Three years ago, the US Army commissioned Pandemic Studios to develop a video game for the XBox game console that simulated infantry squad tactics. The product, dubbed “Full Spectrum Warrior,” is about to debut with the military as a training simulation for squad leaders. THQ will market a consumer version of the game next February, to be followed by a PC version later.
The basic idea is that many soldiers already have access to an XBox, and that the game will provide a fair amount of simulated training. Strategy Page says
Compared to your usual video game, the military version of FSW will kind of drag along at times. It can take a minute or more for troops to do some things, like move to another position or use a smoke grenade (it takes nearly a minute for the smoke screen to form.) The player assumes the role of the squad leader, and uses the video game controller to intuitively give battlefield type commands to the two team leaders or, if need be, individual troops. The use of the game controller and the game software is pretty intuitive, allowing the player to handle a real time battlefield game without the game controls getting in the way.
SP also notes that this may be a painless way to expose non-combat troops (cooks, mechanics, office personnel, etc.) to the concepts and reactions needed when under fire. While obviously not a replacement for actual experience, or even for “real” training and “laser tag” with MILES gear, if the game is well-made it should provide some preparation for those that might not get enough of it otherwise.
The biggest increase in effectivity and survivability occurs after the first couple of encounters with the enemy, which is why “Top Gun” Fighter Weapons School has been so effective with fighter pilots. The first “real” combat can occur in a setting where the participants won’t actually die while learning. The FSW game might be able to provide that type of opportunity for ground troops and leaders. If our guys can avoid making stupid mistakes (or just plain freezing) under fire, that will probably make all the difference in the world.