Monday, March 15, 2010

"XBox Saved My Ass":
For over a decade now, the U.S. military has been developing several generations of highly realistic training simulations, using video game and movie special effects technology. This makes the experience real enough to teach the troops life-saving lessons.

...The army simulations that are most impressive are those that put the user (a soldier headed for peacekeeping duty) in a foreign village or city. There (in the arcade like, but very life like, game) the soldier had to deal with local civilians (friendly, hostile and neutral) and various situations that are typical of peacekeeping duty. The troops could interact with local civilians, who spoke the local language and moved realistically. The body language is important, because different cultures have a different set of physical moves. Some such gestures are similar to those Americans use, but have very different meanings. The video game based simulation proved to be very effective in teaching the troops this new "language" before they encountered it for real (and reduced the risks of violent responses to crossed signals).

...[A]n often unspoken reason for this general acceptance of video games is that the current generation of generals are the first to have grown up with video games, the first generation of video games. In the next decade or so, the first generation of generals, who grew up with the Internet, will take over. That should be interesting.