UTSAF: A Multi-Agent-Based Software Bridge for Interoperability between Distributed Military and Commercial Gaming Simulation
Simulation (San Diego, Calif.)
Rapid advances in consumer electronics have led to the anomaly that consumer off-the-shelf gaming hardware and software provide better interactive graphics than military and other specialized systems costing orders of magnitude more. UTSAF (Unreal Tournament Semi-Automated Force) is bridging software written to take advantage of the power of gaming systems by allowing them to participate in distributed simulations with military simulators. UTSAF illustrates the use of multiagent technology to
... exibly interconnect otherwise incompatible systems. This article describes an architectural approach for rapidly constructing middleware by taking advantage of built-in capabilities for processing, communication, and interoperation that a multiagent infrastructure provides. Several software agents based on Reusable Environment for Task-Structured Intelligent Networked Agents (RETSINAs) are used to support interoperability between military simulation nodes based on distributed interactive simulation and Unreal game simulators. Using a multiagent system, UTSAF can be expanded to support several network environments and interact with other agent-based software. distributed interactive simulation (DIS) protocol standards for PDU exchange was later defined and published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in 1993  and became the basis for interoperability among networked military simulations. By using the DIS protocol, military simulations could be extended to a very large network of simulation nodes  . However, DIS has several problems. First, the DIS PDUs transmitted between simulation nodes tend to overwhelm network bandwidth  . Since the DIS protocol works in a stateless manner, all information for each entity and event is transmitted to other simulation nodes, even though there may be no status changes in those entities or events. A second problem of DIS simulation is lack of a common and affordable three-dimensional (3-D) simulated environment. Using DIS for training requires very expensive customized systems such as vehicle or dismounted infantry simulators. Last, the DIS environment was originally built to link simulation nodes together but does not provide the additional information or interfaces needed for interoperating with other operational systems, such as a decision-making, a human behavioral, or a situation awareness module.