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Secret Service to use videogames for training

When it comes time for the brave men who put the president's life ahead of their own to train for their missions, they play what is essentially a tabletop board game. But soon they'll be getting a sweeping upgrade using the medium that everyone knows is the best teaching tool of all - videogames (but not the one on the right).

The very basic planning and training mechanism that Secret Service agents go through before dealing with any real-life threats hasn't changed for 40 years. Just like all those old war movies you've seen, they use a tabletop board with various tokens and pieces to visualize where potential threats are and where various personnel and equipment need to be. This model environment is called "Tiny Town," and it's about to be demolished.

Replacing it is "Virtual Tiny Town," which uses a system of 55-inch touch-screen kiosks filled with 3D models and all sorts of user interaction to make the experience a bit more realistic. In fact, they even have smoke simulators and effects to simulate chemical plumes.

And at the head of it all is a game called Virtual Battle Space, a fully rendered simulation of any environment the agency needs.

It already sounds like one of the coolest games we've ever seen. Motion gaming is so 2010; give us chemical plume simulators in the next round of consoles.

The new system will be set up at the Secret Service's not-so-secret James J. Rowley Training Center in the DC area this spring.

[Source: PC Mag]

Jan 27, 2011

9 comments

  • Austin_SJ - January 28, 2011 7:15 p.m.

    "You saved the President, that's an achievement AGENT!!!"
  • Shagnasty - January 28, 2011 2:12 p.m.

    Murder simulation.
  • Eaxis - January 28, 2011 6:21 a.m.

    Officer: Agent! Remember no tea bagging, it will leave you exposed. 69 seconds later. Computer: Detecting tea bagging. Officer: AGEEEEEEEEEEENT!
  • slowdrum13 - January 28, 2011 4:37 a.m.

    yeah the auto noobtoob. we did get some field training, but we used what they called "cheeto rounds". they exploded in big orange clouds of smoke. the m16 was a regular pop up range, and building clearing training.
  • Cwf2008 - January 28, 2011 4:01 a.m.

    @slowdrum13: Do you mean M-16 or are you talking about that auto noobtube Mk-19?
  • slowdrum13 - January 28, 2011 3:51 a.m.

    this isn't news at all, its been done for at least a decade. in the army we used a virtual range for the m 19 and the at 4, because they obviously weren't going to have us blow up very expensive (and explosive lol) rounds just for training purposes. Plus we had this really cool thing that was pretty much 4 trailers connected, and in each of them was a humvee (no wheels of course) and a 360 dome around it. 3 out of 4 soldiers per vehicles had what amounted to light guns and the 4th drove. they gave us different senarios each time and all 4 trailers interacted as a convoy.
  • nadrewod - January 28, 2011 2:30 a.m.

    @Nap1400 Glad to see other people noticed that. @NightCrawler_358 XD ROFL
  • NightCrawler_358 - January 28, 2011 2:10 a.m.

    The last level is when they practice the "NOOOOOOOO! Dive."
  • Nap1400 - January 28, 2011 1:44 a.m.

    Hey, look, the government isn't putting down video games! It's supporting them! Take it step by step, agency...

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