• Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor Hero Image
  • Force on Force Hero Image
  • Mission Critical Operator Charles Hero Image
  • Combat Medic Hero Image

What We Do

At the Virtual Heroes Division of Applied Research Associates we create immersive, 3D interactive learning solutions and high-fidelity synthetic virtual environments. Our goal is to create realistic, detailed training, entertainment, and educational solutions to improve your safety, security, and way of life.

With over a decade of immersive content development experience and the resources of over 1000 employees at ARA, we provide the rare combination in this market of depth and breadth of a mature 3D software development team along with the longevity and financial stability of over 35 years of growth at ARA.

AR, VR, Virtual Worlds

Computer-based, simulated 3D environments for Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Virtual Worlds platforms.

Serious Games

Game technology for education, training, strategic messaging, mission planning and rehearsal, and scientific visualization.

Simulations for Learning

Representations of real life that accurately demonstrate a physical or simulated process or phenomenon. Provides effective training and practice in a safe, controlled environment.

Terrain Modeling

Rapid generation of synthetic environments for training and testing. Intuitive technologies to build and share environment databases.

Live-Training Software

Common software for military tactical engagement simulation systems. Provides common software core for engagement adjudication, injury/damage assessment, treatment/repair, logistics, and device integration.

Game Engine Development Training

Team training sessions for your company or studio, covering all aspects of content creation through art, programming, design, QA, and production environment configurations.


Our Portfolio

For a quick introduction to a wide range of our portfolio of projects,
please download this PDF (10 MB).


Immersive Environments

GO PLATFORM | Creativity Unleashed

The ARA-Virtual Heroes’ Go platform is a browser-based single/multi-player immersive virtual world platform based on the Epic Games Unreal ® Engine 3 that can be used to solve your education, training, and simulation needs.

The Go platform is web-accessible through a simple browser interface, and a sample plugin is available below to allow visitors to meet and converse in a 3D lounge/showcase demo environment. Browsers currently supported by Go are: Internet Explorer v7-v11 and Firefox. Contact us for more information!

GO Platform

Past Projects Available to the Public

  • Moonbase Alpha Button Zero Hour: America's Medic Button

Unreal Engine Web Player


The ARA Unreal Engine Web Player is a revolutionary PC browser plug-in that, for the first time ever, allows content created with Unreal Engine 4 (UE4) and Unreal Engine 3 (UE3) to be streamed to and run within a web browser, supporting single and multiplayer gameplay.

We initially developed this plug-in capability for the Air Force, to serve as a foundation for delivering realistic 3D simulations and training courses to AF service members with the strength of full Unreal Engine content and the simplicity of a one-time browser plug-in install.

The Web Player allows users to access immersive, real-time, 3D content at any time, from anywhere in the world, and supports PC browsers, including Internet Explorer and Firefox.

Virtual Heroes is a leading industry expert in the creation of 3D training programs and simulations. We also offer hosting solutions so that your content is accessible whenever your users need it, on demand. Please visit our GO Platform Portal or contact us for more information.


Prominent Clients


Who We Are

Virtual Heroes Staff 2015
Virtual Heroes Shield Logo

ARA’s Virtual Heroes Division has a remarkable, successful track record designing and releasing immersive, virtual-world-based serious games and Advanced Learning Technology (ALT) applications. We are uniquely qualified to provide commercial-quality, immersive, and 3D virtual world content.


Awards & Accolades

  • 2015 Triangle Business Journal

    2011, 2013-2016 Top Game Developer

    (Triangle Business Journal)

    The Triangle Business Journal in Raleigh, North Carolina has selected Virtual Heroes as one of the Top Game Developers, ranked by the number of Triangle-area employees, in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.

  • Serious Play Gold Award 2015

    2015 International SERIOUS PLAY Conference Awards

    (Combat Medic)

    This recognition program honors outstanding titles that deliver a high quality of engagement and measurable training or learning opportunities. The Serious Play Conference is produced by the Serious Games Association, an international organization for the entire serious games industry.

  • Best Places To Work 2015

    Best Places to Work for 2015

    (Orlando Business Journal)

    Virtual Heroes Division of Applied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA) has been named one the Orlando Business Journal’s Best Places to Work for 2015. The lists rank Orlando’s top employers, as voted by employees. Over 8000 employees in Central Florida answered an anonymous employee survey, dealing with such topics as benefits, work environment, and teamwork.

  • 2011 NASA Group Achievement Award

    2011 NASA Group Achievement Award

    (Moonbase Alpha)

    NASA’s most prestigious awards are presented to a number of carefully selected individuals and groups of individuals, both Government and non-Government, who have distinguished themselves by making outstanding contributions to the Agency’s mission. After a rigorous review, NASA’s highest officials present medals and certificates at the annual awards ceremonies at NASA Headquarters and Centers.

  • Wake Tech Logo

    2008 & 2009 Wake Tech Business Leader

    (Computing & Engineering)

    In 2008, Virtual Heroes collaborated with Wake Technical Community College and Eisai Pharmaceuticals on the NC BioNetwork Project wherein 10 students learned how to create a video game to provide a controlled and instructive training environment for Eisai Pharmaceuticals’ tablet manufacturing process. In sponsoring this program, Virtual Heroes contributed to a pool of skilled potential employees.

  • 2005 - 2007 Top Simulation & Training Companies

    2005-2007 Military Training Technology

    (MT2) Top Simulation & Training Companies

    Virtual Heroes creates collaborative interactive learning solutions for the federal systems, digital health and corporate workforce training markets. The company advances instructional design, digital engineering, project management, modeling and simulation, courseware development and assessment to provide unprecedented immersive training experiences.

  • 2011-2015 Military Training Technology (MT2) Top Simulation & Training Companies

    2011-2015 Military Training Technology

    (MT2) Top Simulation & Training Companies

    Military Training Technology Magazine selected ARA and Virtual Heroes as a ‘Top Simulation and Training Company′. Sponsored by KMI Media Group, this annual process recognizes the companies that have made the most significant contributions to the training community with their products and services.

  • 2009 Global Business Coalition, Business Excellence Award

    2009 Global Business Coalition, Business Excellence Award

    (Pamoja Mtaani)

    The Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GBC) presented their 2009 Business Excellence Awards to eight innovative companies combating global disease. “These award winners are doing exactly the kind of thing that all companies can and should do.” said John Tedstrom, GBC’s President and CEO. “They don’t just talk, they take action. And their action saves lives.”

  • 2010 Best Government Game, I/ITSEC, Serious Games Showcase & Challenge

    2010 Best Government Game, I/ITSEC, Serious Games Showcase & Challenge

    (Moonbase Alpha)

    Virtual Heroes’ Moonbase Alpha STEM education-focused game won the Best Government Game category at the Interservice and Industry Training, Simulation, & Education Conference (I/ITSEC).

  • 2011 Serious Play Gold Award

    2011 International SERIOUS PLAY Conference Awards


    This recognition program honors outstanding titles that deliver a high quality of engagement and measurable training or learning opportunities. The Serious Play Conference is produced by the Serious Games Association, an international organization for the entire serious games industry.


News & Events

Mission Critical Operator
October 31, 2016

Serious Game for Mission Critical Training

Mission critical facilities such as data centers, hospitals, and bio labs secure vital information for their clients. If power goes out or if interior temperatures fluctuate, clients can lose millions. To prevent catastrophic loss, mission critical facilities must stay online running at optimum temperatures 24/7, 365 days a year.

Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TC3) Live Training
August 25, 2016

Virtual Heroes Brings Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TC3) to Squad Overmatch

Virtual Heroes is bringing Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TC3) to the Squad Overmatch study, named the Army Modeling and Simulation Office’s #1 Team Training program of 2014.

Serious Play Logo
August 10, 2016

ARA VP Randy Brown Interviewed at Serious Play Conference

Virtual Heroes’ Division Manager and ARA Vice President Randy Brown was interviewed at the 2016 Serious Play Conference. The Get Social Health podcast spoke with Randy and three other visionaries in the serious-game space.


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