Computer games simulate NATO airstrikes on Yugoslavia
From San Francisco Bureau Chief Greg Lefevre
March 30, 1999
SAN FRANCISCO (CNN) -- War simulations have always been popular among computer games enthusiasts, a trend gaining popularity since NATO launched airstrikes on Yugoslavia last week.
Programmers at the Jane's Combat Simulations division of Electronic Arts, an interactive entertainment software company, have duplicated with amazing clarity the Balkan terrain that NATO pilots fly over.
"This is an excellent way to illustrate a lot of the stuff that's actually happening over there," said David Bonacci, a programmer for Jane's Combat Simulations.
Players can fly over simulations of actual mountains, rivers, valleys and towns and use a wide array of aircraft and weapons to destroy their targets.
The detail is so accurate that some news agencies and military writers use the images from Jane's Combat Simulations to illustrate the fighting in progress.
Bonacci, a former Navy aviator, says the simulations also are designed to reflect realism in the cockpit, forcing players to think and respond like pilots under fire.
Players also can plan their own missions.
A new one follows the real-life rescue of the American pilot whose F-117A stealth fighter crashed in Yugoslavia. The players must find and destroy the plane's wreckage.
Players can play against one another via the Internet, experiencing the thrill of combat from the safety of their desks.
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