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America's Army
America's Army3.png
Developer(s) U.S. Army (PC & Consoles), Secret Level (Consoles)
Publisher(s) U.S. Army (PC), Ubisoft (Consoles)
Distributor(s) U.S. Army
License Freeware, freely redistributable provided the software unmodified, properly attributed and free of charge.
Engine v1.0-2.3 (Unreal Engine 2.0)

v2.4-2.x (Unreal Engine 2.5)
v3.0- (Unreal Engine 3.0)
Rise of a Soldier (Xbox): Unreal Engine 2.0
True Soldiers (Xbox 360): YETI engine

Version 2.8.5, 3.0.7[1]
Platform(s) Windows (current version 3.0), Linux, Mac OS X
Release date(s) PC: July 4, 2002 (v1.0) June 17, 2009 (v3.0)
Genre(s) Tactical first-person shooter
Mode(s) Training and Online multiplayer
Rating(s) ESRB: T (Teen)
Media Online download, DVD (2.7 and up), CD (2.6 and earlier)
System requirements Version 2.x : Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Linux or Mac OS X; Internet access or LAN; 2.4 GHz+ CPU or equivalent; 512 MB+ RAM; DirectX 9.0+; 128 MB+ 3D graphics card supporting transform and lighting; 3.5 GB+ of free hard drive space

Version 3.x  : XP or Vista; Internet access or LAN; 3.0 GHz CPU or equivalent; 1 GB+ RAM; DirectX 9.0c; 512 MB+ 3D graphics card supporting transform and lighting; 5 GB+ of free hard drive space

Input methods Keyboard, mouse

America's Army (also known as AA or Army Game Project) is a series of video games and other media developed by the United States Army and released as a global public relations initiative to help with recruitment. America's Army was conceived by Colonel Casey Wardynski and is managed by the U.S. Army's Office of Economic and Manpower Analysis at the United States Military Academy.[2] Wardynski envisioned "using computer game technology to provide the public a virtual Soldier experience that was engaging, informative and entertaining."[3]

The PC version 1.0, subtitled Recon, was first released on July 4, 2002. Since then, there have been over 26 versions released, the most recent being America's Army 3. All versions have been developed on the Unreal Engine and use PunkBuster to try to prevent cheating. The game is financed by the U.S. government and distributed by free download.

America's Army has "grown in ways its originators couldn't have imagined".[3] Dozens of government training and simulation applications using the America's Army platform have been developed to train and educate U.S. Army Soldiers.[4] America's Army has also been used to deliver virtual Soldiering experiences to participants at events, such as air shows, amusement parks, and sporting events around the country. The America's Army series has also been expanded to include versions for Xbox and Xbox 360, arcade, and mobile applications published through licensing arrangements.[5][6]

Contents

History

Background

The game was developed by Col. Wardynski who recognized that a video game might be helpful to the U.S. Army in the strategic communication efforts by providing more information to prospective Soldiers and to help reduce the number of recruits who wash out during the nine weeks of basic training.[2] The effort proved successful as more than 9 million copies have been downloaded.[citation needed] One teenager was quoted saying the game "provides great information. This would probably spark an interest. I don't know how I would have found out so much some other way."[7]

With several thousand players online at any one time between 2002 and 2008, it ranked in the top 10 FPS (First Person Shooter) games played online during the period, as tracked by GameSpy.[8]

The America's Army developers licensed the Unreal game engine as the foundation for its game. America's Army is intended to give a positive impression of the U.S. Army. In the official Frequently Asked Questions page the developers confirmed in a statement that one of the reasons people outside the United States can play the game is "We want the whole world to know how great the U.S. Army is."

America's Army was not the first computer video game to make recruitment an explicit goal. The earliest use of games in recruiting came from to advergaming pioneer BrandGames which delivered simulation-based games for corporate clients Merrill Lynch (1999) (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=aJ5z5JLM4JP8&refer=home). BrandGames has created the first-ever multiplayer 3D world for recruiting for Deloitte (2004) which is part of high-school curricula across the country. ( http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/lifestyles/family/s_653491.html?source=rss&feed=7 ). America's Army is the first well-known overt use of computer gaming for political aims. Chris Chambers, the former deputy director of development for America's Army, admits it is a recruitment tool, and "the Army readily admits [America's Army] is a propaganda device."[9][10] The game, considered by the U.S. Army to be a "cost-effective recruitment tool," aims to become part of youth culture's "consideration set" as confirmed by Army Deputy Chief of Personnel Timothy Maude in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.[11]

America's Army and its official webpage contain links to the "Go Army" recruitment website, another recruiting tool that, according to the Army Subcommittee Testimony from February 2000, has a higher chance of recruiting than "any other method of contact."[11] Guiding American players to the website is a major goal of the game and it was confirmed that twenty-eight percent of all visitors of America's Army's webpage click through to this recruitment site.[citation needed]

According to Col. Wardynski, the game generated interest from other U.S. government agencies including the Secret Service resulting in the development of a training version for internal government use only.[12]

Later development

On November 6, 2003, version 2.0 of America's Army was released, with the full title of America's Army: Special Forces. In a booklet produced by the MOVES Institute an article by Wagner James Au explains that "the Department of Defense want to double the number of Special Forces soldiers, so essential in Afghanistan and northern Iraq; consequently, orders trickled down the chain of command and found application in the current release of America's Army."[13]

As the game became more widely distributed, it generated additional media interest. In December 2003, a The Boston Globe columnist said "... America's Army isn't just a time-wasting shoot-'em-up. It's full of accurate information about military training and tactics, intended to prepare a new generation of potential recruits. Amidst all the shouting drill sergeants and whistling bullets, some real education is going on. America's Army is a 'serious game,' part of a new wave of computer simulations that provide entertaining lessons about real world activities."[14]

After the game proved successful, the lack of the Army's acknowledgment for the contribution by the U.S. Navy led to tension and political fights over the project.[15] Eventually the project was withdrawn from the Naval Postgraduate School due to allegations of mismanagement in March 2004 and the development team was moved to two new locations.[16][17]

One month after taking over production, the Army signed an exclusive long-term contract with Ubisoft to reach a wider and younger audience. America's Army: Rise of a Soldier, a different version of the game for Xbox was produced by Ubisoft in collaboration with the U.S. Army.[16] Despite a 10-year publishing deal, the control over all communication and advertising remains with the Army.[18] The Xbox version was released in November, 2005. It was also due to be released on the PlayStation 2 but was later canceled.[19] A version of the game was also made for the mobile phone by Gameloft.

America's Army 3

It was announced in early 2008 that the next version, America's Army 3, would be released in "fall 2008". Due to technical issues and problems with liaisons between the various departments the game, release was delayed and rescheduled for "some time in 2009". America's Army 3 entered beta testing in late 2008[20] and was released on June 17, 2009. It uses the Unreal 3 Engine and introduces other changes to how a player manages his account. Despite America's Army 3 being an entirely new game engine, there are still a number of similarities between America's Army and America's Army 3 which include the two remade and similar training. This version is said to put emphasis on graphical performance and on graphical flexibility to cover a greater range of PCs, as well as decreased size for the full version download.[21][22] The game also features fictional weapons for the enemy as opposed to the Soviet and Warsaw Pact based weapons used in the previous versions. Although the game had initial problems with online play it worked well offline. A hotfix was launched shortly after the game's release which addressed several problems. Five days after release, players were allowed to play online due to the authorization servers not being able to register that players had completed training.

One day after the launch the civilian developers team contracted until game release were dismissed. Responsibility for future development of the game was passed on to another office at Redstone Arsenal.[23][24]

Gameplay

America's Army is multiplayer, a round based team tactical shooter game with the player acting as a soldier in the U.S. Army, with combat at squad-level with three fireteams. GameSpot admires the game's authenticity: It's pretty realistic— you take one or two shots and you go limp, you take one more and you're done.[2] Another game review describes America's Army as "the most realistic portrayal of weapons and combat of any game".[25]

America's Army

America's Army always promoted adherence to the U.S. Army's seven core values.[26] To this extent, the game's main ranking system, "Honor", is named after one.

America's Army also includes optional medical training designed to provide real-world information. In order to assume the role of combat life-saver in the game, players must pass a virtual medical training course based on actual training that soldiers receive with regard to evaluating and prioritizing casualties, controlling bleeding, recognizing and treating shock, and administering aid when victims are not breathing. Two America's Army players have reported using the training they received in-game to save lives in emergency situations;[27] one such account, by Paxton Galvanek, received national media attention.[28]

The game also allows players to train to drive the HMMWV and qualify to use the CROWS system allowing in game use of the Mk 19 grenade launcher and Browning M2. Training is also available for the Javelin missile as well as specialist training such as parachute training, which allows access to the Airborne missions, and Special Forces training which allows access to the Special Forces missions.

Screenshot from the map Special Forces Snakeplain

The round ends when one team completes the objective or eliminates the entire opposing team. In certain circumstances such as when both teams are eliminated or both sides have not completed their objectives when time runs out there will be a tie.

America's Army achieves a high realism level in terms of visual and acoustic representation of combat and firearm usage and mechanics[citation needed] but its critics have alleged that it fails to convey wartime conditions as accurately as it claims.[16] "If you are going to join the Army, you know the risk." says player Bart Koscinski. "In this game you might die eight times in 15 minutes. In real life people know what they are getting themselves into."[29]

America's Army 3

America's Army 3 was completely remade in Unreal Engine 3 and introduces a number of changes. Individuals with prior accounts can no longer continue using their screen name. Therefore, new accounts must be created even for veteran users, however they can receive a veteran ribbon in Americas Army 3 if they have played Americas Army 2 for at least 20 hours. Medical training is now compulsory allowing all players to give basic IFAK treatment. While America's Army had training availability based entirely on previously completed training, America's Army 3 has only basic training available initially and online play is required to unlock more training. In addition, a single map can support multiple mission types, while in America's Army a single map only had one. A new feature in America's Army 3 is the ability to melee enemy combatants in battle using the rifle butt, allowing for a more realistic close combat situation should both sides find themselves out of ammo. America's Army 3 also eliminated the ability for the characters to jump, done to eliminate the practice of bunny hopping-type evasive maneuvers. The players can still climb onto or hurdle over low obstacles however. AA3 also streamlined the organization of the fireteams the players were grouped into; the Designated Marksman is now a member of one of the fireteams instead of being a separate two-man shooter/spotter element as would be more fitting of a sniper team as opposed to a Designated Marksman.

Other versions

America's Army: Rise of a Soldier

America's Army: Rise of a Soldier was released for the Xbox in October 2005. According to the press release, the game features "all the action-packed realism that players have come to expect from the America's Army game brand" and "offers the most true-to-life Army experience, allowing players to create a soldier and lead him through the excitement of an Army career".[30]

Mobile game

In February 2007, Gameloft and the U.S. Army released America's Army: Special Operations for mobile phones. The game features three types of gameplay. Players can pilot a combat helicopter, man an armored vehicle or serve as an infantryman. According to Mobicritic.com, "Gameloft does a great job with this game and the only fault one could find is that the game is too short. It isn't, really: you just won't realize how fast the hours of play have passed, as this game really gives the term 'action packed' a new meaning."[31][32]

Arcade game

The arcade version of America's Army was developed by Global VR and released in July 2007.[33] It is billed as a "realistic and engaging game centered on exciting training exercises and includes a significant amount of authentic Army videos".

America's Army: True Soldiers

America's Army: True Soldiers was released for the Xbox 360 in November 2007. It had both a single-player campaign and multiplayer features on Xbox Live. True Soldiers focused on the Army's "core values" by incorporating gameplay based on mission accomplishment, teamwork, leadership, and rules of engagement.[34][35]

Real Heroes

The Real Heroes program, launched in September 2006, focuses on specific soldiers who have been recognized for various acts. Described in an article from U.S. News and World Report, the idea of the Real Heroes program "is to tout ordinary people who, when thrust into danger, showed extraordinary courage"[36]

The Real Heroes program uses videos, photo albums and blogs on the Real Heroes website to depict the lives of those featured in the program. Soldiers' likenesses and biographies are incorporated into America's Army and used to create action figures sold at retail and distributed at Army events.[citation needed] Additionally, those featured in the Real Heroes program make media appearances at America's Army events across the country such as the VAE, gaming competitions and Technology Education programs. On January 23, 2007, Real Hero SGT Tommy Rieman was recognized by President George W. Bush during his State of the Union address. President Bush affirmed "... and like so many other Americans who have volunteered to defend us, he has earned the respect and the gratitude of our country."[37] Currently, there are eight Real Heroes in the program with other Soldiers being considered for 2009.

America's Army Real Heroes
Name Award Tour Selection Date
CPT Jason Amerine Bronze Star w V Device OEF-A 2006
SGT Tommy Rieman Silver Star OIF 2006
SFC Gerald Wolford Silver Star OIF 2006
SGT Mathew Zedwick Silver Star OIF 2006
SPC Jason Mike Silver Star OIF 2007
SSG Timothy Nein Distinguished Service Cross OIF 2007
SFC Robert David Groff Bronze Star w V Device OIF 2008
SSG John Adams Bronze Star w V Device OIF 2008
SPC Monica Brown Silver Star OEF 2009
  • Ranks are accurate as of the time of award.

Government applications

In 2005, the America's Army developers partnered with the Software Engineering Directorate and the Army's Aviation and Missile Research Development Engineering Center in Huntsville, Alabama, to manage the commercial game development process and use the America's Army platform to create government training and simulations. "America's Army has pushed to reuse the same elements for many purposes," said Colonel Wardynski, originator of the Game, "We can build one soldier avatar and use it again and again. When we build something in America's Army, the U.S. government owns it completely ... and [it] can therefore be used for any application or use of the game. So costs keep going down. " After AA went live, requests started coming in to use the game for purposes other than recruiting, such as training.[38]

The partnership with SED, an Army software lifecycle management center, allowed the development team to repurpose the commercial software to meet the needs of Soldiers preparing for deployment. SED engineers developed customized applications used by many different Army and government organizations including the JFK Special Forces School and the Army's Chemical School. They are used to provide training in use of rare equipment such as PackBot robots, CROWS, and Nuclear Biological Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicles.[citation needed]

Virtual Army Experience

The Virtual Army Experience (VAE) was launched in February 2007. It is a mobile U.S. Army simulator that allows participants to virtually experience certain aspects of soldiering. The core of VAE is America's Army reworked to provide a variety of scenarios. The VAE can be deployed in a full scale rendition or broken down into two smaller versions enabling it to appear at two separate events simultaneously. Since its launch, VAE has hosted over 130,000 participants at more than 100 events.[39]

Army Experience Center

On August 29, 2008, the U.S. Army opened the Army Experience Center, a facility where visitors can virtually experience many aspects of Army life. Located inside the Franklin Mills Mall in Philadelphia, the 14,500-square-foot facility features a number of interactive simulations and online learning programs to inform visitors about Army careers, training and educational opportunities.[40]

Pete Geren, Secretary of the Army, says "Potential recruits are afforded a unique opportunity through the Army Experience Center to learn what it means to be the best-led, best-trained and best-equipped Army in the world by allowing them to virtually experience multiple aspects of the Army."[41] The head of Army Recruiting Command, Major General Thomas Bostick, calls the AEC "a learning laboratory" — but not just for those who are thinking of joining. "It's incumbent upon the American public to know about their Army," Bostick said.[42]

Technology Education Program

Launched in 2007, the Technology Education Program provides real world applications of classroom learning that augment the curriculum in academic areas including math, physical science, physics, chemistry, technology, computer science, art, animation, graphic design, social studies, anatomy, physiology and psychology. Army experts and Soldiers work with students to teach them about robotics; optics; missiles; video games; and intellectual, emotional and physical development.[43][44]

In April 2008, Discovery Education featured America's Army in a live webinar in which over 1000 students and educators participated with AA game developers and software engineers.

Reception

America's Army has been positively received, up until 2.8. GameSpot states "nothing beats going in and seeing what the Army really does...without actually having to do it"[2] It has a rating of 82 on Metacritic[45] In addition, it has been covered in thousands of media outlet stories around the world and has received many awards.

Presenting Body Award Year
Computer Gaming World Magazine Editor's Choice award (4.5 out of 5 stars) 2002
Computer Games Magazine Best Use of Tax Dollars 2002
PC Gamer Magazine Best Value 2002
PC Gamer Magazine The Best Gaming moments of 2002 2002
IGN ActionVault Debut Game of the Year 2002
IGN ActionVault Biggest Surprise of the Year 2002
IGN ActionVault Multiplayer Game of the Year (Honorable Mention) 2002
Gamespot.com Biggest Surprise on a PC 2002
Gamespot.com Best Multiplayer Game (Runner Up) 2002
Gamespot.com Nominated for Best Sound in a Game 2002
GameSpy.com Best Action Game of E3 (Runner Up) 2002
Wargamer.com Best First Person / Tactical Shooter 2002
Computer Gaming World Multiplayer Game of the Year (Nominated) 2002
Clan World Network Most Realistic Game of the Year 2002
Well-Rounded Entertainment.com Best Game of E3 2003 2003
DoubleClick's Insight Awards Honorable Mention for Best Multi-Channel Marketing 2003
Academy for Interactive Arts & Sciences Finalist for 2003's First Person Action Game 2003
GameSpot Runner up for Best Multiplayer Game of the Year 2003 2003
CBS Online One of the Best Games of 2003 2003
GameSpy Best of 2003 – Best Value 2003
PC Gamer Runner Up for Best Value 2003
Computer Games Magazine Best Free Game 2004
Tom's Hardware The Best of E3America's Army: Special Forces - Most Dedicated Developers 2004
Digital Entertainment & Media Excellence Award(DEMX) Best Advergame of 2005 2005
Innovations in American Government Award Finalist 2006
M16 Copywriting and Text Gold Prize for demonstrating compelling and creative copy 2006
Event Design Magazine Awards Bronze Medal for Best Outdoor Consumer Environment (VAE) 2007
Guinness World Records Largest Traveling Game Simulator (VAE) 2008
Guinness World Records Largest Virtual Army 2008
Guinness World Records Most Downloaded War Game 2008

Academic references

America's Army has gained the interest of numerous professionals in the fields of business, economics, and social science. A partial list of published analyses includes:

Controversy

America's Army has been described as an extension of the military entertainment complex or so-called "militainment"[9] with criticism that it contributes to a militarization of society.[46] Because America's Army focuses on the technological aspect of war rather than the moral, it has been referred to as How We Fight, alluding to the U.S. government's series of films named Why We Fight, which supported the war effort for World War II.[47]

See also

References

  1. ^ AA Version 2.x will still be updated after launch of AA3.0 America's Army Official Forum
  2. ^ a b c d Kennedy, Brian (2002-07-11). "Uncle Sam Wants You (To Play This Game)". New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE2DE1330F932A25754C0A9649C8B63&sec=&spon=&&scp=1&sq=wardynski&st=cse. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  3. ^ a b McLeroy, Carrie (2008-09). "History of Military Gaming" (pdf). Soldiers Magazine: 4–6. http://lists.army.mil/soldiersmagazine/pdfs/sep08full.pdf. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  4. ^ Jean, Grace (2006-02). "Game Branches Out Into Real Combat Training". National Defense Magazine. http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/archive/2006/February/Pages/games_brance3042.aspx. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
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  23. ^ America's Army Development Studio Closed IGN
  24. ^ America's Army Developers Laid Off Shacknews
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  45. ^ America's Army: Operations (pc: 2002): Reviews
  46. ^ Li, Zhan (2003). "The Potential of America's Army the Video Game as Civilian-Military Public Sphere" (pdf). http://www.gamasutra.com/education/theses/20040725/ZLITHESIS.pdf. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  47. ^ Huntemann, Nina (2003). "Militarism & Video Games". Media Education Foundation. Archived from the original on October 2, 2003. http://web.archive.org/web/20031002152720/http://www.mediaed.org/news/articles/militarism. 

External links


Strategy wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From StrategyWiki, the free strategy guide and walkthrough wiki

America's Army
Box artwork for America's Army.
Developer(s) U.S. Army, Secret Level
Publisher(s) U.S. Army, Ubisoft Entertainment
Latest version 2.8.5 (April 30, 2009)
Release date(s)
Windows
Xbox
Genre(s) FPS
System(s) Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Xbox, PlayStation 2
Players 1+
Rating(s)
ESRB: Teen
System requirements (help)
CPU clock speed

1GHz

System RAM

512MiB

Disk space

3.41796875GiB

Video RAM

128MiB

Network connection speed

56Kibps

DirectX version
Version 9.0
Website http://www.americasarmy.com/

America's Army (also known as AA or Army Game Project) is a tactical multiplayer FPS owned by the United States Government and released as a global public relations initiative to help with U.S. Army recruitment.

The PC version 1.0, subtitled Recon, was first released on July 4 2002. Since then, there have been over 20 updated versions released, the most recent being AA:SF (Overmatch) v2.8.3.1. It is financed by the U.S. Government and distributed for free. It was originally developed by the MOVES Institute at the Naval Postgraduate School and continues to use the Unreal Engine.

America's Army: Rise of a Soldier is the title for the Xbox version that was developed by the U.S. Army, Ubisoft and Secret Level. A mobile phone version, published by Gameloft, is also available. An arcade version using light guns is also being developed.

America's Army lacks a main single player mode, but includes some training scenarios to help the player get used to the various features available in the game and so-called "co-op" (co-operative) games where players fight a group of NPCs. These are rather poorly programmed, and rely on numbers to try to make co-op games a challenge.

Table of Contents

External links


Gaming

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Wikia Gaming, your source for walkthroughs, games, guides, and more!

America's Army

Developer(s) U.S. Army
Publisher(s) U.S. Army
Release date August 28, 2002
Genre First-person shooter
Mode(s) Single player / Multiplayer
Age rating(s) ESRB: T
Platform(s) PC
Credits | Soundtrack | Codes | Walkthrough


America's Army is a game created by the US Army to train the US Army soldiers on their rest and vacation time, the game is the best simulation ever made of a real war. The scenarios of the game are based on the actual war on Middle East and possible wars with Russia, Pakistan, Iran, and India.

Background America's Army is probably the most realistic Army experiance a person can ever find in a game. It offers the real Army experience and is updated reguraly.

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America's Army
America's Army | America's Army: Special Forces | America's Army: Rise of a Soldier | America's Army: True Soldiers

This article uses material from the "America's Army" article on the Gaming wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

Simple English

America's Army
Developer: US Army (MOVES Institute, other army organizations)
Publisher: US Army
Engine: Unreal engine
Release date: AA- July 4, 2002 AA:SF- November 6, 2003
Genre: First-person tactical shooter
Game modes: Single player, multiplayer (see text)
ESRB rating: Teen (T) (13+)
Platform: Windows, Linux, Mac (not all versions)
Minimum Requirements: direct Internet connection (56K+) or faster, Pentium 1.3 GHz CPU+ (or 700MHz G4 CPU for Mac. Pentium3 766 for linux), 256MB RAM+ (128MB for linux) and 2 GB hard disk space (version 2.4)

America's Army is a multiplayer first-person shooter computer game series. It can be played using Windows, Macintosh, or Linux. It is the official game of the United States Army. The first version was free. It came out on July 4, 2002. It has been updated many times since then. The second important release was America's Army: Special Forces in November 2003. America's Army was made by the MOVES Institute at the Naval Postgraduate School. It is based on the Unreal engine.

Contents

Overview

America's Army is a tactical shooter. It is also called a "serious games". According to the game's website, America's Army "provides civilians with an inside perspective and a virtual role in today's premier land force: the U.S. Army. The game is designed for verisimilitude and to provide an accurate portrayal of Soldier experiences across a number of occupations. In the game, players will explore progressive individual and collective training events within the game. Once they successfully completed these events they will advance to multiplayer operations in small units." [1]

On February 20, 2005 there were 4.6 million registered players, and 2.7 million of them had finished basic training.[2] Also, there were more than 15,000 servers being used, and 1.3 million rounds being played each day. The game has been changed a lot. This keeps people interested in the game. It can be found as a free download on the Internet or on a CD-ROM at recruiting centers around the United States.

History

In 1999, Lieutenant Colonel E. Casey Wardynski, a professor at the U.S Military Academy at West Point decided to tell the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Military Manpower about his idea for an online computer game. His basic idea eventually became America's Army. In the same year less people were joining the army.[3]. Congress decided to use "aggressive, innovative experiments" including America's Army to get more people to join the Army.

The first release was July 4, 2002, and other changes (called patches) were added. On November 6, 2003, version 2.0 of America's Army: Special Forces was made. (Go here for more information about the different version). The Army is spending about USD$3 million a year to make more versions of the game.

Another AA version called America's Army: Rise of a Soldier is available on Playstation 2 and Xbox. This version was developed by UbiSoft. [4]

Since America's Army was created, people have complained about its purpose. People have argued about the Army using its money to make a game. They are also worried about how this game will change people's lives.

Gameplay

In America's Army there are teams of soldiers fighting in a war. The person who is playing controls a soldier of the US Army from the character's eyes. This is called first person. Players fight as either the US Army or Indigenous forces ("IF"). They fight against a team called "OPFOR" (Army lingo for "Opposing Forces"). There are different kinds of OPFORs called insurgents, enemy forces or terrorists.

US/OPFOR Transformation for Teams

One of America's Army's different features is the way the enemies are. The players are split into two different teams. There is usually an assault group and a defense group. The assault loses the round if the time limit runs out, which is usually ten minutes.

The players on each team see themselves as American soldiers with American weapons, such as the M16A2. Their opponents look like non-uniformed people with Eastern bloc weapons, like the AK-47 (the counterpart of the M16A2 in the game). In training maps the only distinguishing features are the players' uniforms. The development team did this to make the game realistic for players on both sides. They allowed everyone to play on the side of the good guys. They also avoided the problem of asking players to kill American soldiers.

On the Special Forces maps, players can also play as non-uniformed people with Eastern bloc weapons (known as Indigenous forces ("IF") in the game), but be on the same team as regular army forces.

This is confusing to many players because when they pick up an enemy weapon, it works differently than the US version. An AK-47 removed from a fallen opponent is fully automatic, more powerful, but less accurate than his M16. But when his opponent had it, to him it was an M16. The important thing is that each weapon behaves as the owner sees it. It transforms when it is picked up. If people pay a lot of attention might notice that the enemies weapons behave wrong, but it is hard to notice.

Every round starts with both teams spawning at the same time. Players can join the other team, but cannot play as the OPFOR. Equipment is not bought but selected through choosing a class[5].

Goals and scoring system

The goal of the game is to complete the objectives, kill the enemy team. For example, one objective could be to kill the V.I.P., who is trying to survive and escape. If a player joined the other team, he would have to protect the same V.I.P. The round is over if a team wins0, or if the time limit is reached. For a listing of missions gohere.

The game remembers how many people each player has killed, how many times each team has won, how many times each player has been killed, and how well the player is completing the objectives. The game then distributes score which calculates the player's "Honor" level.

Every time a player is killed, every time he fails to protect an objective which he is assigned to defend, and especially every killing of fellow teammates or his allies caused by friendly fire is called a violation of the ROE (Rules of engagement) in the game and has an extremely negative effect on his score and "Honor". If too many points are lost in a round, the player is put in "jail" and kicked out of the server. As of February 2005 95.2% of AA players had 0-20 HONOR points, 3.3% had 20-40 points, 1% had 40-60, and .4% had 61-80 points.

Every healing of injured teammates and every killing of opponents increases a players score and "Honor". Completing the game's missions affects a player's score in a good way and his "Honor" points as well. The score is saved in the player's account that was being used. Some servers only allow players with certain Honor levels to join. The most common is to not let anyone with less than 10 Honor in because this is the base level that everyone starts with. Some also do not let players with too much Honor in. The developers say that "Honor" is based on the values of the Army: "Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage or Leadership". Its main purpose in the game is stop "team-killing", which is a problem in a lot of online first-person shooters (see team killer).

Game content

Weaponry and equipment

The game depicts real guns. The guns have all the same traits as the real versions. Each gun has different accuracy, power , recoil, and rate of jamming. To aim, there are cross-hairs and iron sights.

Players may select a "class" like squad leader, rifleman, automatic rifleman, grenadier, or sniper; these classes decide what weapon the player will have at the beginning of each round. Some players from each team may be medics. Medics can help their teammates get better after they get shot. Being a medic is an extra ability which is added to the class. The Honor points are used to decide which players gets which class. Players with more Honor usually get to pick their class first.

Each gun also can jam in action. When a gun jams it means that it stops working because a part is stuck. The player then needs to press a button to fix the gun. This can be a problem because it makes it so that the player cannot shoot for a few seconds. AA was the first game ever to have player's guns jam.

Every firearm in the game has either iron sights or a telescopic sight (for sniper rifles); while using the sights, a zoom effect enlarges objects in view. The iron sights enlarge to a small degree, the telescopic sights to large one. Until he stops zooming, the player's moving speed is additionally decreased.

In the first few versions, weapons could only hurt players and glass. For example, a grenade could not destroy a television but a gun could put a bullet hole in the screen. Compared to most games, the grenades and are more deadly. They tried to make the blast radius of grenades more like real life than it usually is in other games. Getting hurt by weapons always leads to some bleeding, which causes a player's health gauge to go down over time. Injuries make players slower, they also make it harder for the player to shoot where they are aiming. Sometimes, if the player does not get help from a medic, they will die.

In the newer versions of the game players can make changes to their weapons. For example, the M4 Carbine can be change in different ways and let the soldier have features that work better on a certain map. For example, on a large map a scope and a bi-pod might be picked, but in a city a player might choose only iron sights and a M203 grenade launcher.

Classes and weaponry

Every player starts the round with one or two guns, some grenades and, on some maps, night vision goggles or binoculars. A list of the weapons is here:

  • Firearms
    • Riflemen:
      • M16A2
      • M4A1 carbine
      • M136 AT-4 anti-tank weapon on some maps
      • OpFor uses AK-47, AKS-74U
    • Grenadiers:
      • M203 mounted under an M16A2
      • OpFor uses GP30 mounted under an AK-47
    • Automatic Riflemen:
      • M249 Squad Automatic Weapon
      • OpFor uses the 75 round RPK
    • Special Operations Weapons Sergeants:
      • M4A1 SOPMOD including one of these options from each category,
      • Special Forces: Standard M4 Carbine with SOPMOD kit including one of these options from each category.
        • Top Rail
          • Standard Ironsight - the basic carrying sights
          • ACOG 4x Sight - a zoom-in sight for your m4a1
          • M68 Reflex Sight - a dot sight for your m4a1
          • HeatShield - a shield to prevent burns
        • Front Rail
          • CQB Reflex Sight (Must Be used with Ironsight on Top Rail) - the other part of the dot sight
          • Leaf Sight (Only applicable with M203 Grenade Launcher)
          • HeatShield - a shield to prevent burns
        • Bottom Rail
          • M203 Grenade Launcher (Must Be used with Leaf Sight on Front Rail)- a explosive shell that fires once before reloading
          • Flare Launcher (Must Be used with Leaf Sight on Front Rail) - a flare grenade
          • Harris Bipod - a bipod structure to stabilize your weapon
          • HeatShield - a shield to prevent burns
        • Muzzle
          • QD Suppressor - a silencer witch stops a great deal of the noise produced when firing your weapon
          • HeatShield - a shield to prevent burns
        • Left and Right Rails
          • HeatShield - a shield to prevent burns
      • OpFor AKS-74U SpetsNaz with Modifications
    • Advanced Marksmen (Sniper): Snipers carry the M9 Pistol
      • Barrett M82A1
      • M24 SWS
      • Special Purpose Rifle (SPR)
      • OpFor carry the Makarov pistol and the Dragunov, Mosin-Nagant and VSS Vintorez
  • Indigenous Forces (IF):
    • IF 47: TheAK-47
    • IF 74: The AKS-74U
    • IF RPK: The RPK
    • IF RPG: The RPG-7
  • M141 Bunker Defeat Munitions (BDM) (new in Q-Course (version 2.4))
  • AGP-DB14 Door Breacher (new in Q-Course (version 2.4))
  • US Stryker Armoured Personnel Carrier looks like a Russian BTR-80 if on the other side. In old releases A 50-caliber machine gun on the roof can be controlled from inside, but cannot be driven around.

Weapons planned for future versions

  • The XM25 weapon. The XM25 in AA will be an assault weapon that fires an Airburst round using a special launcher.
  • TALON Robot. The robot will be a radio controlled machine that looks like the Goliath from World War II, but instead of exploding it has special tools that can be used for defusing a bomb or helping people that are stuck in dangerous locations.
  • JAVELIN Rocket Launcher. The Javelin is an anti-vehicle, self-guided rocket. It can also be used against bunkers and other strong locations. In AA it will have a special scope target system and can be carried on a player's back. (Note: Included in version 2.8)
  • Other planned game weapons include small bombs used to open locked doors (included in 2.8), a shotgun (also used to open doors), and land mines. The land mines are armed and placed like a hand grenade, but they would not explode until triggered. They are also working on making more drivable vehicles, like an armored HMMWV, which was in a video at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), and has also been included in version 2.8, though only in one mission.

Missions and maps

The map list is sorted by the version they were released with, with newer maps coming first. The game currently has 28 multiplayer maps and 14 single player training missions. Completing these training missions unlocks things like the ability to play online or to become a medic, a special forces unit or a sniper. Maps have different sizes, objectives, and weapons that players can have. However, no known custom maps have been made because there is no level editor for the game and the developers made it impossible for players to use the level design computer program UnrealEd, which works for other Unreal engine games.

  • AA: Special Forces (Direct Action) (v2.5)
    • SF Dockside
    • SF Extraction
  • AA: Special Forces (Q-Course) (v2.4)
    • SF Courtyard
    • SF PCR (Precious Cargo Recovery)
    • SF Blizzard
    • SF WaterTreatment
  • AA: Special Forces (Firefight) (v2.3)
    • Woodland Assault, a forest map where one side must find and destroy a collection of weapons, and the other side defend it.
    • Urban Assault, a city map in a desert. Each side must find collection of weapons.
  • AA: SF (Vanguard) (v2.2)
    • SF Taiga, a winter map in a forest.
    • SF Oasis, set in a desert one side must get out of a canyon and the other must stop them.
  • AA: SF (Downrange) (v2.1)
    • SF Village, a city map in a desert.
    • SF Arctic, a winter map, one side must defend a group of vehicles traveling together (convoy). Includes Stryker vehicles that cannot be driven.
  • AA: SF (v2.0 and v2.0a)
    • SF Sandstorm (came with Sandstorm v2.0a), a desert map set during a sand-storm among buildings and ruins.
    • SF CSAR, a city desert map with a crashed blackhawk helicopter. Can play as US Army or indigenous soldiers against the OPFOR.
    • SF Pipeline, a new version of the original Pipeline map, but with SF things. The map's layout and objectives stay the same.
    • SF Recon, a large desert night map in which one side must find a bunch of things, and the other must stop them.
    • SF Hospital, a VIP rescue or defense map set in a city environment surrounding and inside a hospital and helicopter landing pad
  • AA: Medics (v1.9)
    • Mountain Pass SE, a new version of the original Mountain Pass from AA:0.
  • AA: Operations
    • Bridge SE (came with v1.7), a bigger version of Bridge Crossing which adds extra ways to get around the bridge and is less foggy.
    • Radio Tower (v1.6), a desert map with several objectives.
    • Weapons Cache SE (v1.5), a bigger and different version of Weapons Cache with different objectives.
    • River Basin (v1.4), is a large MILES training map with objectives in grassy hills, in a daylight summer environment.
    • Mountain Pass (v.1.3), a large winter map with lots of hills.
    • JRTC Farm (v1.2.1), one side spawns in by using parachutes and must destroy a parked helicopter, the other side must defend it.
    • Weapons Cache (v1.2.1), a city map with objectives inside a big building.
    • Mountain Ambush (v1.2), objectives in a mix of forest and grassy environments.
    • Swamp Raid (v1.2), A dark map that focuses on the rescue or defense of a prisoner. The Rescue side has night vision.
    • FLS Assault (v1.2), a night map centering on the defense or attack of a field landing strip. The attacking side parachutes in from a C-17 and has night-vision.
  • AA: Recon (v1.0)
    • HQ Raid, a MILES map set at night, in a forest area with hills.
    • Collapsed Tunnel, A a dark level in sewer tunnels. Each side must secure objective points.
    • Insurgent Camp, set at night in Afghanistan, the attackers must get into a building and access computers.
    • Pipeline, a winter map that takes place at a pumping station in Alaska. One side defends the station, and the other completes objectives inside, such as turning of valves.
    • Bridge Crossing, a foggy winter map with each side starting on one side of a long bridge. One side must stop the other from crossing.
    • MOUT McKenna, a training level in a fake city, kind of like city paintball courses. This map features MILES.

Versions

Newest Version is 2.8.3.1

Version 2.7 came out June 2006

Version 2.6 is available for Microsoft Windows, Linux and for Mac OS X.

  • Version 1.0.0 and 1.0.1 - America's Army: Recon — (released July 4, 2002) (Windows)
  • Version 1.2.0 - America's Army — (released August 23, 2002) (Windows)
  • Version 1.2.1 - America's Army: Operations — (released August 27, 2002) (Windows)
  • Version 1.4.0 - America's Army: Operations — (released November 27, 2002) (Windows)
  • Version 1.5.0 - America's Army: Operations — (released December 23, 2002) (Windows)
  • Version 1.7.0 - America's Army: Operations — (released May 1, 2003) (Windows, Linux, Mac)
  • Version 1.9.0 - America's Army: Operations — (released August 10, 2003) (Windows, Linux, Mac)
  • Version 2.0 - America's Army: Special Forces — (released November 6, 2003) (Windows, Linux, Mac)
    • Version 2.0a - America's Army: Special Forces — (released December 23, 2003) (Windows, Linux, Mac)
  • Version 2.1.0 - America's Army: Special Forces (Downrange) — (released June 1, 2004) (Windows, Linux, Mac)
  • Version 2.2.0 - America's Army: Special Forces (Vanguard) — (released October 19, 2004) (Windows, Linux)
    • Version 2.2.1 - America's Army: Special Forces (Vanguard) — (released November 18, 2004) (Windows, Linux)
  • Version 2.3.0 - America's Army: Special Forces (Firefight) — (released: February 18, 2005) (Windows)
  • Version 2.4.0 - America's Army: Special Forces (Q-Course) — (released: May 16, 2005) (Windows)
  • Version 2.5.0 - America's Army: Special Forces (Direct Action) — (released: October 13, 2005) (Windows, Linux, Mac)

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