back to article Military love affair with videogames intensifies

The convergence between videogaming and real-world warfare (at least, war as seen from a Western perspective) continues to advance. The US Army has been a leader in efforts to make use of gaming memes. This has been in pursuit of recruits from the post-Nintendo generations as much as anything, but the military also seeks …

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  1. James Summerson

    Military wargaming long established

    Why does this come as any surprise?

    The militaries of many countries have long historial links with wargaming and many services fund and develop their own games for training, such as the 'Project Warrior' programme by the USAF in the early 80's - dozens of commercial board wargames came out of that particular project.

    All the US and RAF are doing are getting onto the leading edge of games, 1st / 3rd person shooters / tacsims and flightsims and more power to their elbows as I'd quite like to see what comes out in the commercial zone as a result.

    As a slight aside, I'm sure the tacsims the military use _don't_ look or play like C&C, unless the 'tank rush' is now an accepted military strategy...

  2. JJ

    Looks like good engineering to me

    Why engineer your own controller, which would have a relatively huge price attached due to low production volume and NRE costs, when you can just get something off the shelf which is cheap, ergonomic and easily available?

    Absolutely nothing wrong with using cheap COTS bits if they do the job.

    Plus you save on training the troops how to use it!

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  4. Hate2Register

    PCs to run war..

    My idea of using a Seti@Home approach (see Boinc) in conflict scenarios has merit. Imagine, the terrible waste of war blunted by the efficient use of massively networked volunteer computers managing our war effort. Before long, wars will only last minutes, as the dastardly enemy are swamped by metal spiders and genetically engineered bugs which eat gunmetal.

    To push the boat out: download a "MOD" screensaver which uses your spare computer power to model conflicts the world over. Our Queen would reign supreme again, albeit a metal version with rocket launchers instead of arms.

    Sometimes you guys are just WAY behind me.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why change things?

    Why not have the actual equipment (when possible) run by Xbox & PS2/3 controllers? Then you wouldn't even have to train most of the soldiers how to use it, as many of them are already more fluent with it than anything else, from 'civilian' training...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bradley

    Famously, the old Atari Army Battlezone derivative used a controller that was based on the gunner's handgrip of a Bradley IFV; and this controller was later used in the Atari Star Wars vector graphic game, which is why the Star Wars handgrip had redundant buttons. So if you have played Star Wars, you are basically one step away from being a fully-qualified Bradley gunner (waves hands) or thereabouts.

    For the ultimate in durability they should buy up some of the old Atari 2600 joysticks, which were indestructible. Cut some lines into the handgrip, wire in some extra buttons, voila!

  7. Nexox Enigma

    Hey lets not forget...

    ...Wii controllers. They use bluetooth and some fairly open / easy to impliment protocols. I can't really see an application where a few accelerometers wouldn't be neat. plus if the enemy ever got really close they could just disengage the wrist straps and use them as projectile weapons.

  8. Neil D W Smith

    Alternatively...

    You might suggest that they just use the default mouse and keyboard setup as it's

    A. Cheaper

    B. Familiar to many the world over for computer usage, whatever flavour.

    I realise that the number of keys involved may be frightening to some currently serving personnel but I would hope that they'd be able to adapt!

    Usage of a console controller, to me at least, implies that an effort to divorce the action from the reality is present. "It's a game controller so it must be a game!" A custom interface would at least indicate that matters were serious, not just for fun.

  9. Clay Garland

    Nah nah nah, you got it all wrong.

    This is the first phase of the United States' fully automated warfare system. In said system, people log in over their broadband connections, pay $14.99 a month, and get to control a robot overseas in a real battle. Several robot specifications are available for use, from nearly silent spy robots, to the heavily armoured heavily armed interceptor robots. After every battle, provided that your robot survives, you get medals, and you can purchase upgrades for your robot, say, upgrade him to a 7.62 NATO weapon instead of the paltry 5.56 NATO that most soldiers get to play with. This program is designed to offset the decrease in enrollment in the armed forces, as well as the plummetting physical fitness of the average military aged male in the US. The top brass are calling it the MMOWG, and expect it to be the next big thing for the millions of denizens who honed their mousing hands slaying countless krauts in classics such as Call of Duty and Medal of Honor.

  10. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Action figures???

    OFFS!

    'In the next few months, the America's Army Real Heroes action figures will be available at retail outlets. The action figures realistically portray our Real Heroes, from the weapons they use to the clothing they were wearing the day of the conflict in which they earned awards of valor.'

    I can't help but wonder if they're immortal in the video game.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tacsims...

    "As a slight aside, I'm sure the tacsims the military use _don't_ look or play like C&C, unless the 'tank rush' is now an accepted military strategy..."

    What do you think, what strategy was used in the invasion of Iraq? They sent the tanks in, with support units going after them several days later, because they wanted a suprise attack and to occupy the country before the defenders realized there was a war. This was why there were no bombings before the attack. It turned out to be a good strategy, especially that there were no real defenders at all. The problem with a tank rush is that you supposed to raze the buildings and kill the civilians at the end because you are not equipped for long term occupation. (yes, the first computer based war sim was installed in the pentagon, so gamers took them up later)

    About the xbox controller: I've seen the photo several weeks ago on a news site with the xbox controller hanging from one soldier's backpack during a training. It's a cheap way to get trained soldiers. That's why the us army used tracktor controls on most of its tanks, so soldiers who came from the country could drive them without training. Nowdays, most people who enlist have played halo on the xbox...

    And yes, there was a remote hunting website with the ability to kill something from your keyboard and now the us south border can be watched by anyone via webcams. And the predator operators don't really leave las vegas... It is possible to enlist citizen soldiers (national guardsmen) for remote duty as robot operators so they get to do their civilian jobs too.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Young Women

    I don't know were to look for the statistics on young women serving in the military in Irag, but it is mentioned in passing here:

    //repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?

    article=1000&context=psc_working_papers

    "18.9% of blacks in Iraq are women, compared to 9.1% of non-blacks. "

    Maybe the number of women who play war games is higher than you expected?

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