War (Sim) and Peace (Sim)

The Serious Games Summit in Washington, DC earlier this week was a study in contrasts -- especially when it came to military sims. On the one hand, you had the America's Army and Full Spectrum Warrior folks. They're trying to figure out how computer and video games can move more into the training sphere.gun2small.JPGMaybe the best example I came across was at the raucous America's Army reception, where they demonstrated some of the ways the game's software has been paired with the Army's hardware to try and solve extremely real problems, like convoy protection. Laser Shot, Inc. has been working with the America's Army development team on the Convoy Skills Engagement Trainer.Here is an excerpt from a piece I did on America's Army for The World public radio program earlier this week.On the other hand, you had a games project called Foreign Ground. Foreign Ground is being developed by the Swedish National Defense College. Sweden's decided that it "doesn't do wars anymore." Instead, it participates in UN peace-keeping missions. So, working with some Swedish universities, the College has developed Foreign Ground, a computer game that puts five UN soldiers smack-dab in the middle of Monrovia, Liberia. The mission is to go on patrol, talk to the locals, and deal with situations such as looting or angry mobs. The goal of the game is to difuse situations with as little force as possible.-- Clark Boyd

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