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Army developing video game to aid weapons prototyping efforts

The U.S. Army is looking to recruit soldiers to provide their thoughts through online gameplay to help develop the Operation Overmatch crowd-sourced innovation platform.

By Stephen Carlson
Army developing video game to aid weapons prototyping efforts
The Army says the benefit of a gameplay environment is the ability to change any circumstance at any moment, which will help with planning of future systems and training soldiers to use them. U.S. Army photo

Aug. 23 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army announced Wednesday that it is looking to recruit soldiers to provide input through online gameplay to help develop the Operation Overmatch crowd-sourced innovation platform.

Operation Overmatch is part of the Early Synthetic Prototyping program designed to connect scientists, soldiers and engineers with their ideas on prototype weapons, equipment and tactics.

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The game is an eight-on-eight scenario with players fighting advanced enemies equipped with realistic capabilities in a variety of real-world scenarios.

"Soldiers have the advantage of understanding how equipment, doctrine and organization will be used in the field -- the strengths and weaknesses," said project lead and chief engineer Michael Barnett.

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"And they have immediate ideas about what to use, what to change and what to abandon -- how to adapt quickly."

The game is still in early development, but will allow soldiers to test weapons and tactics and provide instant feedback and data through game analytics. Thousands of variants of weapons and equipment still on the drawing board could be tested without the expense of a full-scale prototype. The game currently features models of planned future armored and unmanned vehicles and is set in an urban environment.

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"In a game environment, we can change the parameters or the abilities of a vehicle by keystrokes," said project lead Lt. Col. Brian Vogt.

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"We can change the engine in a game environment and it could accelerate faster, consume more fuel or carry more fuel. All these things are options within the game -- we just select it, and that capability will be available for use."

Operation Overmatch is currently being developed at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia.

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