By Diane Walker, Combined Arms Center-TrainingAugust 6, 2010
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- Representatives from across the Army are gathering this week at Fort Leavenworth to help develop a wish list of new capabilities the Army should add to its Games for Training program which includes the widely used Virtual BattleSpace 2, or VBS2, game.
VBS2 is a commercial, game-based training platform that the Army implemented to train company and below units in both institutional and operational locations. VBS2 blends a user-friendly, first-person environment with scenario and terrain editing tools, fully recordable after-action review and the ability to inter-operate with other simulations and stimulate Army Battle Command systems.
Setting the priorities
About 100 Center of Excellence representatives are attending Army gaming's third annual Requirements Control Board this week. The number of proposed gaming enhancements and additions they consider has been growing each year as more and more Army operations make use of VBS2 and other Army gaming.
In 2008, RCB participants helped prioritize 25 requirements, and the list grew to 65 last year. This year participants will review and prioritize nearly 300 proposed requirements for implementation within the Army's gaming capability. The list is a broad one, from medical to indirect fire and the need for larger terrain to support unmanned aerial vehicles.
Once the RCB establishes a prioritized wish list through a voting procedure, TCM Gaming and PEO STRI representatives will review the preferences, evaluate potential costs and benefits of each, and identify final priorities that are both attainable and within budget.
"Our panel will thoroughly consider and investigate which capabilities and enhancements will deliver the greatest training benefit across the Army," said Don Toliver, director of Futures and Integration Directorate and TCM Gaming. "We want to be fiscally responsible but still stay on the cutting edge of technology advancements."
Free VBS2 version for personal use
In addition to the full version of VBS2 being discussed during the RCB, the Army offers VBS2 Lite, a reduced capability version of the software that anyone with a government Common Access Card can download. The free software is available through the MilGaming Portal (https://milgaming.army.mil ). Click on "Downloads" and then "VBS2 Lite." VBS2 Lite is designed to familiarize users with how VBS2 works and help support small group training with up to 12 networked users.
Based at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., the U.S. Army's Combined Arms Center-Training delivers training programs, products and services to leaders and units in support of Army readiness. Wherever Army training occurs, the Combined Arms Center-Training helps make it happen.