U.S. Army Announces FPS Game

[[America's Army]]

The U.S. Army unveiled America's Army, an innovative, realistic computer game providing civilians with an inside perspective and a virtual role in today's premiere land force, the U.S. Army. America's Army players will experience soldiering in a state-of-the-art new manner.
The America's Army game blends two vivid simulations: Soldiers, a role-playing portion in which players navigate life's challenges to achieve goals, and a first-person action game, called Operations.

Developed by the U.S. Army and a world-class team of Department of Defense experts in simulations and virtual environments, America's Army will be available in August. The Army will distribute America's Army for free in response to requests at America's Army and GoArmy.com, through distribution partners that include leading computer game magazines, at Army events, at recruiting stations, and through internet download. The game is rated T for Teen by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board.

Anticipating large-scale distribution this summer, the Army unveiled the game at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the computer and video games industry's major convention in Los Angeles.

[[Soldiers]]

In the Soldiers role-playing portion, players undergo Army training and adventures while encountering tactical, technical and physical challenges - similar to issues soldiers might face in their first tour of duty while on and off duty. Importantly, players manage their character's goals, values and resources. Each player chooses specific soldier attributes, career, and personal goals to achieve. As each goal is met, another is set. Values are integral to how the player guides a character while they coordinate six resources to determine how fast their character reaches a goal.

Each time a soldier-character encounters a new challenge or life choice, the game uses a revolutionary real-time story engine to generate new screenplays, dialogue, scenes, sounds and actions to carry the character through a personalized story. This link between player's actions and choices results in nearly infinite story possibilities. The game features text-to-voice technology allowing for personalized simulations while combining animation with photo realistic background images.

[[Operations]]

The action-packed Operations portion allows up to 32 players to enter into virtual service with the U.S. Army on the same unit mission. Players begin their virtual Army experience as a recruit with an anonymous user name to experience challenging Army missions from a first-person perspective. Developed using the latest version of Epic Games' Unreal Engine and optimized for NVIDIA GeForce2 graphics processors, Operations features 20 single and multiplayer missions.
Training missions build player capabilites -- from navigating Fort Benning's obstacle course to parachute drops in preparation for assignment to the 82nd Airborne Division. Multiplayer missions are played free on a virtual playing field online with web servers hosted by HomeLAN.

Multiplayer missions are organized into assignment tours, such as being part of the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) or the 75th Ranger Regiment. To join a multiplayer game, the players must complete the appropriate training. Gamers use realistic equipment and authentic military hardware. Teamwork, leadership and the benefits of training are emphasized. As in any team effort, communication is key: gamers use different speech, whispers, shouts, radio messages and -- in a game industry first -- genuine military hand and arm signals. Borrowing a page from Army force-on-force training methods, players always perceive they always are on the U.S. team.

The two games are interlaced, with experiences and attributes accumulated during gameplay in one game shaping adventures and opportunities in the other. Players can jump from one game to another to find out additional mission and career information and learn hints to help them advance.

America's Army is an amazing product and hats off to the US Army for being bold enough to make this project happen, said Jay Wilbur, strategic advisor to Epic Games, a leading game development company. This game will deliver the public an immersive, realistic, behind-the-scenes Army experience wrapped into a cutting-edge game that raises the bar for computer entertainment products.

The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs is the proponent for America's Army. Game development was directed and managed by the U.S. Military Academy's Office of Economic & Manpower Analysis at West Point. The staff of the Modeling, Virtual Environment and Simulation Institute, masters and doctoral students at the military's post-graduate education facility in Monterey, Calif., developed the game's highly realistic simulations and situations. The development team worked with leading firms such as Epic Games, NVIDIA, THX Division of Lucasfilm Ltd., Dolby Laboratories, Lucasfilm Skywalker Sound, HomeLAN, and GameSpy Industries.

Through the efforts of the more than 1.2 million soldiers in the active Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve the U.S. Army is the world's premiere land force. Today, more than 210,000 soldiers stand guard in defense of freedom in over 120 foreign countries. Army soldiers are on the frontline in the ongoing war on terrorism and joint-service missions for the Department of Defense. The Army will be 227 years old on June 14 and is major part of a Transformation revolution for America's future national defense needs. For more information on the Army, go to GoArmy.com.

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