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US Government Licenses Unreal Game Engine To Train FBI Agents and Army Medics 54

Posted by Soulskill
from the when-the-patient-starts-losing-red-pixels,-apply-pressure dept.
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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US Government Licenses Unreal Game Engine To Train FBI Agents and Army Medics

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @01:18AM (#39640949)

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

    "Congratulations, Doctor, You passed LEVEL 1!"

    ???

    • You've administered too much morphine to the injured soldier....

      UUUUUULTRAKILL!

    • by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @03:12AM (#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.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        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.

    • Will they also be taught the art of the goomba kill?
  • yea ok (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Osgeld (1900440) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @01:28AM (#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

    • by perpenso (1613749) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @01:49AM (#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: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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 figur

      • by mikael (484)

        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.

      • now days they have full size flight simulators with movement.

    • by bluemonq (812827)

      "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.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      There is a place for each sort or training. First responders read Dead Tree media too.

      Want some "hand on" training that's repeatable? Check this out:

      http://www.strategic-operations.com/products/cut-suit [strategic-operations.com]

  • 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!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      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.

    • by Anonymous Coward

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

  • only a supplement (Score:3, Interesting)

    by shafty023 (993689) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @01:38AM (#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.
  • by AlienIntelligence (1184493) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @01:56AM (#39641131)

    Monster Kill!

    Alien is GODLIKE!

    Ultra Kill!

    Alien is WICKED SICK!

    Oh wait, we're supposed to be RESCUING them?

    Ooops.

    -AI

  • by Anonymous Coward

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

  • I mean they already have VBS2 (vbs2.com) and probably other stuff as well. They just like spending.
  • Pure bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @02:27AM (#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.

    • ... 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.
      • by jackz_68 (2029054)
        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.
      • by Nidi62 (1525137)

        ... 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.

    • by PTBarnum (233319)

      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 (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @09:54AM (#39643489) Homepage

      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.

  • by locopuyo (1433631) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @03:18AM (#39641403) Homepage
    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.
  • 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/dang

  • 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".
  • by goonerw (99408)
    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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • by g0bshiTe (596213)
    How exactly by standing next to an injured person and pressing Z to heal them help train them?

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