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America's Army Game Developers Go to Boot Camp
Developers of the video game America's Army spend four days in Army boot camp.
Other civilian contractors, along with game programmers from Emeryville, California, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, and Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey, took the course, which involved Basic Combat Training, ceremony, drill, Victory Tower, weapons firing, including large machine guns, and physical training. The four day course took place at Bastogne Range at Fort Jackson.
Programmers hoped to gain some of the grit and grime experience of the soldier to make their programming of the application have a more realistic feel. How does the machine gun jump in the hand, what is the correct way to load it, how does it sound, what does the ammo striking the target look like?
The game is already immensely popular, having been downloaded over 40 million times. An Xbox version and one for mobile phones are on the market. The game itself is owned--by the US Government.
It was originally designed to show the public the Army experience and what the seven core values of the Army are all about. Those values are: Loyalty ("bear true faith and allegiance to the U. S. Constitution, The Army, your unit, and other soldiers"); Duty, or fulfilling ones obligations; Respect, or treating people as they should be treated; Selfless Service, or putting the welfare of nation, Army and subordinates before one's own; Honor, or living up to Army values; Integrity, or doing the right thing, morally and legally; and Personal Courage, facing adversity and fear . Players who instill those virtues into their video game characters are more likely to win. A character with a high Duty score might do better at marksmanship than another, less dutiful player.
Version 3.0 should come out in 2020, and it is hoped that the experiences gained in the training at Fort Jackson will help make the game even more realistic. Other Army values, like teamwork and shared experiences in a group, may help the developers, not to mention the day-to-day realities of getting up at five in the morning, marching, setting up camp, cleaning barracks, participating in ceremonies, firing weapons, and sweating it up a bit.
Some of the weapons firing training was done by Staff Sgt. James McClintock, a drill sergeant with the 1st Battalion, 61st Infantry Regiment. He showed some of the participants how to fire a .50-caliber machine gun.
There is no word if any of the desk bound civilians have been persuaded to join up.