Virtual reality combat simulation

Solider in combat simulation

What is virtual reality combat simulation? This is a type of virtual environment which is used to train new recruits in the skills and techniques necessary to function effectively. It is used by the Army, Navy and Air force and is proving to be an extremely useful addition to their training arsenal.

A combat simulation takes the form of a 3D environment which recruits move around and engage with. They wear virtual reality glasses or head mounted displays (HMD) complete with a tracking system. This shows a series of images within the virtual environment which move as the recruit moves his/her head. This gives the sense of depth and adds to the realism.

The recruit will wear body armour with a tracking system: both this and the headset help to plot movements of the body which is then transmitted back to a series of computer consoles. This data influences events within the environment.

A typical simulation will contain a series of scenarios, for example, coming under fire whilst in a hostile location which the recruits have to deal with. The system will show changes in weather conditions which only adds to the sense of realism.

VR and teamwork

The aim is to teach a group of recruits about the importance of working together as a unit; obeying orders and following instructions to the letter. They are given targets to shoot which they do so with mock weapons or ‘VR guns’ which look and behave as a real weapon would.

This is an ideal method for teaching recruits the skills and techniques required to be an effective member of their platoon. Plus they can use this to learn from more experienced team members.

An example of a large scale virtual reality simulation is that used by British forces situated in Germany. This simulation uses gaming technology as a means of training soldiers in tactics, weapons handling and command during operations in Afghanistan.

A 3D combat environment ranges from a head mounted display (HMD) and treadmill system to a CAVE fully immersive virtual reality set up.

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