ad info




CNN.com
 MAIN PAGE
 WORLD
 U.S.
 LOCAL
 POLITICS
 WEATHER
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
* TECHNOLOGY
   computing
   personal technology
 SPACE
 HEALTH
 ENTERTAINMENT
 BOOKS
 TRAVEL
 FOOD
 ARTS & STYLE
 NATURE
 IN-DEPTH
 ANALYSIS
 myCNN

 Headline News brief
 news quiz
 daily almanac

  MULTIMEDIA:
 video
 video archive
 audio
 multimedia showcase
 more services

  E-MAIL:
Subscribe to one of our news e-mail lists.
Enter your address:
Or:
Get a free e-mail account

 DISCUSSION:
 message boards
 chat
 feedback

  CNN WEB SITES:
CNN Websites
 AsiaNow
 En Español
 Em Português
 Svenska
 Norge
 Danmark
 Italian

 FASTER ACCESS:
 europe
 japan

 TIME INC. SITES:
 CNN NETWORKS:
Networks image
 more networks
 transcripts

 SITE INFO:
 help
 contents
 search
 ad info
 jobs

 WEB SERVICES:

Computing

SWAT game rewards non-violence

iconINTERACTIVE:
Swat3
iconINTERACTIVE
   Movies of Swat3 in action:

   SWAT3.com
    2038k mpeg movie

   pcmedia.ign.com
   4759k movie
 

September 7, 1999
Web posted at: 9:30 a.m. EDT (1330 GMT)


In this story:

Gear, weapons, tactics

Not a 'shoot 'em up' game

RELATED STORIES, SITES icon



By Robin Lloyd
CNN Interactive Senior Writer

(CNN) -- As social commentators point fingers at video game violence, there is a computer game on the horizon where players tote MP5s, Benelli shotguns and sniper rifles but are rewarded for saving lives and de-escalating conflict.

Set in Los Angeles in 2005, those who play SWAT 3: Close Quarters Battle must save hostages in settings which include an LAX control tower, a network television studio, a Hollywood nightclub, upscale hotels and a bank.

Ken Thatcher, a 28-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department and an element leader for its SWAT unit, was the main consultant for the game's designers at Sierra Studios in Bellevue, Washington.

"This game will reward you for maybe not shooting someone where a lot of games reward you for going in and shooting people up and that's a 'good job,'" Thatcher said.

The first-person game makes you the element leader of a five-man SWAT team, with named characters. Players get more points for stunning adversaries than for killing them, while focusing primarily on saving hostages' lives and securing evidence.

The LAPD's SWAT team was the nation's first hostage-rescue team of its kind, forming in 1967 and popularized in a 1970s-era TV show.

"It's not Hondo and the guys speeding around in the white truck," Thatcher said of his police work. "Hollywood and TV shows portray SWAT teams as rumbling, stumbling gun nuts. In Los Angeles, we're just the opposite."

Instead, the focus is law enforcement and non-confrontational approaches, he said, something he tried to convey to SWAT 3's designers.

Gear, weapons, tactics

The game is not 100 percent realistic, Thatcher said, but it captures some of what makes SWAT work challenging.

Thatcher was the model for the motion capture component of the project and talked game developers through how a SWAT team would respond to barricades, hostage situations and VIP details.

In the game as in real life situations, team leaders must outfit their teams with gear and weapons, assign positions and make tactical decisions.

Decisions include when and where to use lethal force, choosing to move in either stealth or dynamic (aggressive and sometimes violent) modes, identifying targets and deciding whether or not to use mirrors, chemical agents and stun grenades.

Players use SWAT tactics like maximizing distance to potential threats, leaning and "slicing pies" around corners and doors, using angles and plans to maximize the field of fire and stacking and entering rooms using correct procedures.

Not a 'shoot 'em up' game

Rod Fung, the game's producer, said SWAT 3 is not a "shoot 'em up" game, but there is more shooting and hostage rescue than there would be in an actual SWAT scenario, which typically involves warrant arrests or barricade situations.

"They rarely ever take a shot," he says of the LAPD teams. "The LAPD consider that a successful mission and in our game that is a successful mission and you will be awarded medals on the same criteria as the LAPD, like the medal of valor."

The game is set for release in November and will have a suggested retail price of $49.99.

Thatcher said the game as is would be useless for training, an activity to which the LAPD SWAT dedicates 40 percent of its time. But the same technology could be used for computer-generated training aids in the future.

SWAT tactics have evolved with the times, and buzzwords like "problem-solving" now drive decisions. But in the field, the road gets narrower, he said.

"The problem is there's only a couple ways to solve problems," he said. "Either it's going to be dynamic or non-dynamic. That's it."

For Thatcher and his colleagues, the ideal strategy is non-confrontational. For gamers bored with that, there's always Kingpin.


RELATED STORIES:
SWAT 3: Close-quarters preview
August 10, 1999
The top 25 game downloads of 1998
January 4, 1999

RELATED SITES:
Sierra Studios
SWAT3.com
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

 LATEST HEADLINES:
SEARCH CNN.com
Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.