Virtual training for U.S. Army soldiers advanced in both capability and fidelity recently with the release of Virtual Battle Space 3. Designed for units at the company level or below, its flexibility makes it applicable to the range of Army missions,
reducing costs and logistics needs for users.
Among the new features is human dimen-
sion modeling that allows soldiers to create
avatars that represent them more accurately
both in looks and abilities. Personnel can import certifi-
cations such as marksmanship qualifications or special
weapons training and personal performance data such as
physical training scores. The system also takes into account
height, weight and body mass index. The result is that
instead of superhuman avatars, the virtual soldiers look
more like their real selves and can perform in the game
only as they can in the real world.
Marco Conners, chief of Army games for training, Training and Doctrine Command Capability Manager-Virtual
and Gaming, says that developers ran hundreds of side-by-side comparisons to ensure algorithms and other factors were correct in establishing the right capabilities. “We
have found we’re about the 95 percent solution,” he says.
Feedback from soldiers reveals that they find the capability
valuable because it allows them to understand their actual
combat readiness better. They then can turn more attention
to fitness or the range. “We did not know it would have that
effect on a personal level,” Conners explains.
It also aids leadership training. Squad leaders can
determine the weakest link on a patrol, for example,
It Might Be Virtual,
But it Is Not a Game
Enhanced realism in U.S. Army systems increases efficacy.
Virtual Battle Space (VBS) 3
offers options for advanced
customization of avatars,
including physical fitness
levels and special skills.