Epsom game makers were invited to the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense last month to show how one of their simulations could help the military.

A three-strong team representing the Epsom-based Slitherine group flew out to the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, USA, before being jetted to the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia last month.

The Slitherine group, which has its headquarters in Church Street, Epsom, produce strategy and war computer games and simulations covering many specific periods of history from ancient warfare to the near future and range in scope from one-on-one grand strategy to entire nations warring against one another.

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Iain McNeil (pictured above), the group’s owner and his father and company director JD, were summoned before senior ranking air force, navy and marine corps chiefs on August 31 to demonstrate how one of their games, Command: Modern Air and Naval Operations, could help the military.

They were joined by a representative from their developer Warfare Sims, Dimitris Dranidis.

Iain McNeil, owner of the Slitherine group, explained Command’s appeal to the military: “It looks like a modern command and control centre.

“It is a realistic simulation of modern air and naval combat.

“They said it does a better job of predicting than their own simulations.

“It was pretty exciting.”

Mr McNeil jnr explained that there had been a decline in the military’s use of war games a few years ago. But after the US government’s deputy secretary of defense Robert Wark ssued a directive calling for more examinations of wargaming in February 2015, American interest in Slitherine’s work has picked up.

Last September, the US military first approached his company about Command, before inviting them to the Pentagon in August.

The trio were led through the US military headquarters’ 17.5 miles of corridors past closed-off restricted areas to briefing rooms to explain the game.

After being given presentations and demonstrations, the assembled military heads were due to further analyse the game to see how they could use it.

“The software is quite versatile,” Mr McNeil jnr explained.

“A lot of people look it and ask, can it do this, and can it do that. The answer is yes, but it currently doesn’t. But it can be made to.”

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