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“Exploiting Commercial Games for Military Use”. NATO Modeling & Simulation Group. October 20-21 2004 TNO, The Hague, Netherlands. Aims. UK MoD led, hosted by Netherlands (TNO) Share national experience Identify: best practice Lessons learned barriers to further exploitation

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“Exploiting Commercial Games for Military Use”

NATO Modeling & Simulation Group

October 20-21 2004

TNO, The Hague, Netherlands

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  • UK MoD led, hosted by Netherlands (TNO)

  • Share national experience

  • Identify:

    • best practice

    • Lessons learned

    • barriers to further exploitation

    • Areas for collaboration

  • Networking:

    • Research community

    • Military

    • Internationally

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International Perspectives

  • Australia- Australian Defence Simulation Office

  • Denmark- Danish Defence Research Establishment

  • France- DGA French Ministry of Defence

  • Holland- Royal Netherlands Army RNLA

  • Sweden- Swedish Defence Research Agency

  • US- U.S. Army Research Institute

  • US- U.S. Marine Corps

  • Germany- eSim Games (Industry)

  • UK- Directorate of Analysis Experimentation & Simulation (MoD)

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Australian Perspective

Australian Defence Simulation Office

Commercial Computer Games

in the Australian Department of Defence

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Why are the Australian Defence Simulation Office Interested in Commercial Games?

  • Expose Defence members to simulation.

  • Grow knowledge and skill base.

  • Raise profile of simulation.

  • Keep abreast of developments.

  • Research commissioned by ADSO identified utility of COTS games.

  • Being used anyway- needs co-ordination.

  • Supports “golf bag” approach to simulation.

  • Cultural change.

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What Makes a Game Useable?

  • At least some of the following:

    • Robust user community.

    • Multiplayer functionality.

    • Scenario creation.

    • Open database.

    • After Action Review.

    • Developer engagement.

    • Validation and accreditation.

    • Support.

    • Use elsewhere - and for what.

  • ADSO evaluates games against following “Six Criteria”

    1)User Requirement


    3)Data availability and reliability


    5)Confidence building approaches


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Commercial Games Products used by ADSO

VBS- Virtual Battlefield Systems, SB – SteelbeastsPro, FSW-Full Spectrum Warrior, CM-Combat Mission, DA-Decisive Action, HTTR-Highway to the Reich, UV-Uncommon Valor

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Australian Conclusions

  • There is currently a small but significant effort.

  • Good support can be achieved with systematic approach.

  • Cultural change is making it easier.

  • Commercial games are just one club in the simulation golf bag.

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Danish Perspective

Danish Defence Research Establishment (DDRE)

Using Falcon 4.0 (F-16 simulator) for Tactical Training

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Falcon 4.0 for Tactical Training

  • Enhancements

    - Flight models (aircraft behaviour)

    - EW

    - Radar

    - Graphics

  • Issues

    - Field of view is too small.

    - Takes time to get used to looking around.

    - Instruments takes up a too large fraction of the screen.

    - Flight model not exact, behaviour is slightly different.

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Benefits of the Falcon 4.0 Simulator

Things that can be trained:

(according to an F-16 pilot with Falcon 4 experience)

  • Flying (basic experience)

  • Systems training (RWR, Radar)

  • Formation/Coordination

  • BFM (Basic Fighter Man.)

  • ACM (Air Combat Man.)

  • BVR (Beyond Visual Range)

  • COMOA (Combined Air Ops.)

  • A-G (Air to ground weapons)

  • Debriefing

  • S-A (Surface to Air) Training

  • EW Basics

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Danish Conclusion

  • Falcon 4.0 is advanced and very flexible, allowing “modding” without much difficulty.

  • DDRE has developed an EW tactical training program for F-16 pilots, based on Falcon 4.0

  • Lots of possibilities for other products.

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French Perspective

DGA French Ministry of Defence

The use of GHOST RECON for Training Infantry

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  • Scope

    • Tactical Education (Individual and Collective) and Training for Infantry’s platoons and squads before field exercises

    • Optimize forces readiness prior field exercises

    • Improve efficiency, time and cost

  • Assessment

    • Study low cost products as Commercial Games

    • Provide recommendations to deploy an already existing system

    • Refine Operational requirements

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  • Actors

    - From Soldier to Squad Leader

  • Armaments

    - PA, Famas, Minimi, AT4, Frf 2, Frf 12,7, Grenades, Mines, ...

  • Missions

    - Elementary Actions: Stop, Defense, Destroy, Reckon, Observe, Conquer, ...

  • Environment

    - Weather: Sun, Snow, Rain, Cloud, Fog, Day/Night

    - Terrain: Field, Forest, ...

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INSTINCT = GHOST RECON + French Improvements

  • INSTINCT exercises are defined according to the same process as field exercises

  • AAR due to GHOST RECON particularities is only limited to replay the exercises

  • Less than 2 hours INSTINCT tutorial prior exercises

  • Short drills (4 Hours)

    • To learn procedures

    • To get the know-how

    • To react with reflexes

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French Conclusion

  • Soldiers make same mistakes in INSTINCT & Field exercises

    • Easier to prove and explain (Wrong position, Unprotected movement)

  • Field behavior is better with soldiers educated with INSTINCT

    • Better fire sectors and objectives designation

  • Short Drills are recommended

    • Movement, Support, Intelligence, Orders and Reports

  • Pleasure and Entertainment improve the courses

    • Ease the understanding (Solders learn faster)

    • Management of Opposite Forces is essential to avoid “Game Play”

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Dutch Perspective

Netherlands Aerospace Laboratory NLR

Flight Simulation Games and their Training Value

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The media spectrum – costs vs. benefits*

PTT - Part-Task Trainer

FMS- Full Mission Simulator

DMT- Distributed Mission Training

ET- Embedded Training















* not experimentally validated ** multi-player, HOTAS + keyboard *** fourship

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Dutch Conclusions

  • Current generation games could be a valuable add-on to the existing training media spectrum.

  • Strong points: teaming, communication, info handling.

  • Weak points: flying and organising skills.

  • Most air forces do not officially use Games for training purposes.

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Swedish Perspective

Game-based driving simulator for the Swedish CBRN demonstrator system

Swedish Defence Research Agency

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The Swedish CBRN-demonstrator system(Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear, CBRN)

  • Requirement

    • An event engine for the real NBCR-demonstrator system

  • Objective

    • Reduce time, cost and support organization when training the CBRN staff.


  • Facts

  • Length: 7. 68 m

  • Height: 2.95 m

  • Width: 2.95m

  • Weight: 19 200 Kg

  • Load: 4 000 Kg

  • Speed: < 110

  • Patria Vehicles, Finland

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The simulated NBC-vehicle


  • Correct 3D-vehicle regarding weight, length, height and other external attributes.

  • Generic physical behaviour

  • Driver’s and operator’s seat correct modelled

  • Driver has third or first person view

  • Operator same interface as the NBC-Dart

  • Connectible with NBC/PC-Dart for message exchange

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Swedish Conclusions

  • Simple, easy to use driving simulator for concept evaluation, demonstration, basic training etc.

  • Build with open-source, gaming- and entertainment technology.

  • Game-based interface and principles

  • Rapid deployment

  • No classified data

  • Good enough!

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US Perspective

U.S. Army Research Institute for the

Behavioural and Social Sciences

Design Characteristics of a PC-based Game that Influence Instruction and Motivation

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Training Using Commercial Games

Literature suggests that Games:

  • Are engaging.

  • Provide flexibility in training.

  • Provide “hands on” experience.

  • Provide contextual learning.

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Questions about Motivation

  • Features that Motivate

  • - What about the “America’s Army” game would make you want to play the game again?

  •  - Which section of the basic combat training did you like the most, and why?

  • Features that Do Not Motivate

  • - Which section of the basic combat training did you like the least, and why?

  • - What would you change about the “America’s Army” game?

Percentage of Responses

in each Category

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US Army Conclusion

  • Strength of training games is in procedural learning, and the procedures learned should match the training objectives.

  • Instructional content should be integrated with the progression of the game.

  • Extensive printed text should be avoided; it may be ignored and is less likely to be recalled than graphic images or spoken text.

  • Appropriate levels of challenge, control, exploration, and realism can increase motivation.

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Instrumented LiveEx->



Virtual Exercise ->

Supported SimEx (Phase III)->

Tactical Decision-making Simulation->

Practical App./Sand Table/CAST->

Classroom Instr. (Phase II)->

Interactive Multimedia->

Asynchronous, Text Based ->


US Marine Training Perspective

The Training Spectrum

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Acquisition Methods

  • Straight Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS)

    • Used as is, no modification

  • Modified COTS for Specific Marine Use

    • Marine specific requirements

      • i.e. models, terrain, behavior

      • Minor modification

  • Initial Investments in COTS Product

    • Marine subject matter experts involved at ground zero and throughout development for authenticity.

  • Government Off The Shelf Development

    -Ground zero development for Marines, no commercial release

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Infantry Cognitive Skills Training

Experience Leads to

Better War Fighting

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Crawl, Walk, Run Approach

  • Mon-Tue

    • Familiarization and Team exercises

  • Wednesday

    • Squad Exercises and rehearsals

  • Thursday

    • Platoon Exercises and rehearsals

  • Friday

    • Combined Arms, after-action review, comments

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Marine Corps’ ApproachTo Training

From Sand-table Exercises To Live Training

  • Begin planning

  • Arrange reconnaissance

  • Make reconnaissance

  • Complete order

  • Issue order

  • Supervise

  • Execute Order

  • After Action Review

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  • Resistance mentality

    • “I don’t want my Marines sitting in A/C playing Nintendo all day”

    • Baby boomers vs. Millennium Generation

  • Hardware issues

  • Software Development

  • Desensitization/Psychological Issues

  • Facilitation

    • Mission editing and contractor support

    • Subject matter experts

  • Marketing and Distribution

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Germany - Industry Perspective

eSim Games – Steel Beasts Professional

Limits of the Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) Approach

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Current Situation

  • The Market

    - The market supports the idea of applying the COTS concept to computer games

    - Many computer games deal with combat simulation

    - Yet the economic framework affects the practical application of a sound idea

  • Market Limitations

    - Consumers demand to be entertained

    - Armies demand reliability

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Consumer Entertainment Market

  • Receding market trend for PC game titles

    • Less profitable than console games

    • Software piracy

    • Incompatibilities/hardware diversity

  • First Person Shooters dominant genre, also “Real Time Strategy”

  • Simulations and Wargames:

    - 5% market share, and dropping

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  • Number of developers for simulation games is dropping

  • Publishers abandon the market segment  No more development funding!

  • Major developers concentrate on mass market compatible games

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COTS relevant


Profit distribution


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Market Actors: Developers

  • Dependent developers:

    • Essentially owned by large publishers

    • Fixed (large) budget for development

    • Publisher influences genre choice

  • Independent developers:

    • The lucky few (Valve, Blizzard, ID)

      • Filthy rich, sell blockbusters and engines

    • The not-so-lucky few (us and others)

      • Shoestring budget development

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High speed

High quality

Low cost

Market Actors: Developers




Pick two!

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COTS procurement recommendations

  • $100,000.- development budgets for Divisions, and Schools

  • $50,000.- procurement budgets for brigades

  • Determined leadership of Simulation Officers

  • Do not impose limits on “code recycling” for consumer market

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COTS project requirements

  • Game developer

    • Must be devoted to and knowledgeable in the subject matter

    • Must be customer oriented

    • Must be able to work for three years without funding

    • Discretion & Reliability

  • Army

    • Avoid “feature creep” wish lists

    • Accept partial solutions – embrace fast development cycles as a chance

    • Support developer with unclassified information

    • Understand developer’s business model

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  • COTS is a sound idea, and can be a great chance for both armies and game developers

  • Technological chances are obvious

  • Economical challenges are most important in the long run, and can be mastered

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Dismounted Infantry Virtual Environment - DIVE 1

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  • Half Life

    • Very Popular

    • First Person Shooter

    • On-Line Gaming Capability

    • Easy to Adapt

    • (now costs <£10)

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DIVE – Representation of Copehill Down

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“DIVE 1”

Copehill Down

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Media Interest in DIVE

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“DIVE 2”

Copehill Down

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“We found the DIVE system an excellent training tool which quickly improved our skills and enabled us to try out things that would normally be far too time-consuming or dangerous.”

Cpl Owen, Section Comd, 1 R ANGLIAN

extract from ‘The Castle’ magazine – Summer 2003

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Further Information

All slides can be accessed at:-


Login: RTOAuthor

Password: StoesouS

UK Contact:- Andy Fawkes DAES,

Email: andy.fawkes108@mod.uk

Other Contacts:-

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