What can Defence Training & Simulation learn from gaming? (Part 2)

By Benn Pickering

Advancements in gaming technology are too rapid and significant for defence and armed forces leaders to ignore given their potential to bring about the next generation of immersive, repeatable data-driven and cost-effective military training and simulation. In Part 2 of this blog series, we’re looking at how defence can draw technical inspiration from gaming technology to augment training and simulation solutions, improve accessibility for users and ensure maximum exploitation of data for analysis and performance improvements.

Innovation

One valuable lesson that defence training simulators can learn from the gaming industry is the utilisation of server-sided training systems. In contrast to client-sided simulators, which are self-contained systems responsible for processing and managing all data internally, server-sided systems offer distinct advantages. For instance, in a client-sided flight simulator, positional data regarding the user’s location within the virtual world and the position of their targets would be stored locally. While this approach suffices for individual training scenarios, the vision of the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) is to transform exceptional soldiers into cohesive, high-performing teams. To achieve this, training simulators must support larger-scale exercises involving team collaboration. By drawing inspiration from gaming technology, the defence sector can transfer the processing and data management functions to a server-based infrastructure. This shift enables the server to handle the resource-intensive calculations related to the training simulator’s virtual world, effectively acting as the authoritative “single source of truth.” This centralised approach ensures accuracy in team collaboration by guaranteeing that all team members are acting on the same information, reducing discrepancies, minimising latency issues, and fostering seamless coordination among team members.

Data-driven performance analysis

The gaming industry has truly mastered the art of data-driven performance analysis. Games provide players with an extensive array of statistics, including metrics such as time played, accuracy percentage, win rate, average time to victory, and detailed positioning and location data. These statistics empower players to thoroughly evaluate their own performances and enable specialised gaming coaches to analyse individuals’ playing styles, making precise adjustments and implementing targeted improvements. By embracing a similar approach, the defence training and simulation industry can leverage data-driven insights to assess trainee performance objectively, identify areas for growth, and develop tailored strategies for enhancement. This wealth of data can be used strategically to create specific training scenarios that address the identified shortcomings in individual performances. By simulating scenarios that target those specific areas, trainees can practise and improve upon their weaknesses, ultimately enhancing their overall capabilities. Just as in gaming, this data-driven analysis not only drives continuous improvement but also allows for the customization of training programs to address specific skill gaps and optimise training outcomes.

Accessibility

The gaming industry has made significant strides in terms of accessibility, allowing more individuals than ever before to engage in gaming experiences. With the rise of mobile gaming and the widespread availability of game consoles, gaming has become increasingly accessible to a broader audience. Moreover, the development of specialised gaming computers and handheld consoles enables gamers to play on the go. Advanced networking technology, such as 5G connectivity, allows gamers to connect and play with thousands of others from anywhere in the world. This accessibility empowers gamers to enjoy their favourite games at their convenience, whether it’s in a hotel room during a work trip or on a plane while travelling. The defence industry can take valuable lessons from this trend by leveraging similar technologies, such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), to provide trainees with the opportunity to practise in various locations. By embracing the accessibility and flexibility offered by these advancements, the defence industry can enhance its training programs and prepare trainees for real-world scenarios in diverse environments. This not only expands the reach of defence training but also ensures that trainees are well-prepared and adaptable in different operational contexts. By adopting gaming-inspired accessibility measures, the defence industry can leverage technology to shape more versatile and effective training experiences for its personnel.

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