It’s no secret that today’s soldiers train on all manner of video game-style simulators. In the United Kingdom’s Ministry of defence, British servicemen use Virtual Battlepace 2 as part of their regimen. VBS2 is a product of Bohemia Interactive, who also make the ultra-realistic shooter sim Operation Flashpoint games for the consumer market. (The U.S. Secret Service use it, too.) However, unlike the OpFlash games, VBS2 hasn’t gotten an update since 2007. In the dog years of video game engine iteration, that’s a loooong time. With recruits already having experienced the better graphics and gameplay of Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3, British military are finding that VBS2’s hoary old experience no longer holds new trainees’ attention. Bored soldiers-in-training probably aren’t what you want to be sending all over the world.
So, the Ministry of defence now wants to use the tech of more modern war games to augment their current simulators. An article at Gamasutra quotes a Andrew Poulter — technical team leader at the Ministry of Defense’s defence Science and Technology Laboratory — as saying the following in a Guardian interview:
“Back in the 1980s and 1990s, defence 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.”
With regards to acquiring or licensing the engines of modern-day titles, Poulter says that such tech would have to be tuned more towards portraying realism, as opposed to the bigger-than-life entertainment experiences they currently portray:
“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.”
So, if you think that BF3 or MW3 is too boring already, it’s probably a good thing that you won’t experience a more realistic version during military training.