Foreign and Military Affairs

PLA develops online game for training

Updated: 2011-06-29 07:32

By Zhao Lei (China Daily)

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BEIJING - The People's Liberation Army (PLA) has developed its first online military game to improve combat skills and technological awareness.

The Glorious Mission sets the player as a soldier with the PLA ground force.

PLA develops online game for training
The opening page of the virtual game, Glorious Mission. [Zhu Xingxin / For China Daily]

The first-person shooter game has three models - basic training, single missions and team combat. Players can opt for single combat or be part of a group of 32 players, divided into two groups, who take on and defeat opponents.

As a new recruit a player will have to go through basic training and then receive professional indoctrination and instruction.

On completion, their combat capability will be enhanced and they will enter the "exciting life of the military", according to an earlier report by the PLA Daily.

The game, described by the China Software Testing Center as the "first large local area network (LAN) military game that has full intellectual property rights in China", was co-developed by Nanjing Military Command and Wuxi Giant Network Technology Inc in Jiangsu province.

All of the game's weapons and equipment are part of the PLA's weaponry, including the Type 99 main battle tank, the ZBD2000 amphibious fighting vehicle and the J-10 multi-role jet fighter.

The program can simulate various weather conditions and accurately portray battle situations, Xinhua News Agency reported on Tuesday.

Experts at the Nanjing Military Command analyzed 34 military games and organized more than 30 symposiums to discuss the program's design and development.

After 32 months of development and tests, the final version was released on June 20 with many Chinese experts praising it as "a breakthrough in military games and a pioneering work in the cyber-game industry".

A PLA publicity officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed on Tuesday that soldiers and officers had been involved in the development and testing of the game and their feedback significantly contributed to the final version.

"I think it is possible that the game will be made open online for Chinese military fans to download and play," the officer told China Daily.

Video games are not unfamiliar to soldiers in the Chinese military.

"As far as I know, units of the PLA have long used video games in their training," said a veteran from the PLA ground force, who also requested anonymity. "For instance, the scouts may use Counter-Strike," a first-person shooter game developed by US-based Valve Corporation.

A student at a PLA Ground Force College, surnamed Wu, told China Daily that video games were part of lectures on air combat.

"The game did actually help us develop a stronger tactical sense," Wu said.

The combat situations helped improve tactical awareness, according to a professor.

"The game has benefited servicemen," Gong Fangbin, a professor at the PLA National Defense University, was quoted by Beijing Morning Post as saying. "It demands a tactical appreciation of your surroundings and the options facing you. It supplements ground training and is both educational and entertaining."

Ma Quanzhi, a public relations manager with the Wuxi Giant Network Technology Inc, the main developer of Glorious Mission, refused to disclose more details of the game, saying his company has not been authorized by the military to do so.

Other countries, including the United States and Russia, have used video games in military training and have achieved "satisfactory results", an earlier report by Chinese Defense, a newspaper run by the PLA, said.


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