Czech Republic and Australia-based game and 'serious game' developer Bohemia Interactive has announced that it has signed an enterprise license for its Virtual Battlespace
military simulator with the Australian Defence Force (ADF), which includes provision of VBS version 1 and an update to VBS version 2 for both the ADF and the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF).
The purchase follows several years of successful VBS1 employment in Australia, which has seen VBS1 used for a range of purposes across the ADF. VBS1 was employed for limited mission rehearsal, area of operation familiarization and worst case scenario analysis during the Al Muthanna Task Group (AMTG) Mission Rehearsal Exercise (MRE) in October of 2005.
VBS1 has also been employed as part of mission rehearsal for SECDET, the rotation to the Australian Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. In addition to the operational usage, VBS1 is employed for collective training on a day-to-day basis by Australian forces at Tactical Training and Simulation Sites (TTSS) around the country.
A range of functionality enhancements were implemented in VBS1
in order to support the use of VBS1
in Australia. Guided by user feedback, the Instructor Interface module was developed to allow administrators to modify scenario elements in real time through an intuitive dialog interface. The Al Muthanna province (including the town of As Samawah) and Baghdad Green Zone were modelled in VBS1, along with hundreds of Iraqi-style objects that populate the terrain areas. A range of Iraqi-style civilian units were also provided. The VBS1 engine was improved to allow units to fire from moving vehicles, operate hatches on armoured vehicles and use binoculars when turned out.
A prototype UAV trainer was developed for the Australian Defence Simulation Office (ADSO), in addition to an interactive educational military history product designed to teach Australian service men and women about the battles of Long Tan and Coral during the Vietnam War. ‘Australians in Vietnam’ was delivered in late 2005, incorporating a cut-down version of the VBS1 engine and two Vietnam-style terrain areas modelled from topographic maps of the actual battlefields. 12 scenarios were included that recreate the experience of fighting as a soldier during these historic battles.
The Defence Simulation Office has also sponsored the development of the VBS1 - HLA gateway, which is currently being upgraded for VBS2. The gateway, developed in partnership with Calytrix, allows VBS to be integrated into the both the Joint and Army Simulation Environments for use either as a HLA visualiser (a high-fidelity 3D Stealth Viewer) or in support of training or operations. Defence personnel using VBS1 are now able to participate in large-scale actions coordinated by a constructive simulation such as Joint Semi-Automated Forces (JSAF), with full two-way communication between the VBS1 session and the external simulation via HLA.
Bohemia Interactive is also providing to the ADF a cut-down version of VBS1 for use as an interactive medium for the provision of individual training. ‘VBS1 Lite’ is to be provided to Defence personnel for home use, and will include a range of training scenarios as required. VBS1 Lite provides limited mission editing and multiplayer capabilities, designed to allow soldiers to practice collectively without having to travel to a TTSS. More information is available at the official Virtual Battlespace One website