REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. — The Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center’s Software Engineering Directorate’s Army Game Studio, in coordination with Army Capabilities Integration Center, is developing the Early Synthetic Prototyping pilot Operation Overmatch.
Early Synthetic Prototyping is a process and set of tools that enable warfighters to inform technology development and acquisition decisions by designing and assessing emerging technologies in a game environment.
Soldiers and collaborators in acquisition, science, technology and industry can virtually prototype models and scenarios for assessment and evaluation.
“This allows for improving ideas on future concepts,” said Lt. Col. Brian Vogt with U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Army Capabilities Integration Center, known as ARCIC.
Operation Overmatch is a game environment where virtual versions of gear and concept of operations can be tested with soldier and veteran users.
“You can find things you like and don’t like,” Vogt said. “You can test future concepts. How you would use this gear? How would you be able to defeat the enemy in this scenario? You can shape ideas of what you think they should look like.”
Operation Overmatch provides the Army with a means to rapidly explore a wide range of potential capabilities.
Vogt has been the project lead since the beginning. “We started research on this in 2013,” said Vogt. “We reached out to academia and industry to determine how to shape it. Operation Overmatch has been in development for about a year. Everyone involved [from the] Research, Development and Engineering Command and ARCIC have something they are trying to achieve.”
Game development started small and grew. Operation Overmatch is still in the test phase. The first 100 participants were hand selected. The beta test will open in October and there will be a big push to get Soldiers from across the Army to sign up. Players will be added as development continues.
If done correctly, learning by playing is a powerful approach humans have for exploring new capabilities. Gaming can inform about how to better build the future.
“Gaming is a tremendous medium to connect Soldiers to the concept,” Vogt said. “Gaming is not just for entertainment anymore, now it is for experimenting.”
This is very different from how gaming is currently used not only in the Army, but throughout industry.
According to information provided by Vogt, experimenting in an environment without real world consequences will optimize capability development, enable the Army to innovate faster and provide Soldiers with advanced capabilities.
To win in a complex world, the Army needs the ability to innovate faster than our adversaries. Therefore, new ways of thinking are needed to enable effective design to emerge out of game play.
“The game is meant for Soldiers across the spectrum,” said Vogt.
Operation Overmatch’s audience includes Soldiers across the Army, including all ranks, all military occupational specialties, active duty, National Guard, Army Reserve and cadets. There will be reach out to Department of the Army civilians, members of academia and industry partners to participate. Eventually, this could be available to all the armed services and international partners and allies.
AGS merged experience from America’s Army to build the tool to make Operation Overmatch real. Mike Barnett with AGS has been working this project for AMRDEC.
“For Operation Overmatch to succeed, we invite the participation and feedback of Soldiers, engineers, scientists and other acquisition personnel. We invite you to be a part of the agile development of our future forces to win in a complex world at www.operationovermatch.com.”
U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities for decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the Joint Warfighter and the Nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.