Friday, April 25, 2008

Spy Games

This just in: Wired magazine snagged a first look at three new computer games commissioned by the Defense Intelligence Agency to train new analysts to think better.

DIA paid Concurrent Technologies $2.6 million to have simulation studio Visual Purple create "Rapid Onset," "Vital Passage" and "Sudden Thrust." They might sound suspiciously like "Enduring Freedom," "Desert Storm" and other military adventures, but Wired pronounces the games "a surprisingly clever and occasionally surreal blend of education, humor and intellectual challenge."

Having spent yesterday at the Federal Consortium for Virtual Worlds conference in Washington at Fort McNair, I can say that immersive, distributed, virtual environments and games are winning acceptance beyond the evangelical crowd of early adopters. The audience at the National Defense University's Marshall Hall was peppered with military officers and vendor booths included Lockheed and SRA International. New entrants to second life included NDU's Information Resources Management College and the State Department, while Transportation, the Air Force and the National Guard have or will have their own worlds soon.

Wired also reports that the Army Intelligence Center is using a game to train interrogators (no, it's not based on 24).

Games, like virtual world training, may be establishing a firm beachhead in government, but computer security folks are just as suspicious of them as they are of virtual worlds. DIA had to buy standalone laptops to keep the new games off the network, Wired reports.

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