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US Army Using Game Engine for Tactical Simulation Training

by Rainier on May 6, 2008 @ 4:37 a.m. PDT

Using an off-the-shelf game engine, Cubic Applications has joined with military game maker Decisive-Point to introduce a new concept in tactical- level training called the Small Unit Immersive Training Strategy, or SUITS.

SUITS combines a range of effective training tools ranging from web-based interactive multimedia instruction to podcasts, digital training support packages, digital doctrine linkages, 2D and 3D games, automated after- action reviews, interactive video, and real-time collaborative learning technologies. These components work together to enable troops to develop cognitive skills related to tactical situations "on demand" anytime, anywhere -- even in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Immersive training fills a significant training need today and into the future, given the high deployment and operational tempo of military units," said John P. Lewis, Director of Program Integration for Cubic Applications, Inc.'s Training and Education Division in Leavenworth, Kansas. "Training systems need to provide a 24/7 capability to deliver effective training to individuals, leaders and units when deployed or preparing to deploy. Gone are the days where learners were confined to a classroom as the sole means of acquiring information. We know that we have the right training and educational approach to change how we train and learn at the tactical levels, based on positive responses from Soldiers, Marines and leaders who have tried our SUITS products."

Cubic, which has extensive experience testing, modifying and operating games for military users, collaborated with Decisive-Point to develop two SUITS modules that run on commercial game engines. Cubic's three- dimensional "On Point" module is designed to improve how squads and leaders react in a situation involving an improvised explosive device (IED). Cubic also developed the IED-related scenario for the two-dimensional "Take Charge" module, which Decisive-Point integrated to run on Decisive-Point's game engine.

SUITS represents Cubic's first foray into this type of PC gaming. Cubic tested SUITS with Army National Guard and U.S. Marine Corps units in 2007, and also demonstrated the new game-based training tool at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) in Orlando, Florida. Since then, Cubic has worked with Marines in Orlando and with Army units in Georgia and Kansas to further develop its immersive training products and add new scenarios and capabilities.

Cubic is also developing SUITS modules that can interface with the company's EST 2000 Engagement Skills Trainer, which has been deployed widely to U.S. Army, Air Force and National Guard facilities in the United States and abroad. EST 2000 is manufactured by the Cubic Simulation Systems Division in Orlando.

SUITS uses commercial, off-the-shelf technologies that operate on existing U.S. military systems, including the Marines' Deployable Virtual Training Environment (DVTE) -- the computer system and supporting software the Marines deploy for leading-edge computer-based training for its tactical units.

"The use of off-the-shelf technologies makes SUITS immediately available and cost-effective to implement," Lewis said.

Cubic Applications is a major component of the Defense segment of Cubic Corporation. Cubic Corporation is a world provider of realistic combat training systems, mission support services and defense electronics.

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