This is pretty cool. Nothing like this was going on when I was in the army. The US Army has set up a project office just for building video games. The military has been training troops for decades now with video games. But this is the first wing of the armed forces dedicated exclusively for gaming. One of the first projects: a tool kit that would let soldiers “build and customize their own training scenarios ? just like the Marines’ did, adapting “Armed Assault” for military purposes. The marines pioneered this concept with its “Virtual Battlespace 2” or its “Marine Doom“.

The army is not about to start handing out copies of doom or unreal tournament to the troops. ?I haven?t seen a game built for the entertainment industry that fills a training gap,? said Col. Jack Millar, director of the service?s Training and Doctrine Command?s (TRADOC) Project Office for Gaming, or TPO Gaming. Instead, the new office — part of the Army’s Kansas-based National Simulation Center — will focus on using video game graphics to make those dull military simulations more realistic, and better-looking.

TPO Gaming, the ones who handled the army’s first foray into the field,”America’s Army” that was heavily used to recruit potential soldiers, Will also be starting work on a tool kit that will let soldiers build and customize their own training scenarios without waiting for a contractor to do it for them. The Americas Army” game proved so popular it became a military training tool. The Army has also poured millions into the Institute for Creative Technologies at the University of Southern California, to use Hollywood know-how to develop next-gen sims. But while some military offices encourage video game development, others are looking to crack down on the games troops play. We’ll have to see how this one plays out in the future. It looks as if tomorrows soldier will be a high tech one.

I may have to do a follow up to this one with the Marines approach to simulations.

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