Role: Design Director / Lead Producer / Scaled Agile Product Owner • Where: Prague, Czech Republic • When: 2013-present
The standard in game-based military simulation
The successor to VBS2, Virtual Battlespace 3 is the current flagship product of Bohemia Interactive Simulations. It is used by 50+ NATO-friendly nations to train over 500,000 warfighters each year.
Powered by the game engine behind Bohemia Interactive’s Arma3, VBS3 was first released in 2014. VBS3 is still under active development today, with at least 4 major update releases per year.
The US Army accredited VBS3 to train over 100 tasks. Other militaries around the world use VBS3 to train hundreds of use cases in land, sea, and air. Examples include:
|Counter-IED||Route clearance||Enemy mindset training||Vehicle identification|
|Vehicle checkpoint||Vehicle and object search||Driver training||Tank crew training|
|Engineer training||Vehicle recovery||Radio procedures||First aid training|
|Scuba training||Parachuting||Ship familiarization||Rules of engagement|
|Anti-piracy operations||Cultural awareness||Lessons learned||Vehicle part-task training|
VBS3 has all the features from VBS2, plus:
- Terrain areas up to 2000x2000km in size
- Greatly enhanced graphics
- Improved networking performance and entity counts
- Dynamic environment model including physical effects of snow, mud, and sea states
- Enhanced support for maritime content and capabilities
- Numerous additional gameplay features
A platform for simulations development
VBS3 is also used by 3rd party developers as a powerful development platform. Below are a few of the simulators other companies have developed on top of VBS3:
|Tank driver simulators||Forward Air Controller simulators||Parachuting simulators||Firefighting simulators|
My role as a Director
As one of BISim’s directors of global development, my job isn’t been to “keep things running”. Instead, my job is to transform the way we work for the better. Then to do it again. And again.
My main areas of management focus are design, production, and agile product-ownership.
VBS was shaped by years of customer-funded improvements. In the games industry products are designed, built, then sold—pretty much in that order. The world of fixed-firm price contracting almost works in the opposite direction: product features are sold, then designed, then built.
By introducing Business Analysis and UX Design techniques into the pre-sales process at BISim, we have increased the chance of the customer getting exactly what they want. This works even in very rigid government contracting environments.
Bohemia Interactive Simulations had less than 30 employees when we started work on VBS2. When we started on VBS3 that number had grown to over 100, soon reaching more than 250.
With more people and projects comes more complexity. What worked when we were a small company started falling apart. New production techniques were needed. We looked to bring in best-practices from the games industry, from enterprise software development, and from general business management.
Overall we have been quite successful. One of my favorite indicators is overtime (aka “crunch”). I believe requiring overtime for predictable events like releases is a sign of ineffective management. Once a common practice at BISim, this is now nearly eliminated.
An important key to success has been our transition to Lean and Agile software development methodologies. I act as a scaled Product Owner for new features in VBS3. Our development organization is formed into cross-department teams focused on different aspects such as content, features, and the core engine. I lead the feature development teams.
By simplifying the organizational design—and empowering leadership at the lowest level—we are able to thrive in a very complex business environment.
Links for further info
- BISim’s official VBS3 product page
- Operation Cold Steel Soldiers prepare for live-fire ops with VBS3 training – Army Reserve News Articles – 28 Apr 2017
- UK MoD to use VBS3 software to train soldiers in virtual environment – Army Technology.com – 23 Nov 2016
- Battlespace Platform (slide 40-41) – Military Training Technology – 19 Nov 2015
- Virtual Battlespace 3 – US Army Stand-To! – 19 May 2014