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US Government Licenses Unreal Game Engine To Train FBI Agents and Army Medics

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the when-the-patient-starts-losing-red-pixels,-apply-pressure dept.

Graphics 54

cylonlover writes "While games like Batman: Arkham City and Gears of War are certainly entertaining, virtually beating up thugs and fighting subterranean creatures doesn't exactly translate into real world skills. However, a new agreement with teaching software developer Virtual Heroes could see Epic's Unreal Engine platform used to create more practical experiences and train medical staff and law enforcement officers to handle high-stress situations. By using Epic's Unreal Engine 3, some United States government agencies like the FBI and U.S. Army are hoping to give their employees tools for virtually practicing their skills in a more realistic environment and better prepare them to save lives."

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54 comments

UNREAL Medical training (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39640949)

> Give the guy with bullet wounds the white medkit box.

"Congratulations, Doctor, You passed LEVEL 1!"

???

Re: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39641007)

Sounds like government work to me. Glad I paid my taxes, so that a redneck can play video games.

Re: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39641165)

THEY'RE TAKIN URR JURRBBBSS!

Re:UNREAL Medical training (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39641015)

Press M now for medic!

Re:UNREAL Medical training (4, Interesting)

Ihmhi (1206036) | about 2 years ago | (#39641385)

I went through the medical training in America's Army 3 when it launched and was horribly buggy.

It was really well-designed and informative. Hell, it might have even helped save a life [kotaku.com] .

But, the story wasn't about a guy who played the game and shot up a mall full of teenagers, so you never hear about shit like this in the mainstream media.

Re:UNREAL Medical training (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39642823)

I worked on that one briefly. Unreal is the game engine for AA3. The project was horribly underfunded and the client jerked the spec around in fairly significant ways. Keep in mind what happens when a client won't pay for schedule changes they demand, always.

Re:UNREAL Medical training (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39642487)

There's already a First Responder style training game using the Unreal Engine 3: Zero Hour: America's Medic.

http://virtualheroes.com/projects/zero-hour-americas-medic

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero_Hour:_America%27s_Medic

And yes,

Give the guy with bullet wounds the white medkit box.

"Congratulations, Doctor, You passed LEVEL 1!"

pretty much sums it up.

yea ok (4, Insightful)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#39640987)

when a downed FBI angent screams officer down they will be comforted by the fact that their medical personal trained behind a sony with a analog controller and a mountain dew

Dont get me wrong, games can be high stress, but not nearly as high stressed as one wrong move and you cease to exist, games a have reset button and a spawn location

Re:yea ok (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39641045)

It's almost like there are different levels of training before you get to full-blown combat zone.

Re:yea ok (1)

mikael (484) | about 2 years ago | (#39641951)

The last level in the training course won't have the berzerker or invincible power-ups.

Re:yea ok (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39641071)

Pretty sure that their current training regimen doesn't start out with real life-or-death situations either.

Its not about you ... (3, Insightful)

perpenso (1613749) | about 2 years ago | (#39641103)

Its not necessarily about you the player. While stress may be a factor for you in the sense that you have severe time constraints and have to do a bit of multitasking, the real point is learning to deal with *others* that are severely stressed. The actors, computer controlled characters, are acting in a highly stressed and possibly irrational manner. Learning how such people act and how to deal with them is a skill that a "serious game" can help one learn.

Re:yea ok (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39641137)

Sure thing.

And Army wargames are completely useless exercises because they use Q-ZAR-esque guns and vests rather than live ammo.

Re:yea ok (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39641381)

Guess the armed forces should ditch all their flight simulators, too, eh? Just toss pilot hopefuls into the cockpit and have 'em figure out how to fly and dogfight all at once. Attrition rate will be a bit high, but the ones that survive training will be damn fine combat pilots!

The point isn't to replicate the full stress of tactical operations. Because the point of training isn't to kill the trainees. As long as that is the case, you'll never fully replicate any life and death situations.

Or maybe you figure FBI agents and soldiers would be more comforted by the fact that their fellow agents/medics have more book knowledge and less practical experience?

Re:yea ok (1)

mikael (484) | about 2 years ago | (#39641965)

That's what they did in World War II . Training course for pilots involved riding tricycles with a canopy in the shape of the cockpit. The goal was to get the pilots used to the restricted field of view.

Average career lifespan of World War I pilots was 4 minutes.

Re:yea ok (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39641593)

Dont get me wrong, games can be high stress, but not nearly as high stressed as one wrong move and you cease to exist, games a have reset button and a spawn location

With the budgets these guys have they could easily add some shock-therapy. Die in the game and zap! That would alter their gameplay to more reflect reality. It's still not the same as dieing in real life, but I think thats exactly what they want to achieve here. That's why it's called training.

Re:yea ok (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39641725)

games can be high stress, but not nearly as high stressed as one wrong move and you cease to exist, games a have reset button and a spawn location

Yes... yes...

That is why these games, and even this article about these "wow.. cool..." games and the "wow... cool..."'ness of the US Government employing the Unreal Engine, are used for recruiting, not training.

Re:yea ok (1)

bluemonq (812827) | about 2 years ago | (#39641783)

From the article:

But these outings were focused more on introducing the general public to the basic tasks of each organization. The proposed projects in the works now are being designed for trained professionals to further hone their skills.

Not recruiting, training. The government has two options when it comes to employing virtual environments for training purposes: write their own specialized code, or take something from off-the-shelf and mod it.

Re:yea ok (1)

bluemonq (812827) | about 2 years ago | (#39641777)

"Dont get me wrong, games can be high stress, but not nearly as high stressed as one wrong move and you cease to exist, games a have reset button and a spawn location"

Well shit, I guess we better give up on all training because you can always restart a training session and it won't have as much urgency as the real thing.

Toe Nails on eBay? Your Opinion Please... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39641011)

So here's the thing: I have a little thing about scalp zits and toe cheese. Love that toe cheese.

In fact, I make it a point to only wash my feet twice a month so the toe cheese builds up under the nails. I then use a pointy knife to scrape it and then collect it in a jar until I have enough to snack on.

As to the scalp zits? Just like popin' them and smearing the oily white zit juice around my fingers. Love those face zits, pop them too!

But the toe cheese? LOVE IT! In fact, the smelly sock cheeses are seriously similar in smell. One HAS to wonder if the fungus is the same or similar?

AHHHHH! Stinky cheese!

OH OH OH! One last thing!

I have been collection my toe and fingernail clippings for over 10 years, and they fill a large Mason jar. Does anyone here know how much I should charge on eBay for them? I plan on auctioning them.

I'm a little paranoid about trace DNA, so I plan on washing them in a dilute solution of bleach...

"better prepare them to save lives" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39641013)

yep, that's what first person shooters are for.

Sign me up! (0)

ace37 (2302468) | about 2 years ago | (#39641021)

So let me get this straight, in the near future, the US government will pay people to play Unreal or derivative games?

WTF was I thinking getting a degree and a job? I should have stayed at home playing Xbox!

Re:Sign me up! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39641073)

So let me get this straight, in the near future, the US government will pay people to play Unreal or derivative games?

.
No, you're not getting it.

Engine. Not game. Your statement is like saying that because we put a nail file in a combat field kit, that we're sending our troops to a Beauty School.

Re:Sign me up! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39641077)

It's almost like a game engine could be used to create some sort of "simulation" of a real life event.

only a supplement (3, Interesting)

shafty023 (993689) | about 2 years ago | (#39641051)

The government isn't saying this will be the only source of training for medics or law enforcement. This would be a supplement to existing training they give them. I don't see how this is any different than a flight simulator for pilots in training.

again. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39641163)

Old news. America's Army used the unreal engine too.

the unreal engine? why? (1)

l3v1 (787564) | about 2 years ago | (#39641169)

I mean they already have VBS2 (vbs2.com) and probably other stuff as well. They just like spending.

doomed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39641223)

LOL. They're going to waste so much time tweaking the engine to get it to work right for their machines... They'll NEVER get anything done!

Goverment inefficiency and general cluelessness + PAIN IN THE ASS unreal engine game = Infinite time wasted!

Pure bullshit (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39641253)

As a former combat medic, I can assure you NO VIRTUAL TRAINING can match or prepare you for the real thing. NONE. I participated in medical procedures on dead people (cadavers, people who'd donated their bodies to medical science before death,) and livestock (farm animals, I cannot be more specific, legally,) as part of my post-Healthcare Specialist Course, given at Ft. Sam Houston, TX. I subsequently worked in an aid station and gave literally scores of IV's over the years before my retirement, and helping train new medics as they arrived at my unit, as well as treating numerous wounds in combat (burns, and a few gun shot wounds, but mostly run of the mill stuff as I've mentioned). This includes several deployments to combat zones.

It is my considered opinion, having gone through STX (Situational Training Exercise) or "Sticks," as it's sometimes called, (somewhat realistic training at the end of Advanced Individual Training, treating soldiers playing casualties with realistic-seeming (but fake) wounds and injuries) to the Combat Medic Advanced Skills Training Course, including procedures done on livestock animals... and additional training administered as part of our routine day to day during any down-time we had... literally MONTHS of training that went for the duration of an entire standard work-day... that when you see your first soldier all banged the fuck up from a grenade or IED, or with a hole in him oozing various bodily fluids, all the training up until that point will seem like a goddamned joke.

Anything done on a computer, likewise, is going to be a goddamned joke. I can see why they want to use every tool available to train the newest generation of docs, but it calls into question the people who make the procurement decisions, and how much they can possibly know about the training of medics, because as someone who has been through it, let me assure you. There is NOTHING like the real thing. You will never forget it, as long as you live, even if you forget the procedures, the medical training itself, the sight of a fellow man in bits and pieces will never leave you till your dying day.

So what I'm saying is, enjoy your fucking computer games, just don't imagine they're going to help you when the shit hits the fan.

Re:Pure bullshit (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#39641459)

... did someone actually decide to classify the species of animal on which medics train? What possibly national security risk could such information pose? But that does seem to be the way militaries work: Anything not explicitly authorised for public release is secret by default.

Re:Pure bullshit (1)

jackz_68 (2029054) | about 2 years ago | (#39641925)

I have heard rumors that some armies or defense forces use live pigs for training. They put them to sleep (now a days anyway) and then shoot them. After that they try to save them. So it might not be security risk to tell about what animals are used but some people might not like idea of using live animals for this.

Re:Pure bullshit (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 2 years ago | (#39642121)

... did someone actually decide to classify the species of animal on which medics train? What possibly national security risk could such information pose? But that does seem to be the way militaries work: Anything not explicitly authorised for public release is secret by default.

If you read Inside Delta Force by Eric Haney, he talks about how they would practice battlefield medicine on live goats. Basically, they'd shoot them in the leg or something and they'd have to patch them up. Goats are cheaper and easier to raise than other animals such as pigs, so they make the most sense to use.

Re:Pure bullshit (1)

PTBarnum (233319) | about 2 years ago | (#39641469)

I'm not sure what your point is. Sure, going through either virtual or non-virtual training that doesn't involve real combat injuries won't eliminate the shock and horror of seeing combat injuries. However, the point of it is presumably to help you know what to do in addition to being shocked and horrified. Do you believe that you would have been just as effective if you'd been thrown directly into the field with no advance preparation?

Re:Pure bullshit (3, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 years ago | (#39643489)

Anything done on a computer, likewise, is going to be a goddamned joke. I can see why they want to use every tool available to train the newest generation of docs, but it calls into question the people who make the procurement decisions, and how much they can possibly know about the training of medics

When I was in "C" school, and after I went to the fleet - I used to wonder the same thing. "WTF do those chair drivers know about training FTB's?" Then some time in the fleet, and actually going back to the schoolhouse as an instructor taught me the answer. "They know one well of a lot - a lot more than I do." You brag about all the things you did in training, well... who do you think made the decisions about how your course would be run?
 

As a former combat medic, I can assure you NO VIRTUAL TRAINING can match or prepare you for the real thing. NONE.

Since nobody is claiming that it can or will... your point would be what?
 

So what I'm saying is, enjoy your fucking computer games, just don't imagine they're going to help you when the shit hits the fan.

Nothing helps you when the shit hits the fan for the first time. Even you admit that (multiple times) after bragging about you ate rocks for breakfast and walked to training over six miles of broken glass - and liked it. So calling out CBI (computer based instruction) for especial venom is just more meaningless noise.
 
The fact is, CBI and other forms of simulation *are* valuable for training. (You even brag about taking part in a simulation!) I don't know about the specific details of the training of medics, but after seeing how it's useful and has had positive effects on the training pipelines I'm aware of, you'd have a very, very hard time convincing me that medics are somehow more "special" (not that there's anyone who doesn't believe their field is "special") than others and that there's no place for it in the pipeline.

Somewhat old. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39641289)

America's Army has been based on the Unreal engine since inception, so this is not particularly new news.

America's Army uses Unreal Engine (3, Informative)

locopuyo (1433631) | about 2 years ago | (#39641403)

They did this with the game America's Army and Unreal Engine 2.X. I'm not sure if that upgraded to UE3 yet. The engine is free if you aren't selling anything (and dirt cheap if you are) and it is basically the best game engine out there.

Desensitization (1)

DaneM (810927) | about 2 years ago | (#39641411)

In the very least, it's been proven (as well as anything with regard to video games, I suppose) that playing games that involve stressful and/or traumatic situations desensitizes the players to such situations. It's been noted by military professionals (I don't remember where I saw the quote) that they've had problems with soldiers wanting to just charge out and "Call of Duty" the bad guys--which is, of course, likely to end badly.

On the other hand, teaching medics to handle seeing lots of blood/death/danger without freaking out is (ostensibly, anyway) a rather useful thing to accomplish. This is likely to result in a more rational thought process while in the tense situation, rather than relying on the "wildcard" of whether a first responder will be able to keep his cool, based on personality and past experiences, alone. In more common terms, it'll probably make "green recruits" essentially less "green."

Old Hat (1)

tirefire (724526) | about 2 years ago | (#39641511)

Unreal Engine 3 came out when? 2007? Does it even have true HDR or just that bloom stuff? Off the top of my head, the game engine from the PC version of Crysis 2 (especially with the DX11 patch that adds high-res textures and tessellation) looks WAY prettier. I'm sure the DoD could easily transform "prettier" into "more realistic".

Open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39641715)

Why not use an opensource engine like the quake/sauerbraten/cube one?

VBS2 (1)

goonerw (99408) | about 2 years ago | (#39642479)

No one's mentioned Virtual BattleSpace2 [wikipedia.org] ? What I don't get is that there's no mention of the fact that the US government already licenses the Unreal Engine for America's Army and they also license VBS2 for precisely this form of training.

Delta3d game engine - Naval Postgraduate School (1)

dwheeler (321049) | about 2 years ago | (#39643195)

Another engine option is the Delta3D game engine [delta3d.org] , which is open source software. The Delta3D project is run by the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), and maintained just for this sort of thing. I hoped they examined that alternative before spending big bucks for an Unreal Engine license (if not, shame on them, and they need to look next time).

Build a map of the engine being developed (1)

DontLickJesus (1141027) | about 2 years ago | (#39643239)

I work in the building where that engine was developed (ID has since moved :-( ). I should build a map of this building for shits and giggles.

Talentless Looters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39645733)

Translation: Virtual Heroes steals the idea & credit from Army Game Project, waits 2 years, posts it as news.

Still nothing but a bunch of looters with no original ideas and only minimal talent. Or in other words, a typical government contractor.

VIVA LA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39669917)

UT2K4! maybe they'll make enough money to start working on another UT so we can stop playing ut2k4...
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