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Archive for the ‘Gaming’ Category

The Program Executive Office Soldier, or PEO Soldier, is a organization within the U. S. Army responsible for rapid development and fielding of technologies that support soldiers.  That is a noble mission no doubt, but my gripe with PEO Soldier is they invest time and money to develop technologies that private companies have already been fielded and that warfighters have battle-tested.  Case in point:  the U. S. Army improved magazine:

The Army has begun fielding the new 5.56mm 30 round Improved Magazine that delivers a significant increase in reliability for the battle-tested M16 and M4 weapons systems. Bolstering the already high reliability ratings of the M16/M4 systems, the Improved Magazine effectively reduces the risk of magazine-related stoppages by more than 50 percent compared to the older magazine variants. Identified by a tan-colored follower, over 500,000 of the improved magazines have been fielded to units in Iraq, Afghanistan and in the U.S.

“With the improved magazines, we’re taking weapons reliability up another notch,” said LTC Chris Lehner, Product Manager Individual Weapons. “By incorporating a heavier, more corrosion resistant spring, along with a new follower design that does not tilt inside the casing, our engineers were able to develop a magazine that presents a round to the weapon with even greater stability. Increased magazine reliability results in overall improved weapon system performance.”

Sounds great, right?  There’s only one problem.  MagPul Industries already developed such a magazine–the PMAG (PDF)–in 2006 and released it in 2007.  Since that time, the PMAG has been continuously improved, gaining a reputation for strength and reliability among civilian, law enforcement, and military users.  The thing is even strong enough to get run over by a truck.  (If one private company is not enough for you, TangoDown has its own high-reliability magazine, the ARC Magazine, which was released in 2009.)  To compound matters, the PMAG is in the military supply chain with its own NATO stock number.

Besides this obvious oversight, PEO Solder’s multimedia folks need a refresher on basic small arms operation:

[Apparently, PEO Soldier Live pulled the video.  No hard feelings! –Editor]

Catch the error?  As Lightfighter member XGEP quipped, “Well there’s your problem… you’re firing the whole cartridge out of the barrel!”  Already at a credibility deficit from “reinventing the wheel,” PEO Soldier takes another hit from a poor presentation.  I have written that those who design weapons could benefit from a humanities point of view; the same is true for humanities folks who are short on experience operating weapons.  There are few people who see both sides of the equation.  (And look!  Here’s one that needs a job!)

However, this is old, old news.  What reminds me of this sad tale?  While jonesing for some Portal 2, I came across this hilarious promotion video:

As Aperature CEO Cave Johnson (J. K. Simmons) lists the advantages of his company’s death-dealing robotic turret, he answers an age-old question:  “How do we get so many bullets in ’em?  Like this!  Plus, we fire the whole bullet.  That’s 65% more bullet per bullet.”  Perhaps, PEO Soldier was finally ahead of the curve!  I can’t help but think the people who put this video together had that silly PEO Soldier video in mind.

Be sure to pause on the “tech specs” of that turret.  There are some funny components including a “empathy generator” and a “empathy suppressor.”  I also had a good laugh at the roughly-multicam turret who says, “I’m different.”  Well done, Valve.  Well done.

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Via @USArmy. Today, the US Army will release a new version of its video game and recruitment tool, America’s Army. According Grafton Pritchartt of Army.mil, America’s Army 3 will introduce a number of new features that will provide a better simulation of combat for prospective recruits:

The original game has been out since July 4, 2002, but the new version will provide gamers with improved features, thanks in part to the use of Unreal Engine 3.

Unreal Engine 3 will allow the game to have effects like lighting and shadowing and rendering. The effects make the 14 different choices of characters more realistic, project developer and creator Col. Casey Wardynski said.

“America’s Army 3 involves enhancements of the technology from America’s Army’s original version, which has made the sound (and graphics) dramatically better,” Wardynski said. “This gives them a chance to test drive the army. Instead of it being all the stuff they think they know from the movies, it demonstrates what it is really like because this game is made by the Army.”

A trailer for the video game is available here. Or, if you can bring yourself to set down your Baudrillard for a moment, go download a copy and join the fray. You can “pre-load” the game at the America’s Army website, and the game will “unlock” around 3:00 PM EST.

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