Serious Games and Synthetic Tissue

The Army Simulation and Training Technology Center Has Options for Medical Simulation

Combat Medic from Virtual Heroes

Combat Medic, a game-based system from Virtual Heroes, Inc., is one example of Med Sim’s success. This serious game helps to prepare medical personnel to treat the top three causes of battlefield deaths: hemorrhage, airway management, and tension pneumothorax.

Virtual Heroes, a division of Applied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA), regards its application as a premiere example of serious gaming technology. “At Virtual Heroes, we are passionate about creating applications that change and save lives,” Steve McIlwain, Senior Producer, told C&CC. “Combat Medic is the ultimate embodiment of our passion.”

Combat Medic, which Virtual Heroes developed for both STTC and the U.S. Army’s Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center, combines game engine technology, medically accurate casualty conditions, and immersive digital environments. Randomization of in-game scenarios reinforces the need for proper casualty assessment and management.

To accommodate a variety of training requirements, Combat Medic delivers content through self-directed, team-based, and instructor-led training methods. The game can be played alone or with other learners, and features a three-tier difficulty system where treatment scenarios become increasingly more challenging. Randomized variations of battlefield injuries, variation in the numbers of casualties, and distractions within the virtual environment all increase the learner’s cognitive load.

By allowing users to choose the contents and configuration of their aid bags, the application emphasizes the importance of organization, preparation, and equipment availability. To track performance, assessments include standard go/no go criteria as well as casualty condition information, participant actions, and the ability to graphically view a virtual casualty’s vitals throughout the scenario as a function of elapsed time. Read more, pgs.12-15.