently trained using a program called Virtual Battlespace 2, released back in 2007 and developed by Operation Flashpoint studio Bohemia Interactive. The Guardian mentions the latest releases in the Call of Duty and Battlefield franchises as the kind of titles that have taken visuals "to a new level."

"Back in the 1980s and 1990s, defense was far out in front in terms of quality of simulation," said Poulter. "Military-built simulators were state of the art."

"But now, for £50 ($77), you can buy a commercial game that will be far more realistic than the sorts of tools we were using. The truth is, the total spending on games development across the industry will be greater than spending on defence."

Poulter explained that he has been tasked with buying-in technology from recent first-person shooter releases, and replacing the entertaining gameplay with a more realistic feel.

"Certainly, there is a level of computer games experience in recruits. So the plots have to be realistic and the image generation has to be high quality."

He continued, "A lot of the older systems can be very clunky. If you put someone behind a block display, it is harder for them to be completely immersed... [but while commercial games] may look graphically beautiful, they have to be entertaining rather than realistic."

"The weapons need to be credible. If they fire a rifle and the bullet travels three and a half miles, then that is not right. If they are steering a vehicle, then that has to be right too. Realism is more important than entertainment. Levels of immersion are very important," he concluded.


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Comments


Cordero W
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""But now, for £50 ($77), you can buy a commercial game that will be far more realistic than the sorts of tools we were using."



""Certainly, there is a level of computer games experience in recruits. So the plots have to be realistic and the image generation has to be high quality."



"The weapons need to be credible. If they fire a rifle and the bullet travels three and a half miles, then that is not right. If they are steering a vehicle, then that has to be right too. Realism is more important than entertainment. Levels of immersion are very important,"



Andrew just corrected himself. Just get some top quality programmers that your money can afford, and maybe a game designer of some sort who understands the parameters of realism over entertainment, and you got yourself a simulation. Games like Battlefield and Call of Duty, though they try to simulate combat, give up too much realism for making it fit for mainstream. I could be wrong, but use them as a guideline, not a stable.

Ramon Carroll
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I agree. Using games like COD and Battlefield as military simulations is akin to deriving combat tactics from movies like Rambo and Diehard.



Its better to stick with games from the Operation Flashpoint series, ArmA, or America's Army. Those games do a much better job at exhibiting realism



Regardless of what games they use, I believe that the real-life field simulations that are used to train soldiers are much more effective. The only good reason (that I can see) to implement video game simulations would be for cost-effectiveness.

Keith Olson
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I can't imagine starting from scratch would be shorter or less expensive than altering an existing game, if it offers realistic physics and you have access to the source code. For one thing, modern games consist of a *LOT* more than just code, and replicating the resources (models, textures, etc.) needed would drive the cost of the project up substantially. For another, probably 80+% would involve re-inventing the wheel; bullet physics will be the same, as will the need for textures, etc. (OTOH, as the development of Overgrowth has shown us, it can be a good thing to re-invent a wheel; a better wheel.)

Terry Matthes
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A friend of mine adapted games for the Canadian government a few summers ago. From what I understood the games are more about effectively communicating objectives more than the technical accuracy of the weaponry involved.


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