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An Army Of One Online

The U.S. Army is deploying two computer games to aid in recruitment.

Uncle Sam wants gamers. The Army is developing PC games that simulate the life, activities, and missions of military personnel in an effort to recruit 17- to 24-year-olds.

America's Army includes two role-playing games: Operations and Soldiers, which were unveiled this week at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, a trade show. "E3 isn't a place you usually end up as a naval officer," acknowledges Cmdr. Brian Osborn, who developed Soldiers as part of his doctoral thesis in computer science at the Naval Postgraduate School. The game gives players a look at Army life, using photocell animation and digital imagery of actual army bases, the 42-year-old naval pilot says.

Operations is a training-simulation for up to 32 players who navigate an obstacle course or perform parachute drops from a first-person perspective. The games will be distributed starting in August for free at www.americasarmy.com.

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