US government developing school shooting survival sim

Army and Department of Homeland Security working on first-person game that lets users play a teacher, cop, or shooter

Video games are sometimes accused of being a contributing factor to recurring school shootings in the US, but the government is hoping games can help lessen the tragedy of such events. As reported by Gizmodo, the US Army and Department of Homeland Security are jointly developing a first-person simulation game to help teachers understand what to do if they're ever in an active shooter situation.

The new simulation is the latest iteration of EDGE (Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment), a $5.6 million program which to this point has been used to train police and firefighters about how to respond to school shooters.

"The more experience you have, the better your chances of survival are," EDGE chief engineer Tamara Griffith said. "So this allows you to practice and have multiple experiences [and] know what works and what doesn't work."

The game will encourage teachers to follow a set of best practices in such a situation, from locking and barricading doors to lining people up against the walls. It will also allow users to play as police officers trying to kill the shooter, or as the shooter, trying to kill whoever they come across.

"With teachers, they did not self-select into a role where they expect to have bullets flying near them. Unfortunately, it's becoming a reality," Griffith said. "And so we want to give them that chance to understand what options are available to them and what might work well for them."

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Latest comments (6)

Ben Link Video Game Enthusiast and Graphic Artist A year ago
"It will also allow users to play as police officers trying to kill the shooter, or as the shooter, trying to kill whoever they come across."

Are they serious......? This is basically a murder simulator.....
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James Berg Games User Researcher, EA CanadaA year ago
Yeah, I'm with Ben on this - the addition of playing the shooter here confuses me. This seems like it would get more use as an outright simulator *for* the shooters. It's a lot easier for me to imagine a wannabe-shooter practicing on this than it is for me to see a teacher using it to improve their defense.

Can you imagine the outcry if any FPS/TPS game included a school level, and said it was for this purpose?
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Ted Pollak Analyst / Portfolio Manager, EE Fund Management LLCA year ago
I believe it indicates it will be used to help teachers and security/law enforcement; does not indicate distribution to public. Any good conflict simulation will avoid scripted antagonists for maximum scenario analysis. AI is not even near able to react like a human controlled bad guy; or adapt to situations. The simulation is absolutely more useful with a human playing the shooter; and even allows the injection of training for a hostage negotiator, etc. This method of analysis and training has been around for twenty years using other scenarios (police/disaster response,etc.) so nothing new here.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Ted Pollak on 6th January 2018 9:33pm

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Adam Campbell Game Manager, AzoomeeA year ago
As much as I'm for the simulation capabilities of games, I just hope this doesn't become a derailment to the more serious measures required to stop these shootings from happening across the nation.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft GermanyA year ago
So, the Us government went from attacking videogame violence to make a game based in real world's violence. Still, not a single step on implementing some short of gun control.
This is just unbelievable
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Benjamin Hoyt Founder & CEO, 47 Games, Inc.A year ago
I suspect that it's necessary to allow a real person to play the shooter in order for it to be realistic. I can also imagine how having the opportunity to experience the role of the attacker could be helpful/educational for someone who winds up on the other side of such an event.

It's noteworthy that the words "game" and "play" seem to be being used here by the author of the article, as opposed to anyone involved with this actual project.

Finally, it doesn't actually sound to me (though the article is admittedly a little confusing on this subject) like this is ever intended to be a commercially-available "product"/experience. It sounds like a straight-up training simulator.
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