Operation Flashpoint to be used as a training tool by the United States Marine Corps. Codemasters today confirms that the United States Marine Corps is to use a special combat training application based upon Operation Flashpoint (PC), its chart-topping military simulation game.

This special version of the Operation Flashpoint Technology is called VBS1 (Virtual BattleField Systems) and the United States Marine Corps (USMC) will utilise the application beginning December 2001. Other military organisations are also looking at Operation Flashpoint technology variants for training purposes.

VBS1 is a military grade program developed by Coalescent Technologies Corporation, an independent engineering firm contracted by the Department of Defence and the USMC to locate and develop simulation training tools. The development of VBS1 is in conjunction with Bohemia Interactive Studio, Operation Flashpoint's developer.

The result provides specific enhancements to the game for the USMC, including present day, USMC specific uniforms, weapons and vehicles.

The USMC originally became interested in Operation Flashpoint due to its realistic battlefield simulations and the ability to operate a myriad of land, sea and air vehicles across vast outdoor terrain. Additionally, they were intrigued by Operation Flashpoint's in-depth level editor, which enables users to create virtually any imaginable combat scenario and then play it out from multiple viewpoints.

The advanced squad-management system, which enables players to efficiently issue orders to squad members as well as co-ordinate assaults, was also a major attraction.

"The USMC and other branches of the Unites States Armed Forces are constantly investigating new and alternative tools to incorporate into the current training regimen," said Michael Woodman, Program Manager at Coalescent Technologies. "Our job is to research these tools and determine if they are, in fact, useful in training. In the case of the first-person military simulation games the research has shown that they are useful tools and Operation Flashpoint is the most valuable product we have found to date."

David Solari, Codemasters' Senior Marketing Manager for the US comments: "We are pleased that Bohemia Interactive Studio and Coalescent are working to provide a Military Grade Program for the United States Marine Corps that can be used to help train the American troops. It is a real honour to be involved in such a project and we look forward to continuing the relationship with future Operation Flashpoint products."

Although the modified version of Operation Flashpoint will not be available to the public and part of the content will remain strictly confidential, certain developments and units will possibly be made available at some later stage through additions or upgrades to Operation Flashpoint owners around the world.