U.S. Army Sets Up Video-Game Studio

CARY, North Carolina -- The U.S. Army, riding the success of its action video game America's Army, has set up a video-game studio with industry veterans to write other kinds of software to simulate training for a variety of armed forces and government projects. The Army got into the game business when it released America's Army in July 2002, essentially as an interactive Army recruitment ad. The game is available for download free, and 3.4 million gamers have registered to play it. To build on that success, the America's Army Government Applications office was quietly opened in January in Cary, North Carolina, with a team of 15 video-game creators, simulation specialists and ex-Army personnel. Many of the studio's employees come from local video-game companies like Interactive Magic, Timeline, Vertis, SouthPeak Interactive, Vicious Cycle Software and Red Storm Entertainment.

The new studio is headed by Jerry Heneghan, a West Point graduate, who spent 13 years as an Apache pilot and was a producer at video-game developer Red Storm Entertainment, best known for its Tom Clancy-branded military simulations. The North Carolina location allows easy access to a variety of locales, including Fort Bragg, where the programmers spend time getting up close and personal with new Army vehicles. "The Research Triangle's universities offer a steady flow of fresh young talent, and we're in close proximity to developer Epic Games, which provides the game engine for America's Army," said Heneghan. The studio also works closely with Washington agencies, West Point and Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, where the Future Applications Team is located. It also has close ties to Orlando, Florida, the epicenter of military simulation and training technologies.

News source: Wired.com

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