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Jan 17, 2004



This also reminds me of a comment Jaron Lanier, futurist, humanist, visionary and coiner of the term "virtual reality", made when I saw him speak a few months ago. He answered "Homeland security and defense" when asked where the work on VR is being done now. Jaron said that scientists and researchers go where the grants are and the grants are from DoD, post 9/11. I know There didn't go out and solicit the contract but how strange that being a defense contractor might be a healthy business option for "game" companies.

Someone must be calling this "Project Ender", right?


BridgetAG> I know There didn't go out and solicit the contract

Actually There.com had a VP who was full time oriented on government contracts, so they very much did go out and solicit it. Nothing wrong with that and given their recent layoffs it may become an even larger component of their business.


Well, this sort of thing has been going on since as far back as the days when the military contracted Atari to do a special version of the arcade machine Battlezone, with some extra features for training soldiers. I believe they were funding work on expensive high end flight simulators as far back as the 1960s, and at one time their SimNet system may have been the biggest multiplayer game that existed. It certainly was using the most expensive hardware! It could simulate battles between thousands of tanks and helicopters fought between soldiers at bases around the world, with an innovative (though highly CPU intensive) approach to dealing with latency. The largest site was at Fort Knox. The tank simulators replicated the interior of the model of tank they were simulating, and were staffed by a four man crew just like the real tank would be. Generals could view the battle from invisible flying carpets that were able to rapidly and safely fly anywhere. Doug Church worked on the SimNet project for a while before joining the regular game industry & doing Underworld, System Shock, and other noteworthy games.

-- Dr. Cat


Yeah, this is in keeping with their virtual battlefield concept.

With more tech equipment in the hands of the frontline infantry personnel, there is a high demand for tools to train every cadet on virtual displays for battleplans.

I personally want to see more work on the education side. Virtual educational tours of the seven wonders would be fun.



> I personally want to see more work on the education side.

I'm with you there, but then I'm a filthy peacenik.

All this money being spent on more creative ways to kill people overseas when many parts of the first world (U.S. and Canada in particular) have a serious poverty and education problem. Boggles the mind.

But that's just me.


JC Herz, of Joystick Nation fame, has been a consultant to DARPA for a while now.

Random semi-relevant 1980s reference: The Last Starfighter anyone? And then that other rumor about the government using a suspicious arcade machine in some midwestern arcade for brainwashing tests?

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