The US Army has been an early adopter of using video game technology as part of combat training. Virtual reality systems, such as the Dismounted Soldier Training System (DSTS), even put the soldier into the “game,” using body sensors and virtual reality goggles.
But now the Army is doing this with soldiers in a different way—using their actual physical fitness to affect how their on-screen avatars look and perform in simulation.
Virtual Battlespace 3, developed by Bohemia Interactive, is a full-on, multiplayer, networked first-person shooter for the military set, designed both for combat training and actual mission rehearsal. Its predecessor, Virtual Battlespace 2, became the standard simulator for NATO ground forces training, and it’s been in use for more than five years. But now the Army is rolling out VB3 as its “flagship” virtual training platform and incorporating it into virtual reality systems like the DSTS and the Close Combat Tactical Trainer, in part because of the added realism of the latest simulator.
Part of that realism is in avatar customization. If a soldier is overweight, their avatar will be overweight too. “When they tested this last year,” Robert Munsey, an analyst with the Army’s Training and Doctrination Command (TRADOC) Capability Manager for Virtual and Gaming, told the Army News Service, “one of the soldiers said, ‘I look fat.’ And the other soldier sitting right next to him said, ‘That’s because you are fat.’”
Related stories From Daily Tech Whip