military training

All posts tagged military training

By Ed Heinbockel, Visual Purple’s President/CEO

We’ve been producing compelling simulations for 15 years now. Initially interactive video, because our clients’ hardware for the most part was 2-5 years behind the technology curve, then for the last 9 years various flavors of virtual worlds: decision (scenario) based, real-time immersive 3D, and hybrid (a user efficient mash-up of the two).

We’ve trained everything from counter-terrorism to sales training. We’ve learned over the years that our first-person thinkers play best to preventing things from going boom. Yes, boom. In other words, wherever there exists the potential for bad things to happen, you better be employing training that is realistic and sticks. That the individual needs to know what to do and now. That can often make the difference between life and death. This all means that we at Visual Purple have become obsessed with playing to the highest and best use of our technology and collective expertise. This has become our mantra and strategy for success.

So, today, you find us fervently committed to applying our F.I.S.T. toolbox to difficult situations – situations demanding of accuracy and realism in a high consequence environment – all the while lashing it all together through the power of story.

Left is good…Left of Boom, that is!

With the ringing in of the New Year it is once again time to recap the Top 5 blog posts from 2011, click on any of the below links for the full entry. Happy New Year to everyone!

Serious Gaming in the United States Military

In an article featured in the August 2011 issue of Military Training Technology the magazine asked, “What role(s) will your company best fill as the United States military turns more to the use of serious gaming in an effort to reduce the military’s training costs while maintaining the combat readiness of the warfighter?”

Virtual Worlds for the Defense Sector

The Department of Defense has been in the news on a number of occurrences in past months highlighting the use of virtual worlds by the organization. They are utilizing virtual worlds for a host of different applications, one of which deals with post-traumatic stress in our soldiers, see this story for more details. This project is called The T2 Virtual PTSD Experience and is based in Second Life. By being based in Second Life it does allow an extra layer of interactivity as the player/ trainee is able to interact with anyone else that is experiencing the simulation. It just goes to show that the immersive nature of virtual worlds make them a prime candidate for this type of training and much more!

The Uncanny Valley

The blog post title may have you scratching the top of your head a little bit…The “Uncanny Valley” is a phenomenon that leads to a reaction from an all ‘but-not-quite-right’ simulated human form, whether it be robotic or animated. The term was invented by roboticist Masahiro Mori to depict the negative emotional response ‘real’ humans exhibit when a robot (avatar) seems practically human. Appearance and action are the two biggest factors that could potentially lead to this phenomenon playing out while one is immersed in a virtual world. Thus the overall quality of the avatar is paramount in any type of training simulation, the worst thing you can do is lead the player to possess detachment from the training. The human brain never ceases to amaze me.

Virtual Learning Environments- A New Trend?

Elearning! Magazine recently came out with a report on Virtual Learning Environments: Trends and Insights. The report outlined that virtual learning environments are one of the fastest growing solutions for learning. According to the report “In a June 2010 study conducted by Elearning! Media Group, 64 percent of all corporate respondents have implemented virtual learning within their organizations, and 18 percent more plan to add them. The same study reports virtual worlds for learning will grow 250 percent over the next year to 21 percent of enterprises. At the same time, social learning and collaboration is exploding, with 77 percent of enterprise using or planning to use these tools for learning.” Let me summarize that for you in case you weren’t paying attention…64 percent of respondents have implemented virtual learning within their organizations!

What Role are you Looking to Play?

An often-overlooked critical aspect of simulation training is the best manner in which to train: individual or collectively. Visual Purple offers three modes:
1) Single Player, Single Role – The trainee will always play one role; synchronous interaction with live players not supported or desirable due to intelligent simulation world.
Available: Decision-Based, Virtual World, Hybrid, Embedded

Military forces around the world rely on computer-based simulators to provide invaluable training for today’s warfighters. More and more military branches are turning to the simulation and virtual training market to increase retention and performance of our treasured warfighters, maximizing the benefits of this training technology. Computer wargames in military training have had a good run, but not until recently have you seen more and more publicity around them… sure, we can thank the military for their secretive ways on this one. These simulations and virtual training projects train military staff in a full gamut of activities; ranging from training exercises to rehearsing for complex systems, all of which provide a diverse range of training requirements that must be met. The world’s simulation industry is growing larger and larger with the United States being the leader in the simulation and virtual training markets, followed closely by the UK. Sure, sometimes resources (mainly funding) are hard to come by meaning that a lot of potential training that could be developed never makes it from the initial proposal stage to the drawing board and eventual implementation. These mission rehearsal modeling tools are aiding in overall military readiness by streamlining training capabilities. One thing is for sure it beats the so-called BOGSAT (or Bunch of Guys Sitting Around a Table). Emerging technologies are changing the way today’s military trains-up.

Militainment, huh? Just the name makes it sound so gamey and just plain wrong for training today’s techno savvy warfighters. The title itself belies the high standards of military training today. Take for example the official U.S. Army game called America’s Army, while it is a wildly popular gaming application and not to mention a great online recruiting tool, it’s still just a game. First released in 2002 and with over 26 versions since, America’s Army continues to enjoy many new players downloading each and every day. While this type of recruitment tool will awe many of the younger video game generation- is it really an accurate depiction of one might really encounter in the service? And, does it really matter??? The U.S. Army’s seven core values are promoted and while it remains one of the most popular games downloaded and played on the Internet today it isn’t free to the Army but is a real bargain comparatively speaking. The Army has done well in drawing in younger generations connecting them with something that they already enjoy doing, playing games. According to an MIT study, 30 percent of Americans 16-24 years of age had a positive impression of the Army because of the America’s Army game.

These ‘video-game’ like technologies are changing warfare today. But is it realistic enough? Military combat and training is serious stuff. Not to be confused with a game that you hope to beat someone’s high score. Recruits eat up the game and many choose the Army (and other branches of the service) specifically because of their experience from playing the ‘game’ or ‘recruitment tool.’ While even militainment can fall into the category of serious games- is this really the right category for it to take on? What is reality? Of course I’m all for the U.S. Military’s high-tech and cost savings approach of training military personnel through simulations, but the militainment title that is strictly for entertainment/recruitment purposes should not be confused with serious combat training for our soldiers that risk their lives everyday to safe guard our freedom and keep us safe. God bless them all!

Military organizations are turning more and more to ‘serious’ game-based simulations to train war fighters. We were pleased to see that ReportLinker echoes our outlook on the military simulation and virtual training market to “increase significantly” in the future. Forecasts within the report are for the 2008- 2018 timeframe, the report projects military simulation and virtual training market will generate multi-billion dollar revenues in years to come. The report, cites difficulties with “training costs” and “time and risk of life” that have “forced military forces around the world to adapt technologies such as computer-based simulators and computer wargames in military training.” The summary notes that both combat and non-combat uses of virtual applications will rise in number.

According to ReportLinker, “Increasing concerns over training costs, time and risk of life have forced military forces around the world to adapt technologies such as computer-based simulators and computer wargames in military training. Most importantly, simulation and virtual training have so far proved to be not only cost-effective but also an effective way to train military staff in a wide range of activities. Those functions range from weapons training to flying and even medical training. Both combat and non-combat applications for military simulations and gaming technologies with increase significantly during the period 2008-2018.”

See Visual Purple’s work in embedded training technology for the military.

“- Link to”
YouTube Visual Purple Embedded Training

I just finished reading the latest issue of TSJ (Training & Simulation Journal). An editorial entitled War Gaming by Karen Walker resonated with me. The article outlines the use of serious games to meet the needs of a variety of military organizations.

A couple of key points….
-A interesting computer game simulation utilized to train military police was developed for the U.K. Ministry of Defence.
-The learner landscaping is shifting. So training Generation Y with engaging and immersive experiences through simulation training applications rather than “Death-by-PowerPoint slides” just makes sense.
-By institutionalizing and standardizing the use of gaming technology for training today’s warfighters the military is able to manage limited resources more efficiently and effectively.
-Game-based training solutions can add entertainment value and provide for education and training to succeed.
-The Army’s latest field manual, FM 7-0 is the new cornerstone for the future of Army training.
-Serious games are demonstrating that they are effective in teaching invaluable decision-making skills.

Yes, the military gaming revolution is on track and gaining momentum while utilizing serious gaming technology to prepare troops for current and future missions.

An article just released online today by World Politics Review is just another testament to the use of games for training within the military sector.

We are seeing more and more news around government entities adopting virtual worlds as pilot programs. Of course, this is a good thing… but one must wonder how many we don’t even know about.

I found this valuable article on the Army adopting the use of simulations and virtual worlds for training. It just re-iterates the value of simulators for military training purposes in preparing the next generation of warfighters.

The Air Force purchasing land and set-up “MyBase” in Second Life is another prime example. Many technologies have come together to make military simulation and virtual world training a success in the 21st century.

With the latest immersive training news that the United States Joint Forces Command is investing $36M into a technology basket of immersive training solutions, I thought it only appropriate to share some observations: While this specific example may not put users in the Enterprise holodeck, though we’re getting closer, it is yet further validation to the sheer power and efficacy of simulation. Military simulation has been around for a long time. $36M may not seem like pocket change, unless of course you’re comparing it to the “Stimulus” bill, it is most likely a real bargain in this case. Why? The military wisely decided to have JOINT (emphasis added) Forces Command, or JFCOM, take the lead as what appears to be a large scale aggregation and integration of largely off-the-shelf technologies being bolted together for specific and expanded training scenarios. As a taxpayer, we should all be happy. As a warfighter, we should thank God.