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UK Ministry of Defense Adapting Recent Video Game Shooters Into Simulations

The British Ministry of Defense is looking to bring technology from recent first-person shooter war games into its simulations, in an attempt to focus the concentration of participating soldiers.
The British Ministry of Defense is looking to bring technology from recent first-person shooter war games into its simulations, in an attempt to focus the concentration of participating soldiers. Andrew Poulter, the technical team leader at the MoD's Defense Science and Technology Laboratory, told UK newspaper The Guardian that graphical advances in the gaming industry mean that recruits now lose interest in the MoD's "clunky" simulations. Troops are currently trained using a program called Virtual Battlespace 2, released back in 2007 and developed by Operation Flashpoint studio Bohemia Interactive. The Guardian mentions the latest releases in the Call of Duty and Battlefield franchises as the kind of titles that have taken visuals "to a new level." "Back in the 1980s and 1990s, defense was far out in front in terms of quality of simulation," said Poulter. "Military-built simulators were state of the art." "But now, for £50 ($77), you can buy a commercial game that will be far more realistic than the sorts of tools we were using. The truth is, the total spending on games development across the industry will be greater than spending on defence." Poulter explained that he has been tasked with buying-in technology from recent first-person shooter releases, and replacing the entertaining gameplay with a more realistic feel. "Certainly, there is a level of computer games experience in recruits. So the plots have to be realistic and the image generation has to be high quality." He continued, "A lot of the older systems can be very clunky. If you put someone behind a block display, it is harder for them to be completely immersed... [but while commercial games] may look graphically beautiful, they have to be entertaining rather than realistic." "The weapons need to be credible. If they fire a rifle and the bullet travels three and a half miles, then that is not right. If they are steering a vehicle, then that has to be right too. Realism is more important than entertainment. Levels of immersion are very important," he concluded.

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