Wednesday, February 12th, 2003 at 11:00 AM
Room 117, McCullough

Weapons of Mass Distraction - America's Army Recruits for the Real War

Michael Zyda
MOVES Institute

About the talk:

In 1999, the MOVES Institute and the US Army plotted together to develop a PC game in support of Army recruiting. The goal was to allow young Americans to experience a potential career in the Army in PC game form. The game is Army-accurate - training must be completed with scores identical to those in the real Army, missions must be completed as a team, and rules of engagement must be obeyed. Team training and mission play are networked, with squad-on-squad play, twenty-six players per server. As of January 13th 2003, there are over 1.3M registered players, with the game going onto the net initially on the 4th of July 2002. 800K+ players have completed Basic Combat Training. 62M+ missions have been completed, with some 40,000 hours of networked play occurring each day. 28% of all web hits on goarmy.com, the Army’s recruiting site, now come from the America’s Army game. This is the largest online game to have ever been built inside of a university. It is the fastest growing online game ever.

We begin this presentation with an overview of the MOVES Institute mission and research focus. We then discuss America’s Army’s development and deployment. We then discuss where research in massively multi-player gaming is headed.

About the speaker:

Michael Zyda is Director of the MOVES Institute at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey. He is also a Professor in the Department of Computer Science at NPS. Professor Zyda's research interests include computer graphics, large-scale, networked 3D virtual environments, agent-based simulation, modeling human and organizational behavior, interactive computer-generated story, computer-generated characters, video production, entertainment/defense collaboration, and modeling and simulation. He is the principal investigator of the America’s Army PC game funded by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. Professor Zyda received a BA in Bioengineering from the University of California, San Diego in La Jolla in 1976, an MS in Computer Science/Neurocybernetics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1978 and a DSc in Computer Science from Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri in 1984.