The United States Army already has a videogame, America's Army, it uses as a recruiting tool. It's now turning to videogames once again to create a virtual reality training simulator. The price? $57 million.
Much of that cost is going towards equipment costs, according to a GamePro report. Kinect wasn't deemed to be "there yet, but it is getting closer" by Floyd West of Intelligent Decisions, a tech company responsible for the new Dismounted Soldier Training System. "There are different types of camera-based systems out there in the market, but they're not able to track a squad of four guys individually, which is what we do with our simulator," he said. Shooting weapons is done with the use of what's described as a joystick.
The system will be built on CryEngine 3 from Crytek, the same engine used to power Crysis 2. The goal is to create an incredibly realistic simulator for up to four soldiers to train in simultaneously, with each getting a 10-by-10-foot area to move around in while wearing a backpack with a high-end gaming laptop in it. They'll also wear a display on their helmets that leaves them still able to see to the sides. Soldiers and trainers can participate either as soldiers or other roles, like civilians or enemy combatants.
"What we're trying to do with infantry squad-level training is suspension of disbelief, and the CryEngine 3 is the best video game technology on the market today," said West. "With CryEngine 3 being used for Crysis 2 and the capabilities that game engine provides, it allows us to make the most realistic simulation possible. We're able to transport soldiers to accurately recreated locales like Afghanistan and Iraq, where we can simulate everything from visuals to 360-degree sound."
The simulator can be used for more than just simulating all-out warfare with the enemy; it can also handle things like peace operations. Participants are graded with a high score after completing a mission -- it is, essentially, a videogame, after all.
By next January, 102 of these systems will be installed around the world to train both current and future soldiers.