A significant challenge in infantry training simulation is designing unique terrain and urban environments. A very specific problem is that current fixed-simulation environments become repetitious and easy to remember, which enables a false sense of training for the soldier.
Scenario Generation provides a powerful experience and demonstrates the use of Virtual Reality technologies for applications in military and non-military training. The goal is to provide users with a tool to design a unique training experience for navigating an unknown environment.
Designing, building, and maintaining a large collection of training scenarios is an extremely labor-intensive and costly endeavor. However, reusing the same scenario multiple times allows the training subjects to build up a memory of what challenges the scenario presents them with. This gives trainees a false impression of making progress because they can plan their reactions in advance rather than being required to make the right split-second decisions. It also hampers the evaluation of training progress since performance results become skewed.
In order to overcome these issues, we have developed a method that allows non-technical training domain experts to quickly generate unique scenarios that still offer a high degree of customization. Our method is based on drawing a color-coded sketch graphic of the desired environment. We combine a standard elevation map to designate the shape of the terrain with a color-coded civilization map in which we store features like roads, neighborhoods, intersections, and open spaces. Each region in the civilization map is assigned additional features from an extensible, rich collection of models in the application.
The input sketches in our system can be easily created with standard computer paint programs or directly in the VR application with the integrated painting tools. The method of using a sketch gives the scenario designer a high level of control over design aspects (like sightlines between different parts of the scene or the look of different neighborhoods) without having to manually arrange every feature in the environment.
The generated scenarios can be explored directly in the application using VR technology. Additionally, the scenario can also be saved for use in future sessions or exported for use with external applications.