MoD training simulations forced to keep up with modern gaming

by Dale Wright

Last year saw the release of the third instalment of the popular Call of Duty: Modern Warfare gaming series. Now the Ministry of Defence (MoD) have admitted that they have been forced to update their own simulated training games in order to keep up with the advances in modern gaming.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the military were renowned for having the most advanced state of the art defence simulations. For the first time, soldiers didn’t just train on obstacle courses or complete ten-mile runs with a twenty pound backpack. Video simulations were introduced as a part of their routine to prepare them for the dangers on a battleground.

However, it appears that the gaming industry has caught up and even overtaken the technology that the military have been using.

Andrew Poulter from the MoD’s Defence Science and Technology lab is in charge of keeping  up with the advances in the latest Call of Duty, Killzone and Battlefield games. Many new recruits have already played all of the best Xbox and Playstation war games, and the MoD found that their simulations needed radical improvement just to keep their attention.

Mr Poulter runs Project Kite which buys in technology from the games industry and adapts it to become as realistic as possible. The guns in the games need to be changed so that they no longer have a range of three miles, and tank controls have to be re-written to give the trainees the the most accurate simulation possible. Other types of simulations have to be developed, such as how to combat a fire aboard an aircraft, or what to do if a convoy is hit by a roadside bomb. The MoD hope that Project Kite will put them back at the forefront of simulated training.

Troops have been trained on a modified game called Virtual Battlespace 2 which can test their responses to mortar fire. Mr Poulter believes that two soldiers in Afghanistan had drilled themselves on the game so much that it had helped to save their lives in a real-life combat situation.

What do you think is the most realistic war game?