The U.S. Army is looking to build a large virtual world similar to that of Second Life to help train soldiers. According to InformationWeek, the project will be called the Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's Simulation and Training Center. They are currently seeking a system integrator to build the complex virtual world.
The goal of the project is to create an environment similar to a massively multiplayer online game. The training simulator will offer artificial intelligence to move and interact with the terrain similar to Earth. The world will also simulate weather as it happens on Earth and allow people playing to have multiple views such as how the terrain would look through the scope of a weapon. Players will also be able to interact with each other through either voice or instant message to help accomplish the current mission.
The Army hopes to get the application to "ingest and maintain correlation with tactical terrain data, artificially intelligent agents with basic scripting control, and external real-time data visualization capability," along with the hope of supporting 10,000 active users within the first two years and the project completed in the third year.
This is not the first time a U.S. Military branch has used a virtual environment for training or simulation. The Air Force setup a simulated base in Second Life called My Base.