Secret Service Dumps Models, Embraces Videogames

Secret Service Dumps Models, Embraces Videogames


Videogames will soon assist in keeping the President of the United States safe, albeit in a very indirect way.

The US Secret Service - the organization that, among other things, guards the President of the United States - is dropping the scale models it's used for training for the last 40 years, in favor of a new system based on videogame technology.

In the past, the Secret Service used the models - known as "Tiny Town" - to recreate scenarios and locations where a potential security threat might occur. These included places like airports, hotel interiors, and outdoor stadiums. Agents could simulate different parts of a dignitary's itinerary, from the moment he or she arrived at a site, to the moment he or she left, and everything in between.

It was decided, however, that the Secret Service needed a more dynamic training tool, and so the agency turned to Bohemian Interactive - best known for making the Operation Flashpoint and ArmA military sims - and its Virtual Battlespace technology. The VBS software was developed by Bohemian's Australian branch, which was founded specifically for making military training simulators.

The VBS system has been around since 2002, and a number of US armed forces have made use of it, including the Marine Corps, and the Army. The Secret Service has used the first version of the software in the past, but always in conjunction with - and not instead of - the Tiny Town models. The second edition of the VBS software can do everything that the models can do, plus things that would be impossible, like recreating toxic gas clouds and similar threats.

It's not just the software that's new either, as the Secret Service has also invested in some pretty impressive hardware. Training will now take place in kiosks, made up of a computer running the VBS 2 software, a 55" touch screen monitor, a camera/projector set up, and a 3D capable LCD TV for conducting briefings. This equipment will allow teams of up to four trainees to put together a plan quickly and efficiently, and review it from a both a third-person, and a first-person perspective. The Secret Service hopes to have the kiosks all up and running by this spring.

Obviously, this is a serious training tool for teaching people how to deal with genuinely dangerous situations, but at the same time, it sounds like it could make for a really interesting game, not dissimilar to the planning sections in the older Rainbox Six titles. Unfortunately, it's a little hard to imagine the Secret Service going for the idea.

Source: DHS via Gamasutra


That could be an interesting game - kind of like Hitman in reverse.

And thus, thousands of kids all across the globe are better then the secret service during training.

So basically BIS ripped off the CIA with a Google Sketchup ripoff?

So, who's gonna tell the Governator first? :)

Should have been implemented back in the Bush Jr era - video games would have held little George's attention long enough for him to make strategic deci- wait, you know what? It was all good.

(Now if only someone hid Cheney's scale models so that he stopped making foreign policies and went back to eating kittens.)

On other news, Tiny Town manufacturers have been devastated.

The advantage of video games is that they have the ability to easily create large amounts of precise detail.

Give or take your definition of precise.
Give or take your definition of precise.

The advantage of that is that you're still able to accurately simulate and imagine situations without the need to have to continuously use new models. Heck it only takes a few minutes to swap out from a 747 to an F-14 in a video game engine, whereas in model version you'd have to go look for it in an archive or make a new one.

See!!!!!!! Vidjya Games can be used for trainin to do things!!!

I wouldn't be suprised if an actual game was developed from this. Afterall, Operation Flashpoint and ArmA were both developed with the help of the programs Bohemian Interactive developed for military use.

I can't imagine the SS developing this, and not implementing "challenge" scenarios, with highly difficult or complex squad missions required, for extra kudos or promotion material.

is it only a game if it has "high score"?

See!!!!!!! Vidjya Games can be used for trainin to do things!!!

Perzactly! Can't wait to see the terrorist version.


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