THis week the U.S. Army Simulation & Training Technology Center announced the finalists in the inaugural Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge (FVWC).  The FVWC was launched in August 2009 to explore training and analysis solutions in virtual worlds, particularly looking for possibilities not already considered by the U.S. government. Finalists have been selected for projects in four categories: Collaboration, Skill Building, Instruction, and Visualization and have been culled from both government workers and contractors as well as non-government submissions. 

The Non-Government category finalists, in alphabetical order of entry are:

  • Building 3D Models in Second Life – Dr. Cynthia Calongne
  • Breakdown – Jeremiah Isbell
  • DataScape – David Burden
  • Hyper-Reality – Kevin Simkins
  • Imagine – Kevin Simkins
  • Immersive Learning Environment -  Donelle Bunch-Sydow
  • PIVOTE – David Burden
  • Tactical Situation Visualization – James Stibbards
  • Tredpro Fusion Fire System – Aaron Buley
  • Virtual Training Partners – Mark Jankowski

The Government/Government Contractor category finalists, in alphabetical order of entry are:

  • Army Family Support Center – Jaque Davison
  • Chicken Chase – Dana Moore
  • iSched – Virtual World Training Scheduler – Alexandre Gosselin
  • I-Room – Austin Tate
  • Mars Expedition Strategy Challenge – Mike McCrocklin/Andrew Stricker/Dr. Cynthia Calongne
  • Play2Train – Ramashsharma Ramloll
  • VetAdvisor Virtual Room – Dan Frank
  • Virtual Border Crossing Simulation – Ken Hudson
  • Virtual Power Station and Grid – Thomas Stead

The public is invited to view the projects and submit their own comments at the FVWC website.

All finalists have been invited to demo their entries and attend an awards ceremony at the Defense Users' Game Tech Conference at the end of this month. Non-government winners are eligible for cash prizes, with the director of the Simulation and Training Technology Center having an option to award a $25,000 grand prize if a submission shows significant advancement and would likely lead to government investment. Either way, it's a good chance to pick up further work with the government.

"It was clear that there were groups of developers who were pushing the envelope of training and analysis capabilities within virtual worlds,"  said Tami Griffith, the creator of the challenge. "Our hope was that the Federal Virtual World Challenge would expose those 'pockets of excellence' and provide an opportunity to build relationships between these innovators and the Federal Government.  We were very pleased with the quality of the entries submitted in the inaugural year of this event and we believe that each of the finalists have demonstrated great innovation in the use of this emerging platform."

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