Microsoft to offer visual simulation platform

Microsoft plans to release a new visual simulation platform that brings immersive games-based technology to training and learning, decision support, and research and development modeling for military and commercial aviation organizations.

Microsoft ESP supports personal computer-based, commercial hardware and software, and enables simulations to be built faster and more cost-effectively, said Dave Boker, senior director of the business development group at ACES Studio, Microsoft's development team on the Microsoft Flight Simulator franchise.

Microsoft ESP capitalizes on years of investment in the Flight Simulator franchise. Partners and developers can create Windows-based solutions that go beyond entertainment and are consistent with the industry's move toward serious games and games-based learning as training tools, Boker said.

The initial version of the platform focuses on Microsoft's strength and expertise in aviation capabilities and is targeted to military and commercial aviation audiences. Future versions of Microsoft ESP will expand beyond aviation into ground and maritime operations, indoor and avatar-centric simulations for commercial, government and academic learning opportunities, said Ed McCahill, marketing manager for Microsoft ESP.

As a platform technology, Microsoft ESP provides a PC-based simulation engine, a comprehensive set of tools, applications programming interfaces, documentation to support code development, content integration and scenario-building capabilities, along with an extensive base of world content that can be tailored for custom solutions.

Partners and developers can add structured experiences or missions, content such as terrain and scenery, scenarios and hardware devices to augment existing solutions, or they can build and deploy new solutions that address the mission-critical requirements of their customers, Microsoft said.

Officials in both civilian and military agencies talk about 'the need for more cost-effective tool sets for training,' Boker said. A lot of the simulation training tools on the market are expensive, he said.

Microsoft ESP 1.0, available in January via Microsoft's Volume Licensing price list, will cost $799 per machine for client licenses. The Microsoft ESP software development kit will cost $99.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.


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