SIMulator NETworking


SIMulator NETworking (SIMNET) project 1983

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During the 1980s, the increasing expense of traditional (live) exercises focused attention on the resource efficiency of computer-based simulations. The most important networked virtual environment to come out of this era was the DARPA-funded SIMulator NETworking (SIMNET) project, begun in 1983 under the direction of Jack Thorpe. SIMNET was a network of simulators (armoured vehicles and helicopters, initially) that were linked together for collective training. It differed from previous stand-alone simulator systems in two important respects. First, because the training objectives included command and control, the design focused on effect rather than physical fidelity; psychological or operational aspects of battle, for example, required only selective verisimilitude in cabinet design or computer-generated imagery. Second, by linking together simulators, SIMNET created a network not just of physical connections but also of social interactions between players. Aspects of the virtual world emerged from social interactions between participants that had not been explicitly programmed into the computer-generated environment. These interactions between participants were usually of greater relevance to collective training than anything an individual simulator station could provide. In gaming terms, player-versus-player interactions became as important as player-versus-environment interactions. Source: link