The US army and gaming company There
are currently working on a vitual Earth. It will be based on a database of real-world terrain, the first
version of the second Earth should be finished by September.
The ambitious project aims to help the US Army plan future conflicts which are unlikely to involve set-piece battles and instead be smaller in scale.
Details of the project were revealed by Robert Gehorsam, a senior vice president at There, during a lengthy interview posted on the Homelan Fed gaming
Mr Gehorsam said the world being created will not be a game but instead will be a "massively multi-user persistent environment" that will model real
world physics as closely as possible.
The emphasis in the artificial Earth will be on human interaction rather than conflicts involving lots of military hardware.
He said combat will be a part of the game but it is also intended to let the Army simulate intelligence work as well as patrols, planning and working
with indigenous populations.