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America’s Army Hits the X-Box

by david_axe on October 31, 2005

This is my first post here at Defense Tech. Noah was kind enough to let me play in the Defense Tech sandbox for a couple of days, because I’m down here in DC to cover the Serious Games Summit. My normal gig is as Technology Correspondent for The World, an international news program co-produced by the BBC World Service in London, and WGBH public radio in Boston.
After a long morning filled with alot of talk about the intersection of physical, informational, and cognitive worlds of gaming (somewhere in there I think I heard “inter-linked topologies,” but I hadn’t had much coffee yet, so…), I think I finally hit on some useful info.
America’s Army, the popular first person shooter, is coming out on X-Box on November 15th. But that’s not even half the story, or even the really good part of the story. The Army is working with numerous companies to expand AA, which started out as a recruitment and promotional tool, into an across-the-board training sim. We’re talking something that will be with a soldier from the recruiting station, to basic training, and right on through to the streets of Baghdad and Kandahar.
This isn’t just on the desktop. A stripped down Humvee, for example, can be put in what they’re calling a Seamless Synthetic Training Domain, surrounded by white walls. A gunner and driver can then sit in the Humvee, while a training scene — say it’s a convoy scenario in Mosul — plays out on 360 degrees worth of white screens. The sim records their hits and misses, the things they did right, and the things they did wrong. The soldiers wear vests that record the hits virtual baddies score on them, and the simulation adjusts accordingly. Other soldiers, linked via PC, can even play the bad guys in the scenario. All the information is recorded, and It can be fed back into the system for an After Action Review. Whoah.
More to come…
– Clark Boyd

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Mike October 31, 2005 at 9:41 pm

Some recruiting companies also have a device called a ‘laser shot’ simulator that works with certain AA scenarios like the white screen described above. There are specific restrictions on where and how it can be used, but it can be a great recruiting, and training, tool.


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