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Title: How realistically can contemporary platoon-level infantry combat be simulated using First-Person Shooter (FPS) video games?
Author: Bennett, James Henry
ISNI:       0000 0004 6348 1569
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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This research thesis investigates the degree to which first-person computer games are capable of simulating tactical infantry engagements, with a view to enhancing their utility for future infantry training and informing subsequent academic and military studies. This field of research is becoming increasingly relevant within the modern military establishment, as budget cuts brought about by the general economic downturn are compelling armed forces to seek more cost effective methods of training soldiers. Because modern games are highly technologically advanced and costly to develop as stand-alone products, the usage of Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) video games as training aids is becoming increasingly common. Since these games have applications in both the military and commercial spheres, developers are able to try to obtain double value by selling them concurrently to both markets. The innate tension between realism and entertainment inevitably leads to compromises in the verisimilitude of the product, and this thesis argues that achieving such double value is tenable only in relation to specific aspects of infantry training. There has been little academic research to date examining the effectiveness of COTS game usage within the military, largely due to their recent development and acceptance as legitimate training tools. However, three main strands of related research undertaken by two distinct professions have been identified: Militaries have invested considerable resources into understanding infantry combat modelling and dynamics, and to a lesser extent how bespoke virtual environments can be employed to enhance training regimes, while social scientists have assessed the characteristics inherent to simulated environments in order to examine psychological immersion. This thesis will link together – and expand upon – these areas of research, which examine hitherto discrete aspects of commercial video games and military simulations. Combining these approaches will provide an evaluation of how realistic commercial game products are from a military perspective, in conjunction with an examination of their relationship to the sociological aspects of the intent of the designers and needs of the market. This will pave the way for an assessment of how successfully COTS video games can be adapted to suit the needs of armed forces, specifically in relation to creating combat environments suitable for training infantry soldiers in particular aspects of combat. This research will bridge the gap between the professional military and simulation communities, equipping simulation professionals with an understanding of combat, and military professionals with the skills to utilise First-Person Shooter (FPS) environments effectively as training tools.
Supervisor: Sabin, Philip Anthony Graham ; Betz, David James Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available