game developers and special-effects houses are developing tools to make it less expensive to rapidly develop content, they typically do not make these tools available to others due to the competitive nature of the marketplace.
TOOLS FOR IMMERSION
The need to immerse the trainee in a virtual world for more effective learning, while at the same time keeping the cost of the display system low, is an important issue. It is becoming increasingly possible to develop low-cost, small-footprint, ruggedized, wireless, head-mounted display systems to provide the learner with a realistic visual experience in the virtual world. Further, it would be ideal to improve head-mounted displays by making them fit the size and form factor of the soldier’s eye protection wear.
The other alternative worthy of further investigation is to bring the virtual world out to the physical world. This concept was demonstrated in the Future Immersive Training Environment Joint Capabilities Technology Demonstration at the Infantry Immersion Trainer (IIT) at Camp Pendleton. The IIT used display screens that featured interactive characters integrated into a physical site used in training for military operations in urban terrain. An alternative to the display screen technology is the head-mounted projectors with retroreflective material, which gives each viewer an individualized view of the world. Training immersion can also be achieved through naturalistic interfaces to computer systems and autonomous animated nonplayer characters and teams.
For dismounted transport in games and simulations, the current standard interface is a game controller or a joystick, which is not a natural way of moving or using one’s body in the virtual world. The training technology community should leverage the trend toward vision-based interfaces that track the body and facial expressions and infer gestural meaning. In addition the community needs to leverage advances in speech recognition and natural language processing to enable conversational interfaces to games and simulations.
Autonomous NonPlayer Characters
One of the limitations of using platforms like VBS2 and other game-based simulations is that the avatars of the opposing forces and civilians have to be controlled by other humans. Like the Janus simulator, which required six people to train one person, this is a costly way to do business. While many of these systems have semiautonomous forces, their capabilities still require supervision by human exercise controllers. An alternative is to develop programmable