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9/8/2009
02:29 PM
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
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NATO Looking To Build Virtual HQ

Today is the deadline for developers to submit proposals to build 3D virtual software replicas of NATO headquarters in Europe and America, to be used for training and meetings, and improving staff communication and productivity.

Today is the deadline for developers to submit proposals to build 3D virtual software replicas of NATO headquarters in Europe and America, to be used for training and meetings, and improving staff communication and productivity.The project is a bit less ambitious than NATO's previous forays into virtual training; in February, the organization a digital simulation of Afghanistan, including Afghan economics, politics and culture, and two years ago the Navy asked for a similar simulation of Iraq, according to the Wired Danger Room blog.

Of course, mapping an entire country is a much bigger challenge than replicating a few command stations, but NATO's still got lofty goals for the new training program. They want a world that's physically realistic and real-time, and continues to run even when users aren't "in-world." Plus, each staffer will be represented with an avatar.

NATO restricted the solicitation to three platforms: ECS Nexus and Forterra Olive, which are virtual worlds for businesses and schools, as well as Linden Lab, which operates Second Life. However, of those three platforms, only the Forterra software meets NATO's stated criteria, according to the gaming blog Massively: That it "must run fully behind or through firewalls using a single open port of choice" (I'm not quite sure what that means) and that it should be able to run SSL encryption for increased security.

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