Bohemia’s US Army training game will have you trekking over 2000km multi-map environments

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Two weeks ago, Bohemia announced Virtual Battlespace 3 – a new consolidated tactical training and mission rehearsal solution. A milsim, to the likes of us.

Like Arma 3, VBS3 will feature support for “robust” terrain and scenario editing. Unlike Arma, it can also muster 2000km x 2000km “multi-map terrains” and hulking great ships warships, found floating about its “maritime environment”. Cor. No word on what that means for the turtles, mind.

VBS3’s predecessor has been the go-to simulation tool for NATO countries – including the respective gunmen and women of the US, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Sweden and the Netherlands – since 2008. The US Army has made another five year commitment to Bohemia’s new iteration, which they’ll use to simulate environments for soldiers training in classrooms.

Key features above and beyond those offered by VBS2 include:

  • A redesigned, cleaner, and simpler user interface
  • Support for larger multi-map terrains (over 2000km by 2000km), including high-detail insets
  • Improved network performance, allowing for increased number of clients and AI entities
  • Improved procedural and multi-map terrain rendering
  • Support for high-fidelity graphics
  • Improved support for the maritime environment, including large and high-detail ships
  • Improved physics via PhysX by Nvidia middleware
  • Reworked animation system for increased realism
  • Improved after-action review (AAR) capability, including AAR editing
  • Robust and proven HLA and DIS interoperability
  • Integrated digital chalkboard for military overlays in both 2D and 3D

VBS3 does have an early access program of sorts, but you won’t find it on Steam. Instead, you’ll need to be ordering on behalf of a government of some kind.

Failing that, you’ll have to wait until ‘Q2 2014’. Government agents(!) who buy a single license for VBS2 on the Bohemia Simulation Store will get a free upgrade once the new version is reintroduced to civilian life next year. But with any luck, we’ll see a similar offer extended to the public.

Can you envision yourself investing in a game with a harder core even than Arma’s?