Nobody knows military simulations like the world’s premier land force, the U.S. Army. So when the Army began making the America’s Army game to provide civilians with insights on Soldiering from the barracks to the battlefields, it sent its talented development teams to experience the Army as a recruit would. The developers crawled through obstacle courses, shot weapons, observed parachutist training, and participated in training with a variety of the elite units that makeup the Army, all so that you could virtually experience Soldiering in the most realistic way possible.
The America’s Army game, which is rated T for Teen by the Entertainment Standards Rating Board (ESRB) and recommended for players 13 years old and above, consists of two interlaced game experiences that highlight the role of various types of units within the Army and the development of the Soldiers that comprise these units. As with Soldiers in the U.S. Army, game players are bound by the laws of land warfare, Army values and realistic rules of engagement as they navigate challenges in teamwork-based multiplayer force versus force operations. In the game, as in the Army, mission accomplishment standings are functions of team effort and adherence to a set to values and norms of conduct. Players who violate these norms incur penalties ranging from a loss of standing within the game to incarceration in a virtual jail cell at Fort Leavenworth. Through its emphasis on team play, adherence to norms of conduct and the linkage of player inputs to game outputs, the game implements U.S. Army’s values that include loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage within the game by making them integral to success in America’s Army.
In the game, players will explore progressive individual and collective training events within the game. Once they successfully completed these events they will advance to multiplayer operations in small units. These training missions begin by familiarizing players with game controls as they navigate elements of Basic Combat Training at Fort Benning. Mastery of these experiences provides a gateway to advanced training in occupations ranging from Medic to Combat Engineer, Scout and Special Forces. It also opens the door to multiplayer missions with units ranging from the elite 82d Airborne Division to the 7th Ranger Regiment.
Each mission begins with players selecting their team and role within their team. Realistic infantry roles, such as grenadier, rifleman, and fire team leader are incorporated into missions according to Army doctrine. Communication includes shouted and whispered commands, radio messages and — in a game industry first — genuine military hand and arm signals. Also included in the networked play are training missions in which laser engagement systems mirror Army training to simulate combat.
In keeping with the dynamic nature of Soldiering, the America’s Army game will continue to expand through monthly releases of new editions. During 2003 these editions will add roles such as Combat Medic, Special Forces Intel, Commo, Engineers and Weapons Sergeant to the game. By incorporating the Army’s newest system and organization, the Stryker, these new editions will also allow players to explore the Army of today, tomorrow and into the future.
Are you ready to see some of the over 200 ways to be a Soldier? Let me hear a HOOAH.