Armed with M-4 automatic rifles, swathed in body armor and combat fatigues, the five man U.S. Special Forces Airborne entry team stacks up outside the entrance to the house.An explosion sends bits of the door flying inside. The men slide through the still-smoking opening, fanning to the right and left, guns up, safeties off, fingers on triggers. The live rounds start flying almost immediately. Bullets tear through the men standing inside the house, knocking them to the ground. One round hits a terrorist in the head, a bright red plume of blood splatters against the wall.
Special Forces don't usually play games, but for their Fort Bragg training they sometimes make an exception to that rule.
The Laser Shot Virtual Shoot House gives these specialized warriors a chance to blow in doors, fire live ammo and take out life-sized enemies, all in a real environment helped along by quite a bit of video game technology.
The soldiers are deadly serious about their training. The weapons and ammo they use very real. But their opponents are life-sized video game avatars, the blood virtual, the threat they pose imagined. And the walls these digital enemies stand in front of are actually high-tech video screens that can project images and automatically seal up after a round passes through them.
Based in Houston, Texas, Laser Shot has been around for about 10 years now, slowly designing more intricate, more realistic, more useful "firearms training solutions" for the military and police. But what's that mean?
It means they design, develop and deliver virtual kill houses: Entire bulletproof homes created to look like bases of operation for Al-Qaeda, gang bangers, hostage takers, bad guys. Inside these homes are rooms plated floor to ceiling in ballistic tiles and covered in special self-sealing screens. Above each screen is mounted a high-resolution projector designed to throw a moving image on a wall from a very short distance without creating shadows. The whole thing is tied into an intricate network of computers that serves as the brains for the many bad guys found in the kill house. These enemies, like real world ones, are programmed to think, to see, to react.
Military using "video games" to train? More likely then you'd think. At least its safe, and hell, who doesn't think laser tag is fun?