with multiple avatars, along with the current single-player content.
Cubic has worked closely with Navy instructors and
other experienced personnel to develop the immersive
“By embedding it in a gaming environment, we’re
able to make it very interactive and much more relevant” than outdated course manuals and classroom
instruction, Carr said.
The Task at Hand
It appeals to the younger generation, too. The instructor
is an avatar, talking and guiding the student — also an
avatar playing a crew member on an LCS underway at
sea — through a series of maintenance and repair tasks.
The student uses the keyboard or, in some cases, a joy-stick or other controls, to select responses and actions.
In the Cubic demo, the trainer — named Petty
Officer 2nd Class Gutierrez — reminded Feldmann that
in the virtual shipboard environment, “you don’t have to
worry about breaking the ship or getting hurt.”
Students can learn their way around an LCS without
stepping aboard. Monitors show what the student sees
and display various pieces of information. One box at an
upper corner “gives a play-by-play for what you want to
do,” Feldmann explained as he worked through the task
using a laptop in a conference room at Cubic’s San Diego
headquarters. Students must acknowledge transmis-
sions, so he had to sort through the proper radio
responses and correct any wrong information relayed
via the ship’s 1MC, or loudspeaker system.
The picture view changed as he
moved, walked and looked around
the spaces of the ship. At times, he
had to crouch down, as necessary
to crawl through a catwalk or duck
into a space to reach a water
coolant pressure valve. If not, he
would hit his head on a pipe in the
way. To access the jet drive room,
he had to open a hatch and slide
down a ladder. Small beacons on a
small inset screen show your location and destination in the ship,
“so you have to figure out how to
get here,” Feldmann said.
Along the way, PO2 Gutierrez
explained features of the equip-
ment, warnings and procedures for
various steps, such as stopping the
shaft and securing the seawater
cooling system. At times, Gutierrez
quizzed Feldmann to see if he had
paid attention and took proper
actions. Answer correctly, and he responded, “Good
job, you are actually paying attention.”
Like a video game, the user affects the story line.
The wrong response can be met with silence or a radio
admonishment, “EPT, that is incorrect.” An error
might generate another radio call to take care of a relat-
ed problem or task that has surfaced aboard the ship.
The self-paced courseware lets students train and
practice multiple times, guided with information and
“tips,” like highlighted equipment to make, say, a valve
easier for them to spot, before actually going through
the official “test” portion. It is quite detailed. For
example, the student must fully turn a screw or shut a
valve, which can take several clicks, or water or steam
will continue to leak.
“See, water is still spraying everywhere because I
haven’t fully sealed it,” Feldmann said.
Then he slowly inflated the seal on the starboard
shaft, watching the pressure indicator increase or
decrease as he controlled it. Too much and the seal
bursts, and “we’d have to return to port for repairs.” It
took several tries to sort which of four options detailed
on a pop-up screen was correct, with each erroneous
answer quickly called out by the radio facilitator.
Once each step is completed, the facilitator continues with the lesson and issues the next step or task.
For the test portion, students are assessed and graded
without any assistance. Some errors “will let you keep
going until you break the ship,” Feldmann said, noting
later, “you can catastrophically fail in software without
making the news.”
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 22 SEAPOWER / DECEMBER 2015
The near photo-realism created by graphic designers in virtual reality training lets
“the Sailor to, in effect, suspend disbelief such that he believes, ultimately, he
gets sucked into a shipboard environment,” according to John Freeman, Cubic’s
director of strategic programs. The LCS Training Facility in San Diego provides
several hundred simulated and virtual lessons that teach a wide range of shipboard tasks and LCS missions and represent the “gamification” of training.