US Army CryEngine Sim Looks Fancy

Look out, Arma!
The guys over at PCG noticed that the US Army’s CryEngine-powered “Dismounted Soldier Training System” has two trailers out. Do military training technologies need trailers? Hard to say, unless they are angling to become the third contender for the military manshoots arms race? These trailers are perhaps a little austere to complete with the big boys boombox bombast, but it’s nice and simulatory, as you can see below, so perhaps they could square off with Arma 3.


  1. max pain says:

    Nice effort. Is this supposed to be successor of America’s Army? It sure looks like a lot of effort just for internal training tool.

    • mjig says:

      I could be wrong but I think for internal training tools they use that simulator created by Bohemia that runs on the ARMA engine. I imagine this is an America’s Army deal.

    • MiniMatt says:

      Immediately thought of America’s Army; I recall getting kicked from an AA server once for making an (with hindsight somewhat crass, but at the time I thought highly amusing) observation that the game was indeed just like real warfare in that the Brits kept getting shot in the back by the Americans.

    • Timberfox says:

      During a simulated ambush, i pressed numpad enter let me drive my humvee in 3rd person to better identify threats, very instinctual after being an ARMA fan for awhile…i got yelled at by my Sergent :(

    • sidhellfire says:

      America’s Army a simulator? This is Counter-Strike dressed for recruitment not a training environment.

  2. diebroken says:

    ( *squee*) Little Birds always look great in any engine…

    • grundus says:

      I did enjoy the helicopter formation bit, does that ever happen in Arma II online? I’ve never actually played online, mainly because playing offline scares me and I don’t have a mic, which seems essential. Also it seems like most people take it VERY seriously.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I play with the RPS bunch casually. They are all very friendly and do not take the game very seriously, they are more than happy to play with noobs like me.

    • loshon says:

      Yes, I have flow helos in formation in ARMA 2 many times, usually in some sort of echelon. Most aerial insertion missions that structured clans play practically require it.

      Jets, mm, not so much. It’s hard when you’re going so fast that a little mouse movement sends you smashing into the adjacent plane.

  3. CaspianRoach says:

    BF3’s engine can produce a bit prettier picture.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I disagree. Not that BF3 is anything other than gorgeous though.

      Not only does the lighting look much better, but you can adjust the time of day as you like and it still looks great. Not baked in like BF3.

    • LionsPhil says:

      You can’t see BF3’s picture for all the graphical horsepower squandered on simulating looking through a dirty, cheap camera lens.

    • stahlwerk says:

      Gonzo, you sure BF3 / Frostbite bakes the lighting?

  4. Apocalypse 31 says:

    I’m in the US Army and I’ve played quite a few of the simulations that the Army has to offer. I’m glad they’re moving in the right direction here. My only concern is WHEN will the average Soldier see this?

    I’ve worked with VBS-2 and its bulky and overly-complex engine (it was very frustrating for Soldiers to learn all the controls)

    I’ve worked with EST-2000 (engagement skills trainer) and it’s interactive environment

    I’ve also worked with the US Army’s version of Steel Beasts that we use in our tank simulators (CCTT) and I can tell you that the US Army did NOT buy the SB Pro 2.640 upgrade! It was like fighting the soviet bloc(k) army.

    • Overload-J says:

      I’m an Army CP36 (Simulations civilian).

      Dismounted Soldier isn’t intended to be a desktop sit-down sim, but the equivalent of the full-cockpit sims that pilots or tanker (such as the CCTT mentioned above) get – potentially complete with a hamster ball or equivalent to walk in. How much use such an expensive and complex system will be for soldiers is a question that seems not to have been asked. However, VBS2 is still around in the Army and supposedly the two will not compete. (The two different groups involved with VBS2 and Dismounted Soldier at the National Simulation Center are both housed in the same room of cubicles. No word on the degree of entertainment resulting there.) .

      So why the video? On the US end, because budgets are set to get smaller and thus all the manufacturers, and all the various acquisition programs, are fighting for their share of the pie. On the non-US side, because “purchased by the US Army” is a tagline that may help the company make more sales to other countrries.

      Side note – I happen to know that Steel Beasts 2.640 is undergoing evaluation as a schoolhouse sim in one Army course. I doubt it will ever get into CCTT, though, due to enormous inertia behind the contracting system – would be nice if SB got in, though!

    • Apocalypse 31 says:


      Good post.

      I’m trying to get into the Simulations Branch..I’m currently an O3 Armor Officer.

      Can you shoot me an email?

      michaelpatti at gmail dot com

  5. asshibbitty says:

    Kinda baffled by this. Are they pitching it to the military? Or showing tax payers where the money goes? A job for a journalist perhaps?

    Also, sarcastic comment about US army using German tech.

  6. Hellfire257 says:

    Fancy graphics are good for games, but for serious simulation and training software, fancy graphics mean nothing. What is important for such software is capability, flexibility, and customisability. These trailers are rather moot to be honest as all it does is show graphics.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I actually think it will help a lot. Immersion is obviously always a bonus. But it can simulate lighting conditions, visibility along with destruction.

    • MrMud says:

      There is a big difference between simulations of vehicles and simulations for infantry.
      For vehicles like the Swedish jet fighter Gripen, simulators have to be accurate enough to the actual aircraft that they can use the simulator as a debug system if the actual aircraft gets labled as no-fly.

    • Hellfire257 says:

      That is the problem. Adding more fidelity than necessary often provides distraction. For example, all this colour correction and overuse of bloom comes straight from the games industry. Does the average infantryman need that? Nope. Rather than admiring the bloom and lighting shafts coming through the clouds he should be focusing on learning and the task at hand.

      I know this is without a doubt a biased source, but you’ll get what I’m trying to say from it:

      link to

    • iteyoidar says:

      Just from my brief experience with working on (non-military) simulators, there are different types of graphical fidelity, and there are specific requirements you’re aiming for depending on what you’re training for. If you’re training people on tactics for approaching a distant airfield or reacting to unidentified men running 200 meters away you probably don’t need (or want) fancy smoke effects and reflections twinkling off ocean waves. There are extremely expensive flight simulators that work perfectly for training people on things like landing approaches where the terrain is literally made up of flat-shaded polygons (but they’ll still spend loads of money on perfect cockpit replicas and massive curved displays). On the other hand if you have a VR hands-on vehicle repair simulator you’ll have extremely detailed, state-of-the-art models and texturing that replicate every last visible feature on the system you’re modeling.

    • Brun says:

      It’s obvious they’re trying to make the environments feel as immersive and real as possible. That has value in an infantry simulation. It doesn’t add much to, say, a flight simulator.

  7. Bobzer says:

    Material Piercability eh?

  8. Shortwave says:

    I can’t wait to play it!

  9. Skaaltel 79 says:

    America’s Army was a recruitment tool. Nothing more.

    I find the idea of computer simulator training infantry operations hilarious. There is no substitute for getting your gear on and going out to the field. Money could be better spent on real-world simulations.

  10. DanDeath says:

    A $57 million sim, which is probably US citizens’ tax dollars. For that much, I hope it’s as realistic as they could have possibly got it.

  11. battles_atlas says:

    When’s the military-industrial complex simulator out? I’m bored of playing at foreign interventions, I want the domestic campaign

  12. Turin Turambar says:

    Very nice trailers, very fancy.

    In fact, almost too much fancy.

    The level of visual quality and polish was very high, implying lots of it wasn’t “real” but like a CoD game, lots of it pre-scripted. A spectacular showcase of technology, but not a really good formative learning tool for soldiers.

    In other words, it looked like a private (VR assisted?) Call of Duty game only for soldiers, not a serious simulation.
    All that time and money that they have used in photorealistic dirt for the town walls and really life like animation for that predone patrol is time and money not used in the simulation.