December 15, 2006:
The U.S. Army is creating on-line training simulations that can run on a laptop computer. The latest one is ELECT BiLAT (Enhanced Learning Environments with Creative Technologies: Bilateral Engagements). This game shows troops how to deal with locals in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, in particular, how to deal with local authorities. The game covers a lot of the negotiation aspects, which, when you are dealing with a different culture, requires some practice to master. The outfit that created the game, Creative Technologies, is an operation the U.S. Army set up in southern California. People from the commercial game industry and Hollywood are brought in to develop military simulations. Several have been produces, including a highly graphic one that had the player manning a roadblock, and having to deal with a number of typical, and scary, situation. These games are popular with the troops, but earlier ones used large screens and movie quality sound systems. The switch to laptops as a venue, recognizes that many troops take their laptops off to the war zone.