US government to use Unreal Engine 3 for medical, crime-fighting and thinking simulation

HumansimThe US government has amplified its gaming power this week, taking a step closer to turning us into a gaming nation. Epic games has agreed to have its Unreal Engine 3 licensed to various departments and agencies of the US government—including the FBI.

Epic has entered into this agreement with the US government through Virtual Heroes, part of Applied Research Associates. Virtual Heroes will scuttle off the UE3 to the various agencies, and will support government developers by establishing the Unreal Government Network. Virtual Heroes says it will support the deployment of the Unreal Engine via browser over secure government networks, as well as support UE3 on platforms like iOS, Android, Flash, current gaming consoles, PC and Mac

Virtual Heroes produces “serious games,” and is behind the Army training game/recruitment tool America’s Army, which utilized the Unreal Engine 2 when it came out in 2002. Epic Games is the game developer behind Gears of War and Infinity Blade, and it’s Unreal Engine is used in numerous games including Borderlands, Arkham City and Mass Effect.

While the US government already has UE3 for its Army game, some of the projects Virtual Heroes is planning on developing using the engine include: an FBI Academy “multiplayer crime scene training simulation,” an “anesthesiology training application” for Army physicians in collaboration with Duke University, the Sirius program funded by IARPA which helps participants “recognize and mitigate” their own biases, and a HumanSim platform for medical training.

“We recognize the growing market needs of our government customers and are excited to have Virtual Heroes provide a full spectrum of focused services and support using our game engine technology,” said Epic Games’ president.

The US isn’t the only nation with a government interested in investing in gaming. Late December 2011, Britain’s Ministry of Defense announced that it was updating its Battlespace2 digital war simulator in order to keep up with the awe garnered by consumer games like the Call of Duty series.