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Microsoft Game Software Preps Soldiers For Battle

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the blue-screen-of-real-death dept.

Microsoft 44

coondoggie writes "Soldiers may go into battle better prepared to handle equipment and with a greater knowledge of their surroundings after an intellectual property licensing deal Monday between Microsoft and Lockheed Martin that will deepen the defense giant's access to visual simulation technology. The intellectual property agreement between the two focuses on Microsoft ESP, a games-based visual simulation software platform for the PC."

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Confused. Didn't they kill off ESP with flightsim? (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30294192)

My understanding was that earlier this year Microsoft fired most of the guys in Aces Studios (who build MSFS and ESP) and killed off the MS Flight Simulator franchise. Very confused. I'm going to have to do some googling tonight.

Re:Confused. Didn't they kill off ESP with flights (2, Funny)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 4 years ago | (#30294638)

My understanding was that earlier this year Microsoft fired most of the guys in Aces Studios (who build MSFS and ESP) and killed off the MS Flight Simulator franchise. Very confused. I'm going to have to do some googling tonight.

It's because it has been shown that most soldiers used Solitaire to prep for battle and that further investments were unnecessary.

Not Games (1)

Das Auge (597142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296542)

It has nothing to do with games. It has to do with the OS.

Believe me, having to deal with Vista has made me want to kill like nothing else.

Re:Confused. Didn't they kill off ESP with flights (2, Informative)

He Who Has No Name (768306) | more than 4 years ago | (#30298650)

They *did*. I cleaned my office out January 23rd.

I have no idea what they think they're going to do with that license. My understanding is that it doesn't include access to the codebase (which is truly Byzantine code), so it's essentially like licensing somebody the graphics engine they used to make the CGI for the original TRON. Nobody's left anymore who can explain to them how it works or how to use it.

Those of us that were at ACES are just shaking our heads going "...huh?"

Re:Confused. Didn't they kill off ESP with flights (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30300930)

What MS did to FS was tragic. Watching the series dragged through the mud with FSX and then canned was literally depressing. I can only image what it was like for someone working on the code base. When I want to fire up a flight sim it's still usually FS2004, but I've lost my enthusiasm for the product since it was killed. I use to plan my computer purchases around it. (I still have a 3 screen setup). C'est la vie. It'll be decades before anything succeeds MSFS (if anything does in my life time that is. I own X-Plane and it just doesn't cut it)

I/ITSEC (3, Informative)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30294194)

I was at I/ITSEC [iitsec.org] today. ( Interservice/Industry Training Simulation & Education Conference ) It was completely off the hook. There was an entire section devoted to what they called "Serious Games" and a few of them were actually fun to play and educational at the same time.
    Of course a lot of the other stuff was quite a bit like a game as well, just involving high dollar hardware that most gamers could never afford. They had a simulator for dismounted troops that involved wearing VR gear inside what was basically a giant hamster ball set up on a frame that allowed it to roll around while staying in one place. I saw a number of demos for what they called organic tracking I think. Imagine something like Natal [xbox.com] but in a large area with cameras overhead, all around. They seemed to be pushing it as less expensive as sensors were not required on each individual. Still didn't look cheap. And of course there were tons of simulators for flying and driving that looked pretty typical. Still very cool.
It was wall to wall military folks and defense contractors and pretty much anyone looking to sell to the military or related type stuff. I saw a simulator for law enforcement that was pretty slick. It was all CGI so unlike the type that use film, the person in the simulator could affect the outcome. Pretty wild.
I think the game thing has been going on for some time and will continue to develop inside and outside the military. One game I looked at was for teaching Information Security. They said most threats were physical and so the game focused on that. The dude telling me about it claimed that people would finish the training but continue to play the game on their own. He said retention of skills and information went up with each repetition. It was interesting but I am somewhat skeptical on how much someone would play it. It looked a bit boring.

Re:I/ITSEC (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30297580)

If they would price those thing at a more reasonable rate, I think that arcades could make a comeback

Re:I/ITSEC (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30298014)

I don't think there is a huge incentive to do that. I saw a banner on a booth that read, "The government will spend 3 trillion dollars this year. Are you getting your fair share?" I didn't see what they were selling.

My friend that got me in works in a lab at the University of Central Florida. As we walked in he said something like "Now you can see what can be built with a virtually unlimited budget."

I think a lot of this stuff can't be made less expensive. So it would be hard if not impossible to do and there is a buyer that has no problem spending more.

Re:I/ITSEC (1)

tibman (623933) | more than 4 years ago | (#30300956)

Yeah, we've been using those kinds of simulators for a while.. they are fantastic. I have even used a squad sized simulator once that was setup like a firing line. We were in defensive positions and had to shift fire and move our heavy weapons depending on the incoming forces.

But the one/two man simulators are a lot of fun (and good training). Good for peace-keeping type scenarios that involve dialog and more decision making. Like we would be watching a market place and two people come running past.. one catches the other and starts yelling "thief!". We would issue commands or questions and a tech guy sitting on the side changes the gamestate based on our actions/words. Usually a weapon draw would escalate the scenario really quickly and people get shot. On the other hand, sometimes you had to go straight to deadly force and that is the correct action.

It changes the training from book education to hands on exercise in a very controlled way. Which might be doable on a small scale but probably impossible on the squad scale without computers.

Oh no... (0)

Jazz-Masta (240659) | more than 4 years ago | (#30294250)

This will be interesting when soldiers begin to bluescreen on the battlefield.

Commanding Officer: So what happened out there?
Soldier: Well, Bill got freaked out, said he didn't know what to do...said the simulation stopped whenever a baddy got too close.
Commanding Officer: So what happened?
Soldier: Well, he just froze up, completely. I hit him a couple times, even re(peatedly) booted him, nothing.
Commanding Officer: Where's Bill now?
Soldier: He finally reanimated and ran off screaming something about a pagefault.

I did 3D computer simulated training in the Army (1)

Animal Farm Pig (1600047) | more than 4 years ago | (#30294320)

It was awesome.

First, I got to navigate in real 3D through the narrow doorway in a JNN shelter out to a generator, where I flipped a couple switches. Then, I got to navigate in real 3D virtual reality back into the shelter to flip a few more switches on the power system. Then, I could see my character in spectacular CGI inserting the CIK into my TACLANE, and using the four button interface to enter the correct static IP and subnet mask from the cut sheet. The special effects when booting the NIPR & SIPR workstations were spectacular! I'm so glad the Army invested in such high-tech 3D virtual world buzz-word compliant training equipment.

Of course, there's still a lot of work to be done. Many important soldier tasks don't use have 3D computer based training aids. I await with baited breathe the release of 3D floor buffing, the first person grass cutting & rock painting simulator, and virtual six-hours-standing-in-a-fucking-formation.

the last thing microsoft needs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30294360)

...is a defense contract

Photoshop request... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30294372)

You know the floating stone head [wikipedia.org] scene at the beginning of Zardoz, with the famous(ly bizarre) "the gun is good, the penis is evil" speech?

I want to see a suitable photoshop of a giant Steve Ballmer head delivering that message to a bunch of CGI land warrior types.

http://www.game4power.com (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30294462)

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I shot the bad guy, but not the guy next to me (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 4 years ago | (#30294424)

"Soldiers may go into battle better prepared...
after an intellectual property licensing deal...
will deepen the defense giant's access to visual simulation technology...
The intellectual property agreement....."

is a damn sight different than "Microsoft Game Software Preps Soldiers For Battle"

With all the equivocation, inaccuracy and future tense in the text, it's pretty obvious that in this case at least Microsoft game software isn't doing squat for soldiers, and won't until MS preps themselves to help L-M get busy actually making some. Until and unless that happens phrasing the title as if it's happening at the moment is more than misleading, it's an outright lie. Apparently Network World needs readership so bad it has to resort to false titles to grab readers, besides resorting to covering things not at all network related.

Simulation in military training is far from new. 25 years ago recruits practiced firing M-16s on simulators that looked like a carnival firing range game built onto an coin-operated indoor bowling game. They learned here to squeeze, not pull; to stop breathing but not 'hold' their breath; and to fire from several positions, without using up ammunition or exposing the inexperienced recruits to the danger of a live fire range more than necessary.

Armed Assualt/ArmA2 and VBS2 (1)

NouberNou (1105915) | more than 4 years ago | (#30294458)

Bohemia Interactive already supplies a military simulator that sounds pretty similar to this to a number of the worlds armed forces, including the US Marine Corp and the US Navy. It is called VBS.

They also release a slightly stripped down version, usually using the next generation of technology as a commercial game, the current iteration being ArmA2, before that Armed Assualt, and before that the original Operation Flashpoint.

I am not seeing what is so new about this...?

Re:Armed Assualt/ArmA2 and VBS2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30298346)

The interesting thing is that ESP is part of the MS flight simulator technology. MS essentially canned this technology in January because it is not core Office. This caused upsets with simulation builders looking to incorporate ESP into their own sims (e.g. of UAVs). It now appears that ESP has come back to life as a licensed product. It will be interesting to see whether anyone else licenses the technology, or whether the revenue stream causes MS to take it further themselves.

A massive waste of time and resources (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30294986)

I can only cringe at the thought of soldiers trained for combat with a VR simulations. Many difficulties come to mind, but I will just list a couple.
How can a VR simulation accurately reflect correcting a weapon malfunction?
How can a VR simulation replicate the pain involved in combat movement techniques? (try throwing yourself against hard surfaces repeatedly with 80 100 pounds of gear on)
Real world training helps soldiers develop a mental toughness and alertness that VR simulations are not going to. I also cannot imagine all this expensive VR gear as being cost effective since the soldiers will inevitably have to go out and train with his actual equipment anyway.

For anything other then flight simulators I cannot see this technology ever being anything more then promotional crap designed to lure a crowd of flabby computer junkies into basic.

Re:A massive waste of time and resources (2, Insightful)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#30295126)

VR isn't meant to train those types of situations. However, it can help in training situations which replication IRL would be cost prohibitive and/or life-risking.

Example: To train infantry IRL, you need to handle weapon safety, allocation and maintenance, field injuries (if any), transportation and etc. Then if you want to train in a critical situation, you have to factor in the cost of replicating said situations. Costs are further increased if you are trying to train vehicular units, regardless of air, land or sea.

Not saying that there shouldn't be any in-field training, but it should be balanced with VR training to reduce costs and increase training cycles.

Re:A massive waste of time and resources (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30297480)

There are many more jobs in the military that don't include direct combat that benefit from this kind of thing - though VR is useful for combat as well. It's not all or nothing though. It's all part of a mixed approach, just like flight simulators.

MS War Demo (1, Funny)

clam666 (1178429) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296340)

I guess the blue screen of death will really have more context now.

"Johhny! Don't go into the blue light!! Stay with me Johnny!...NOOO!..It's the POST loading...[sob]...Oh well, he'll be on his feet in a few minutes."

This is SO wrong! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30297458)

Unfortunately, most soldiers still cannot shoot. These a-hole commanders will spend all sorts of money on stupid video games but then cut funds for real training. Most soldiers in the Reserves/ National Guard now touch their weapon 1 time throughout a 12month period. Marksmanship is a highly perishable skill. During mobilization before going of to Iraq/ Afghanistan: soldiers get to shoot targets 2x once for qualification, once for reflex fire. Source: In the Army, work as a weapons instructor, deployed to Iraq.

Re:This is SO wrong! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30297998)

"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state..."

Somewhat like this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30300030)

Microsoft Rifle Live!
Do you want to shoot at this target?
                        |Yes | No|

Warning...Warning... (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 4 years ago | (#30306616)

Microsoft and Lockheed Martin? Greed overload detected...

Re:Lockheed and Microsoft (1)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309446)

Microsoft and Lockheed Martin? Greed overload detected...

It's a natural synergy. When the cargo door falls off, there will be a .NET to catch you.

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