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America's Army Launches Initial 'Recon' July 4th

by Rainier on July 1, 2002 @ 9:45 p.m. PDT

The U.S. Army launches July 4 on the Worldwide Web a special "Recon" version of "America's Army," an innovative, realistic computer game providing civilians with an inside perspective and a virtual role in today's premier land force: the U.S. Army. (Thanks Blues).
The "America's Army" game blends two vivid simulations: "Soldiers," a role-playing portion in which players navigate life's challenges to achieve goals, and a first-person action game, called "Operations." Players can download the 220 megabyte, "Recon" version of the "Operations" game with 10 levels at websites including: GoArmy, AmericasArmy, NViDIA, FilePlanet, HomeLAN, IGN, as well as Gigex and its affiliate sites such as Yahoo! Games, PCGamer, UGO and Gamers.com, on Independence Day.

Starting this patriotic weekend, "America's Army" players will experience soldiering in a state-of-the-art, realistic new manner.

Developed by the U.S. Army and a Department of Defense team of experts in simulations and virtual environments, "America's Army" will be distributed by the Army as a free, two-CD set late this summer. In addition, the "Operations" game will appear on CD's inside top computer games magazines. It also will be available at Army events and recruiting stations.

The "Soldiers" game is rated "E" for everyone and the "Operations" game is rated "T" for teen by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board. These games are the first in a series that will provide a virtual Army experience in career fields ranging from Infantry to avionics repair.

"The launch of America's Army on the Internet marks a new chapter in the U.S. Army's history of communicating with Americans about the Army's opportunities, adventures, challenges and training," said Lt. Col. Casey Wardynski, project originator and manager of the "America's Army" game. "With this game we hope to educate young Americans and present them with a realistic, engaging view of today's modern Army and its opportunities."

In the July 4 "Recon" version the virtual soldier experience begins with basic training missions that include the rifle range, obstacle course and McKenna Urban Training Site at Fort Benning, Ga. After completing basic training, players progress to online multiplayer missions ranging from defense of the Alaskan Pipeline against terrorism as a member of the 172nd Infantry Brigade (Separate) from Fort Wainwright, Alaska, to homeland defense as a member of the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) from Fort Drum, N.Y. Throughout the summer the Army will make additional missions available for download, culminating with CD release of the full game at the end of the summer. The game was developed using the latest version of Epic Games' "Unreal Engine." and is optimized for NVIDIA GeForce2(TM) graphics processors.

The game publicly debuted May 22 at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the computer and video games industry's major convention in Los Angeles, where it launched to great acclaim. Since the launch of the game's web site more than 150,000 people registered to receive the full version of the game.

"America's Army" achieves unparalleled military realism through its in-house development and cooperation from 20 Army units. Embedded with expert knowledge, the game accurately depicts today's high-tech Army infantry units -- military equipment, training and scenario realism. Character motions are true-to-life with motion-capture of real soldiers, allowing players to participate in a truly immersive soldier experience.

The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs is the proponent for "America's Army." Game development was directed and managed by the U.S. Military Academy's Office of Economic & Manpower Analysis at West Point. The staff of the Modeling, Virtual Environment and Simulation Institute, masters and doctoral students at the military's post-graduate education facility in Monterey, Calif., developed the game's highly realistic simulations and situations. The development team worked with leading firms such as Epic Games, NVIDIA., THX Division of Lucasfilm Ltd., Dolby Laboratories, Lucasfilm Skywalker Sound, HomeLAN, and GameSpy Industries.

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