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Back to News Listing The game is getting serious: How a commercial video game becomes a military asset.

Posted: Tuesday, July 24, 2018 by Daniele Meneghini

Type: News

Command: Modern Air/Naval Operations (CMANO) is a serious videogame, very much in the Matrix Games genre and was released for public sale in 2013. CMANO gives the Wargamer full tactical and operational level control of a conflict simulation, from a single 1-vs-1 dogfight, or naval skirmish all the way to theatre and even strategic-scale warfare. CMANO, developed by our Developer partner WarfareSims, was immediately recognised by our gaming community as a unique title and repeatedly voted Wargame of the Year (WOTY). 

Since release, multiple DLC and expansion sets have been added and the very popular, yet controversial, Command LIVE series, based around evolving political and military events, has been a major success. Other examples of the realism of the series are Chains of War a battle set that explores conflict between China, the USA and their respective allies, taking place the near future.

The Command LIVE series of DLC’s, places you as Commander in the midst of a range of topical and newsworthy incidents, for example “DON OF A NEW ERA” kicks off when a violent demonstration against the Moldovan Government explodes, with the death of 27 protesters and the city under martial law.  The EU has declared support for the Moldovan Government, but Russia has come out vehemently in support of the ethnic Russian population.

In “YOU BREXIT, YOU FIX IT!” It’s 23 August 2016, Europe is reeling politically and economically from the effects of the UK deciding to leave the European UnionBoth the £Pound and the €Euro are near collapse. The Russian Federation exploits the situation and moves against the Baltic States.

Matrix has created a range of “CNN-like” news reports depicting the situations that players are confronted with in these highly realistic scenarios. 

In 2015 Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work issued a startling directive:  “I am concerned that the Department’s ability to test concepts, capabilities, and plans using simulation and other techniques—otherwise known as wargaming—has atrophied”.

Not surprisingly, Matrix took a call from the Pentagon and a new era began. The Military had recognised the value of Commercial off the Shelf Software (COTS). The cost savings and the attention to detail provided by around 1 million dedicated users, many of them serving or retired military personnel, play a major part in the testing and quality of the Command simulation.

The decision was not difficult and a team of military experts was dispatched to Epsom to evaluate Command, this resulted in further collaboration and the CMANO team were invited to visit the Pentagon. 

 

Ongoing Validation and Verification of the Simulation has established its suitability for Professional use and this has resulted in a specialist Division of the Slitherine Group, Matrix Games LLC, being established to manage Military contracts.

The Command Professional Edition of the software has expanded significantly to specifically manage experimentation & statistical analysis, the creation and testing of new and experimental platforms & systems and Warfighter training, much of which is operated within a classified environment. 

 

A number of prominent Government Agencies and military contractors are also using Command PE and last week Lockheed Martin’s Centre for Innovation in Suffolk, Virginia hosted a week long training session for key members from Government Agencies, specialist Contractors and representatives from various Militaries, gathered from around the globe to participate in a comprehensive week long training event.

The latest evolution and development of Command PE, whose advanced features are not available in the commercial edition, has rapidly progressed to suit the needs of the Military and substantial new upgrades were announced at the event. Command PE is now spearheading this innovative new business venture that has become an integral part of the physics-based research and experimentation of the defense sector.

 

Turning a commercial off the shelf (COTS) video game into professional software is not a simple task", said JD McNeil, Chairman of the Slitherine Group. "We have spent the last three years collaborating with and accommodating the very specific needs of our Military clients. We are continually modifying and improving the software to fit their very specific needs. It's a fundamentally different development environment that requires a diverse approach to the range of issues to be considered. The Slitherine Group and its development partner WarfareSims are investing significant resources, developing what has become an integral part of our future growth".

More Info

Command: Modern Air Naval Operations Wargame of the Year Edition

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