Increasing realism in virtual marksmanship simulators
Worden, Brian P.
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The U.S. military currently uses a number of virtual marksmanship simulators to help train its soldiers and Marines in marksmanship techniques. Like all information systems, these virtual marksmanship simulators rapidly become outdated, and need to be upgraded or replaced. One aspect that can potentially be improved is the realism of these simulators, generally in regards to their graphics quality. The issue is that simulator realism is a highly complex subject, with many more factors to account for besides just graphics quality. The author hypothesized that (1) one or more specific factors can be identified which impact the realism of virtual marksmanship simulators, and (2) improving or enhancing a factor, such as graphics quality, will have a positive effect on a participants objective score and/or their subjective experience with the simulator. A group of 17 civilian and active-duty military volunteers conducted baseline training with the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer (ISMT), and then participated in two different scenarios using the standard Navy Handgun Qualification Course (NHQC). One scenario used a low-resolution background, while the other used a high-resolution background. Results partially supported the hypotheses. While no conclusive objective data identified any specific factors that impact the realism of virtual marksmanship simulators, there was subjective data to suggest that graphics quality did impact the realism of virtual marksmanship simulators. Likewise, the objective data taken from shooters scores showed no improvement between low-resolution and high-resolution scenarios, but the subjective experience of the participants trended positively toward higher fidelity graphics.
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