Simulated task environments in commercial PC-games as test beds
Publish date: 2004-01-01
Report number: FOI-R--1416--SE
Written in: Swedish
Commercial PC-games are a possible aid for training, evaluation and development of military command and control as they make it possible to, in a simple and low cost manner, simulate technology, methodology and organization of activities that normally demand extensive resources. One condition for using commercial PC-games for evalution and training is that the behavior of units and commanders in the virtual and physical environment must have high correspondence. This study, conducted at the Norrlands Dragoon Regiment, investigated this correspondence. A virtual three-dimensional copy of one square kilometer of the regiments exercise range was created and integrated in a commercial PC-game. Ranger task forces, supported by a rear command post, accomplished the same mission both in real and virtual environment. In both environments the rear command post had access to real-time information from a simulated UAV. The task forces´ and the commander´s execution of the mission in the two different environments were compared according to mission success, communication, situation awareness and the dynamic of the task. Data was gathered using observers, questionnaires and registration of radio communication. Results reveal that the task forces´ performance and behavior was more or less the same in the different conditions. Simulated environments are therefore sufficient for training and experiments of this kind of mission. However, it should be noted that communication within task forces was more frequent in the virtual environment. Furthermore, the communication between commander and task force was more frequent in real environment.