Austerity means the military can't afford the big-budget training exercises to battle-harden new recruits, so it's relying more on computer simulations. Sadly, Virtual Battlespace 2 can't compete with the Hollywood-style excitement of Modern Warfare. That's why it's buying in game engines from the studios (VB2 was based on tech licensed from the makers of Operation Flashpoint) and cutting out the unrealistic physics -- such as rifle bullets flying three miles and vehicles that don't obey gravity. It's hoped the project will keep the attention of death-match hardened trainees and encourage them to play it in their own time: the team were told that two soldiers learned enough skills to stay alive during combat thanks to marathon sessions in the game. If you've just unwrapped an FPS for the holidays, you can now tell disapproving family members that it's educational.