Combat Sims: Half Life Goes to Afghanistan

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After: DIVE2(click to view full) These days, soldiers deployed abroad consider video games almost a necessity of life. In the Royal Gloucestershire Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry (RGBW LI) that was deployed to Afghanistan earlier this year, so do their commanders. The realism of modern video games is allowing commanders to use these simulations in new ways, and incorporate new levels of subtlety. The British have grabbed on to the concept, and their experience is illustrative – but they are not alone by any means. Before: Half Life DIVE 2 (Dismounted Infantry Virtual Environment) is a PC-based concept demonstrator based on the hit computer game Half Life. Following discussions with Tim O’Leary of the Ministry of Defence’s Operational Training Advisory Group, the UK government worked with a small private software company and semi-private R&D firm QinetiQ to give Half Life a new life. The characters were put into uniform and given recognizable weapons, such as under slung grenade launchers, mouse hole charges and smoke and fragmentation grenades with realistic effects. Then the whole thing was dropped into a simulation of the urban warfare training ground at Copehill Down, with scenarios like house search and clearance, foot patrol – and networked […]

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